Article

Honey as a topical treatment for wounds

Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 02/2008; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005083.pub2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Honey is a viscous, supersaturated sugar solution derived from nectar gathered and modified by the honeybee, Apis mellifera. Honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy in wound care. Evidence from animal studies and some trials has suggested honey may accelerate wound healing.
The objective was to determine whether honey increases the rate of healing in acute wounds (burns, lacerations and other traumatic wounds) and chronic wounds (venous ulcers, arterial ulcers, diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infected surgical wounds).
We searched the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Register (May 2008), CENTRAL (May 2008) and several other electronic databases (May 2008). Bibliographies were searched and manufacturers of dressing products were contacted for unpublished trials.
Randomised and quasi randomised trials that evaluated honey as a treatment for any sort of acute or chronic wound were sought. There was no restriction in terms of source, date of publication or language. Wound healing was the primary endpoint.
Data from eligible trials were extracted and summarised using a data extraction sheet by one author and independently verified by a second author.
19 trials (n=2554) were identified that met the inclusion criteria. In acute wounds, three trials evaluated the effect of honey in acute lacerations, abrasions or minor surgical wounds and nine trials evaluated the effect the honey in burns. In chronic wounds two trials evaluated the effect of honey in venous leg ulcers and one trial in pressure ulcers, infected post-operative wounds, and Fournier's gangrene respectively. Two trials recruited people with mixed groups of chronic or acute wounds. The poor quality of most of the trial reports means the results should be interpreted with caution, except in venous leg ulcers. In acute wounds, honey may reduce time to healing compared with some conventional dressings in partial thickness burns (WMD -4.68 days, 95%CI -4.28 to -5.09 days). All the included burns trials have originated from a single centre, which may have impact on replicability. In chronic wounds, honey in addition to compression bandaging does not significantly increase healing in venous leg ulcers (RR 1.15, 95%CI 0.96 to 1.38). There is insufficient evidence to determine the effect of honey compared with other treatments for burns or in other acute or chronic wound types.
Honey may improve healing times in mild to moderate superficial and partial thickness burns compared with some conventional dressings. Honey dressings as an adjuvant to compression do not significantly increase leg ulcer healing at 12 weeks. There is insufficient evidence to guide clinical practice in other areas.

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    ABSTRACT: doi: 10.1089/wound.2013.0506
    01/2014; DOI:10.1089/wound.2013.0506
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    ABSTRACT: There is renewed interest in the therapeutic use of honey, including use in the treatment of infected wounds and burn patients. In this study, we have assessed the antibacterial activity of Libyan floral Hannon honey on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, both known to infect wounds. The effects of four concentrations (5%-30%) of honey were compared with that of four antibiotics (ampicillin, tetracycline, polymyxin, and ciprofloxacin) on the growth of these bacteria at early log, mid log, and late log phases. It has been shown that E. coli and S. aureus are to some degree susceptible during mid log phase compared with late log phase, demonstrated by their complete resistance to antibiotics. Chemostat culture was used to investigate the effect of honey on E. coli grown at a steady state with specific growth rates between 0.1 to 0.5 hour(-1). The rate of killing was distinctively clear during the two stages of growth monitored: there was a relatively moderate reduction at the slow growth phase (0.1 to 0.3 hour(-1)), while a dramatic reduction was obtained at the fast growth phase (0.3 to 0.5 hour(-1)), reaching a complete reduction at 0.5 hour(-1). These results complement data using the cup-cut technique. The antibacterial effect of honey was concentration and time dependent, the bactericidal effect was indeed observed at low concentrations, it demonstrates that the honey has more impact on slow growing bacteria than antibiotics have. We suggest that more reduction could be achieved at higher concentrations of honey. These results may have important clinical implications, such as for the management of wound and burn patients.
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    ABSTRACT: Honey is an intervention that both can accelerate the healing process while providing an antimicrobial action. With the incidence of unhealed wounds, chronic skin ulcers, and burns caused by pressure, venous stasis, or diabetes affecting more than 1.25 million people annually in the U.S., honey’s antimicrobial properties and its effects on wound health are of great value.

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