The contents of your first aid kit: Band-Aids, rolled gauze, triple antibiotic, hydrogen peroxide, medical tape, alcohol wipes, honey . . . wait, honey? Yes, honey. Especially if you’re a sea turtle. Wait, a sea turtle?
Every year numerous sea turtles are injured by boat propellers and honey is part of the first aid kit at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center that helps them on the road to recovery. This substance has some pretty unique properties:
- It is moderately acidic (think oranges), which inhibits bacterial and fungal growth
- Its high glucose content helps pull debris and exudate out of wounds
- Enzymes from the bees convert some of the glucose to hydrogen peroxide, giving it antiseptic qualities
The Center receives donations from honey sales at the Savannah Bee Company where $3 of every $15 jar of honey goes toward “Bee Buddies Honey” to benefit sea turtle rehabilitation. The Center also gets regular donations of honey and honey comb from local bee keepers. Sounds like a pretty sweet way to help sea turtles.
While doctors don’t advocate smearing honey over your kitchen burns or your child’s cuts and scrapes as a first line of defense, scientists are investigating its use in human healing also.
Of course, it’s also just plain delicious. But probably not if you’re a sea turtle.
You can check out photographs of recovering sea turtles at http://news.discovery.com/animals/honey-may-heal-wounded-sea-turtles.htm.