Evidence supporting use of honey as a wound dressing

Substantial evidence demonstrates that honey, one of the oldest healing remedies known to medicine, produces effective results when used as a wound dressing.

A review article in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds summarizes the data.

Scientists performed 22 trials involving 2,062 patients treated with honey, as well as an additional 16 trials that were performed on experimental animals. Honey was found to be beneficial as a wound dressing in the following ways:

  • Honey's antibacterial quality not only rapidly clears existing infection, it protects wounds from additional infection
  • Honey debrides wounds and removes malodor
  • Honey's anti-inflammatory activity reduces edema and minimizes scarring
  • Honey stimulates growth of granulation and epithelial tissues to speed healing

The review article was written by Dr. P.C. Molan of New Zealand's University Waikato. He noted that, although the many randomized controlled clinical trials strongly support the use the honey in wound care; the trials may not have been double-blind. Of course, double blind testing would be difficult to achieve because honey is a very recognizable substance.

Molan concludes, "the barrier to using honey that has existed for many clinicians who have been constrained to using only licensed products has been removed now that honey is available in the form of various sterile products licensed for use in wound care. Clinicians should check the evidence that exists to support the use of honey."

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