Ask an Expert: The Medicinal Wonders of Honey | South Carolina Aquarium

Ask an Expert: The Medicinal Wonders of Honey

Mar 17

Ask an Expert: The Medicinal Wonders of Honey

Honey: Tasty, sweet… and an antibiotic?

It’s true! Honey is not only used as a sweetener in food or for a quick snack — it also has many medicinal properties that make it ideal for healing wounds on humans and sea turtles alike! From anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to fighting fungus and decreasing swelling, honey has become a popular wound treatment in our Sea Turtle Care Center™.

How It Works
Used in either a bandage or topical ointment form, our Care Center staff and vet team applies the honey to an array of wounds on our sea turtle patients. For deeper injuries, like from a boat strike or shark attack, honey-saturated gauze is packed into the wound and covered with a thin, clear bandage. The protective layer over the honey-soaked wound serves as a waterproof barrier, prolonging the wear of the treatment and increasing its overall effectiveness. For more surface-level injuries, the honey is applied directly to the wound.

No Harm, Just Sweet
Now, you may be wondering what happens if the bandages fall out or the sea turtle decides to eat some of the honey solution. Have no fear! Since the honey is medical-grade, it’s completely safe for our patients and poses no threat at all to their health or rehabilitation processes. In fact, the honey solution will actually dissolve in their systems and be nothing more than a sweet treat!

Bees in the Hive
So, who are some of our patients who experienced the medicinal benefits of honey? We used it on Bea, a loggerhead initially admitted with debilitated turtle syndrome, to treat her multiple skin lesions during her rehabilitation. We also used it on little Scorpio, a cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley, to treat their dermatitis on their neck. Lastly, we used it on Bloodstone, a loggerhead admitted with boat strike injuries, to treat their multiple injuries.

Bea looks through the glass out into Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery™.

A special thank you to our expert, Cait Crosby, sea turtle biologist, for her time and knowledge in creating this blog.


Published February 28, 2023

All sea turtle conservation work is authorized by the SC Department of Natural Resources Marine Turtle Permit No. 2023-0004.

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