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The evidence supporting the use of honey as a wound dressing

Some clinicians are under the impression that there is little or no evidence to support the use of honey as a wound dressing. This impression is reinforced by it being concluded in systematic reviews that the evidence is not of a high standard. But likewise the evidence for modern wound dressing products is of not of a high standard. For evidence-based medicine to be practised in wound care, when deciding which product to use to dress a wound it is necessary to compare the evidence that does exist, rather than be influenced by advertising and other forms of sales promotion. To allow sound decisions to be made, this review has covered the various reports that have been published on the clinical usage of honey. Positive findings on honey in wound care have been reported from 17 randomised controlled trials involving a total of 1965 participants, and 5 clinical trials of other forms involving 97 participants treated with honey. The effectiveness of honey in assisting wound healing has also been demonstrated in 16 trials on a total of 533 wounds on experimental animals. There is also a large amount of evidence in the form of case studies that have been reported. Ten publications have reported on multiple cases, totalling 276 cases. There are also 35 reports of single cases. These various reports provide a large body of evidence to support honey having the beneficial actions of clearing and preventing wound infection, rapidly debriding wounds, suppressing inflammation and thus decreasing oedema, wound exudate and hypertophic scarring, and stimulating the growth of granulation tissue and epithelialisation. It has been shown to give good results on a very wide range of types of wound. Clinicians should look for the clinical evidence that exists to support the use of other wound care products to compare with the evidence that exists for honey.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Molan, P.C. (2006). The evidence supporting the use of honey as a wound dressing. International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds 5(1), 40 54.
Sage Science Press
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, 5(1) 2006, (c) SAGE Publications, Inc. by SAGE Publications, Inc. at the Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds page: http://ijl.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/