Resin and honey

Dog days and summer flu! Traditional medicinals provide effective, tender care.

“Spruce resin salve is a safe, effective and inexpensive wound treatment,” says Arno Sipponen, who defended his dissertation, Coniferous resin salve, ancient and effective treatment for chronic wounds – laboratory and clinical studies, at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki in May. “Spruce resin salve contains antimicrobial resin acids. In addition, this traditional folk remedy promotes epithelialisation – that is, wound healing and skin renewal,” Sipponen explains.

Processes that promote wound healing still need to be studied further, but Sipponen has practical proof of the healing power of coniferous resin. When conducting patient studies at municipal health-centre wards, he discovered that wounds in patients treated with resin healed nearly completely, twice as often as in the control group.

Microbiological analyses carried out by Sipponen indicate that resin salve and purified resin acids have a broad antimicrobial property, meaning that they are effective against many pathogens, including nail fungus, yeast infection and even serious hospital-acquired infections. Many hospitals have already adopted resin salve as an inexpensive daily treatment.

Sweet and sour

According to food scientists at the University of Helsinki, honey is as praiseworthy a traditional medicinal as resin.

“Honey has been proven to act against at least sixty harmful bacteria in humans,” says Research Director, Adjunct Professor Carina Tikkanen-Kaukanen from the Ruralia Institute.

“Acidity, high sugar content and hydrogen peroxide have long been known to make honey antibacterial. Recently, new natural antibiotics have been discovered in honey, including the defensin-1 protein and methylglyoxal.”

Our study on the antimicrobial effects of Finnish honeys was published in December 2012. It is the first study to prove that honey acts against pneumococcal bacteria. In addition, Finnish buckwheat, willowherb and heather honeys are strongly effective against MRSA, among other bacteria,” Tikkanen-Kaukanen explains.

“We hope we will soon be able to begin clinical trials on the treatment of respiratory tract infections.”

Moreover, there are promising results relating to the wound-healing effects of honey.

Three spoonfuls a day

Honey is an easy home treatment. However, it must not be given to babies under 12 months of age, because it may contain bacteria spores that cause botulism.

“I take three tablespoonfuls of ordinary multifloral honey per day if I feel a flu coming on. I think honey has helped me avoid sinus infections and antibiotics,” says Tikkanen-Kaukanen.

She has Finnish forest berries to reinforce the healing effects of honey.

“Our earlier studies indicate that at least bilberry, cranberry and lingonberry potentially prevent pneumococcal infections.”