The food benefits of honey have been known to many for centuries but most people are unaware of the wound healing capabilities of honey. Honey possesses antimicrobial properties that makes it possible for its healing capabilities. The honey to use should be sterilized and laboratory tested for medicinal purpose especially for infected wounds.
High Osmolality: Honey contains supersaturated solutions of sugars which reacts with water molecules. This results in lack of ‘free’ water which therefore inhibits growth of microorganisms.
Hydrogen Peroxide: When honey is applied to wounds, it is diluted by the wound exudates. Hydrogen peroxide is produced through glucose oxidase enzyme reaction. This is slowly released to provide antibacterial activity but does not damage the cells.
Antibacterial phytochemicals: Apart from producing hydrogen peroxide, some honeys have high levels of antibacterial phytochemicals which prevent the growth of bacteria.
Honey is also able to stimulate lymphocytic and phagocytic activity (key body immune responses) which fight against infections.
Honey is mostly used as topical application to treat wide range of wound types including: Diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, infected wound resulting from injury or surgery and burns. In most situations, honey is used when conventional antibiotics and antiseptics fail. Various researches have also shown that difficult-to-heal wounds responds well to honey dressing.
APPLYING THE HONEY ON WOUNDS
The quantity of honey to use depends on the amount of wound exudate. More exudate requires substantial amount of honey to be applied.
For maximum effect, it is necessary to spread the honey on the dressing and apply to the wound than to directly apply the honey to the wound.
The frequency of dressing changes also depends on how the honey is being diluted by the exudate. Therefore, changing dressing should become less frequent when wound healing starts to take place.
When dealing with deep wounds or abscesses, it is necessary to use more honey in order to penetrate deep into the wound tissues.
- Honey as a topical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds. Molan PC. World Wide Wounds, 2001.
- Honey as an Antimicrobial Agent, Waikato Honey Research Unit