Honey May Help Heal Wounds

Researchers Say Traditional Healing Method May Have Some Benefits for Cuts and Burns

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 07, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 3, 2008 -- Wouldn't it be sweet if honey could help heal cuts and burns? Researchers who analyzed existing studies on whether honey can help heal wounds are cautiously optimistic that this ancient treatment may help in some cases.

The study, published in The Cochrane Library, reviewed 19 trials on 2,554 people. The authors were not able to collectively analyze the data of the different trials, but summarized some of the major findings.

The researchers conclude that honey may improve healing times in mild to moderate superficial and partial thickness burns compared with some conventional dressings. Honey does not seem to help with chronic leg ulcer treatments. But the researchers warn that the potential for bias in some of the trials was moderate to high and the results should be read with caution.

Separate studies on animals have shown honey to be helpful in healing wounds. Honey may also be a potent antibiotic.

There are several reasons honey could help with the healing process, according to the report. Honey appears to draw fluid from the underlying circulation, providing both a moist environment and topical nutrition that enhances tissue growth. Honey also may spur debridement -- the removal of dead tissue around a wound to make way for healthy tissue.

Researchers call for more scientific trials to measure the effectiveness of honey in treating wounds.

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Jull, A.B. The Cochrane Library, 2008, Issue 4.

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