Q: After suffering a fairly badly ripped leg, my vet advised me to use Manuka honey on the wound dressings. I nearly died at the price! Is it worth it?

A: Honey has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions but it is only fairly recently that Manuka honey, made exclusively in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the indigenous Manuka bush, has hit the headlines. It is claimed to have an antibacterial effect, courtesy of unusually high concentrations of Methylglyoxal, a compound which is present in most types of honey in smaller quantities. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties. (Similar claims are now being made for Scottish honey!)

It is vital to realise that medical use depends on properly sterilised impregnated dressings and not just sticking a big dirty spoon in a jar and slapping edible honey on a wound! My own view is that most wounds, if kept clean and moist, will eventually heal given time. Great claims are made for many different products but none can compare with Mother Nature.