How Raw Honey Helped Save My Diabetic Dad’s Foot

How raw honey helped save my dad's diabetic foot

I generally try to avoid sensationalist posts with the words “amazing!” and “miracle treatment!” in them; however, this post is going to talk about a (for real) amazing miracle treatment that helped save my diabetic dad’s foot!

I’m excited to share it with you today, in the hopes that perhaps it will reach others out there in need of the information.

My dad has been a diabetic since he was 15 years old. At the time of his diagnosis, he knew exactly two people alive with diabetes. One had no legs and one was blind. Back then, in the 1950’s, one in five people died within 25 years of the diagnosis, one in four developed kidney failure, and about 90% suffered from diabetic retinopathy. (NIH source.)

It was a grave thing for a kid to face, but my dad is tough. He kept going, taught himself several skills, including custom cabinet making from a set of books, and has lived a long and active life.

Several years ago, he developed a sore on his foot that wouldn’t heal. In spite of heavy antibiotics and various medical treatments, it grew progressively worse until he ended up having two toes amputated. After the surgery, he had a team of excellent wound care doctors and was eventually able to resume his normal high energy activities.

Last year, he developed a sore on the same foot, just like the one that caused him to lose those two toes. For eight months, the standard medical treatments and antibiotics failed to help and it looked like he would need to be referred to a surgeon again.

One day, someone told him about their experience with treating a bad wound with raw honey. At that point, he was willing to try most anything. Being the go-to health nut with a ready stash of raw honey in the family, I was asked about it.

I did some research and turned up this fascinating case study, found HERE.

(Note: The “before treatment” photos might not be for those with squeamish stomachs.)

I printed it off and brought the papers over to his house along with a jar of raw honey from my father-in-law’s beehives. My dad took off his medicated bandage and started the honey treatment that very visit.

This is a photo of his sore, right before his first treatment of honey. Remember that it had looked like this for eight MONTHS, with no improvement:

foot at start of honey treatment

Now, this is a photo of his sore, eight WEEKS after applying honey:

diabetic sore after 8 weeks of honey treatment

(The black part is where the doctor drew a circle around the sore each visit, to track its changes in growth.)

Just a few weeks after I took the second photo, his doctor declared that his foot was healed.

I wish that the story had a happy ending here, but I have to add that not long after this visit, my dad spent an entire day on his tractor bush-hogging fields and created a new sore. Another specialist determined that he had a bone in his foot that would keep creating a sore in the same place when a lot of pressure was placed on it, unless he got it operated on. (He declined that option for now.)

He tried some expensive manuka honey on the new sore, but it actually made it worse. (That can happen, but not always. THIS STUDY hints to a possible reason as to why.) He decided to try medical treatments again (that didn’t work, again) then circled back to local raw honey. Then, he fell and broke his hip opening up a new set of problems!

The good news is that today, his foot is completely healed again and his hip is so much better, that getting him to sit down long enough to take off his shoe so I could get a final photo of his healed foot has yet to happen. (But, I’ll update this post when I get one.)

 

Before I give the exact regimen he followed, it’s important to know that he did all of this with the approval of his doctors. Surprisingly, every single one he talked to had heard of using honey on diabetic sores, yet not a single one had felt the need to suggest it to him. (!!!)

So, what I’m saying is, if you have a diabetic ulcer/sore you should absolutely be under the care of a medical professional. This is just a retelling of a home remedy that helped my dad and should not be construed as medical advice for your particular situation.

 

My Dad’s Honey Treatment for Diabetic Sores (and other wounds that won’t heal)

Twice a day (around 10 a.m. & again, around 8 p.m.):

  • rub area with a disposable alcohol wipe
  • using individual cotton swabs, gently rub a thin layer of honey over the sore
  • cotton swabs should only be used once then discarded, no double dipping
  • wrap gauze around the foot, covering the sore
  • use first aid tape over the gauze to hold it in place (Direct contact with the tape causes a skin reaction on my dad.)
  • keep everything clean, clean, clean! (my mom’s exact words) :)
  • after taking off an old bandage, let the foot air out for about an hour before putting on a new one

He has a custom shoe that keeps pressure off of his foot, even when he’s walking. For best results though, keep your foot propped up as often as possible. (This part was particularly hard for my dad, since he hates to just sit around.)

Since it’s so very important, I want to reiterate it once more: If you have a diabetic sore or ulcer, get your doctor’s blessing before attempting ANY home remedy.

Also, don’t discount this as only being a treatment for diabetics. Raw honey excels at healing many types of slow-to-heal wounds, such as bed sores.

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Spring Tonic Honey | Easy Ginger Honey Syrup | Rose Petal Remedy

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40 Responses to How Raw Honey Helped Save My Diabetic Dad’s Foot

  1. Steff says:

    This is so great! I’m a nursing student and have seen many sores like this, and I wonder if I’d ever be able to incorporate this into discussions with my patients. I’m not sure if it’s my place to do it, legally, but I feel like if I tell them to ask their doctor about it, it should be fine! It’s so heartbreaking to see so many people lose body parts to diabetes, or have terrible bed sores that never heal.

  2. Lori says:

    I’m glad you brought up the topic of using g local raw honey for healing. My mother in law had a very bad spider bite, and the poison ate away tissue (the size of a quarter), it looked bad . She hates doctors but finally went. They put her on antibiotics for weeks, which did nothing more than cause major problems with her stomach because it killed her good flora. But after many frustrating weeks she turned to a herbal doctor that prescribed local raw honey. After only a week she saw remarkable healing. Although she did mention when she first added it to the wound it wasn’t a comfortable feeling. I’ve used it for years on small scratches and it always helped.

    • Jan says:

      I’m so happy that the raw honey helped her spider bite! My dad found that taking a spoonful a day helped his stomach feel better, in general. Honey is a wonderful substance!

  3. Erin says:

    It’s interesting that you posted about this. There are a group of doctors/beekeepers in my town who are actually running a medical study on the effectiveness of treating MRSA wounds with local, raw honey that they collect from their hives. I work in the local hospital laboratory and they come in every so often to do culture plates and whatnot for testing purposes. The whole thing is quite interesting and I think they are having some amazing results so far. :-)

  4. Ana says:

    Thank you for this information. I am not a diabetic but I have been in the same position since August (it is 6/26). So far, even though I go to a specialist, nothing has worked. I will get their permission next week. I have had horrible side effects from the antibiotics. My dad was diagnosed as a diabetic in the 1950’s as well. He had a foot sore for over a year. I wish we had known about this.

  5. I am thrilled to see this information on your blog! I am a diabetic, as well as having had MRSA, and having super-sensitive skin in general. It’s was a huge pain (literally) to deal with until I started using a skinwash I make which also incorporates raw, local, organic honey.
    Honey is a wonderful healer and slowly breaks down into a form of hydrogen peroxide on the skin, which is part of what helps with healing.
    I’d be more than happy to share the recipe with you if you would like to try it…and, no, I’m not trying to sell or peddle anything; I often make it for others who want to try it and give them the recipe as well.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jacqueline, Your honey skin wash sounds great – I’d love to hear more about the recipe. Thanks!

    • Karen Long says:

      Jacqueline, I am interested in your homeopathic skin wash. I am a diabetic and my husband, also. If you are willing to share it, I will be appreciative.

    • Gwen Paulsen says:

      Jacqueline,
      My 25 yr old daughter is diabetic and is very careful with what she uses but I know she’d be thrilled to hear more about your body wash. Thanks, Gwen

  6. Leslie says:

    Thank you for sharing. My aunt is diabetic so this is handy info JUST IN CASE

    • Jan says:

      Hi Leslie! I hope your aunt never has trouble with sores, but I’m glad you have the information to share with her if needed!

  7. Hi Jan! It’s really a very simple recipe, that requires a few ingredients and a bottle which can be tightly lidded. Mix 1/2 c. Each of grated, organic soap for sensitive skin, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil, and local organic honey with 10 drops of tea tree oil and fill the bottle to within one inch of the top with warm water. Shake well until ingredients are well incorporated, and shake lightly before each use. It’s the only ‘soap’ I use; if a problem seems to be arising I’ll wash the area twice daily and it nips it in the bud!

    • Jan says:

      Thank you for sharing the recipe with us Jacqueline! I’m sure it will help many people that read through the comments! :)

    • Karen Long says:

      I found your recipe Jacqueline but I don’t see what size bottle am I to use? Since you say I am to fill the bottle the rest of the way with water.

  8. Ohhhdear says:

    My dad had diabetic sores just like those, and my patient mom treated them exactly as you did, twice a day. Except no raw honey…she used a sulphur-based powder and tribiotic ointment. They never would have considered a holistic medicine as valid, sad to say. My dad had those sores over and over the last 10 years of his life. During his final hospitalization, the doctors were amazed he’d never had an amputation. His feet actually were healed at that time!
    Raw honey probably does naturally what my mom duplicated.
    I would be a bit cautious in how thick the honey is spread, as honey does not support the growth of aerobic (oxygen-requiring) bacteria. Honey can seal in any anaerobic bacteria already present in the wound and provide a fertile growing atmosphere for a truly nasty infection. My dad spent 3 months in hospital with an anaerobic bacterial infection in his thigh. A thin coating of honey, as you mention, is very important.
    Keeping the wound and cleaning supplies as clean as possible is crucial!

    • Jan says:

      That’s great that your dad had your mom to do that for him! I think my dad has done so well because of my mom too – she takes wonderful care of him. :)

  9. Karen lee says:

    Great post!

  10. Lynn Wilson says:

    I have a friend who was doing missionary work in Africa. She got a 3rd degree sunburn with blisters the size of small saucers. The local villagers began slathering her with honey and told her not to stop doing it till all blisters were gone. She is home now and it worked well. Little scarring and never any infection.

    • Jan says:

      That’s wonderful that honey helps severe sunburn too. Thanks for sharing that great story; I’m glad your friend is doing better!

  11. Denise says:

    What is raw honey??? I didnnt know anu honey was cooked or processed. How is RAW honey different from other honey.

  12. Stacy says:

    I work with a wound care doctor who often prescribes a product called Medi honey to apply to wounds, its made from honey and is showing good results

  13. Michelle Drebenstedt says:

    I also am a diabetic. Eight years ago, my son kicked me in karate class. I had a large bruise on my leg for two months that would not heel and started to ulcerate. I began to search and also found the honey study and history of honey used on battlefields in Civil War and WWI. I tried it using same instructions. It not only healed the sore, but it also reduced the bruise swelling. Today I only have discoloration left from the intense heat and redness from the infection. I tell people to do the research themselves and look for different websites that to this subject and not just take my word for it.

  14. Denise says:

    Thank u for response. This has come at a complete surprise to me. I am learning. I think many people are also unaware that “honey aint honey”…for those old enough who remember the ad “oils aint oils Sol

  15. Mari Chapa says:

    Who do I contact to find local honey? I bought honey at the farmer’s market, bit don’t know if it’s raw.

    • Jan says:

      The farmer’s market is the best place to buy raw honey, so I suspect it is! You can double check with them next time you go to be sure though.

  16. Janie Coakley says:

    So happy to find this post. I watched my Dad struggle with sores on his feet that would not heal due to diabetes and would loved to have known this at that time. I discovered the healing properties of honey recently when I burned the inside of my wrist, rather badly, with steam from a teapot. Because I didn’t have any kind of burn cream, I quickly did a web search and found a tip to mix AC vinegar and honey and coat the burn with it. I did that and wrapped it in gauze and I awoke the next morning with no trace of a burn. I’m a true believer in using honey for wound treatment!!

    • Jan says:

      I’m sorry about your dad going through that – I know it’s tough to watch a loved one suffer. I am most definitely trying honey on the next burn I get. We use a woodstove in the winter to heat our house and I’m always getting burns. My mom taught me to put an egg white on them (trick she read in Prevention magazine forty years ago) – it works great to take the sting right out, but still leaves a red mark. Not looking forward to winter OR more burns, but looking forward to seeing how honey works in that capacity!

      • Anonymous says:

        Good to know about the egg white. The vinegar mixed with honey also helped provide a cooling effect but I will give the egg white a try next time, too!

  17. Jane says:

    Honey also works on animals! We had a horse who badly ripped his leg on barbed wire. Honey cured his fist-sized wound after other treatments failed.

  18. Rita says:

    I have been using honey as long as I can remember. My dad used to put it and butterfly stitches on deeper cuts and just honey on smaller cuts. We also used it on farm animals because it kept the flies out of wounds and aided healing with minimal scarring.
    My husband used to make fun of me until it started getting more popular and he started seeing it on news reports. A few years back my daughter even did a research paper on it and found many studies on honey and MRSA and burn treatment. I even use it to bake with instead of sugar (not when you have toddlers though) a lot of the time. :) I love your website!!!

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