Raw honey is one of the best healers we have for convalescing birds. It is incredibly medicinal, and birds seem to like it. All the medicinal properties of honey are lost when the honey is heated, so it must clearly state that it is “raw” or “unheated” on the label in order to deliver its healing effects. Raw honey is probably the best wound healer I know of – many herbalists are using it topically for MRSA that has not responded to medication in hospitals. It can be used on any wound and seems to simply “know what to do”, although medical grade essential oils can be added to enhance its effects. On its own, raw honey is highly antimicrobial, containing actions against most pathogens. It also contains probiotic organisms!
I use raw honey as a medicinal liquid food source when birds won’t eat. I place it in herbal teas, or in plain water, or mix it with food to be administered in a syringe. Sometimes raw honey seems to be the only way to save a bird’s life. It contains a vast array of nutrients, and the sweetener of course provides energy. Most sweeteners will feed an infection, but since honey is so antimicrobial, it can be used for infectious disease without worry. It will even heal a tooth infection!
Raw honey can also be used to make herbal pills with decent-tasting herbs such as slippery elm or licorice. The honey draws out the herbal properties much like alcohol will, allowing the herbal properties to be readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Birds will often eat these pills when they are sick, which is a benefit when they have poor appetites. You can keep a bird alive with honey alone, at least for a couple of weeks – and sometimes this is necessary while medicinals take effect.
Raw manuka honey from New Zealand is probably the most medicinal of all raw honey, and I keep manuka honey in my pantry at all times. But regular raw honey from a health store also works. Just make sure the word “raw” appears on the label.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.