Saturday, May 23, 2009

Honey: A Topical Treatment for Wounds

The Day After (India), May 2009

In recent years, there has been a resurgent interest in the use of honey in wound care. Honey, a plant nectar that is modified by the honey bee Apis mellifera, has been used as a treatment for wounds since antiquity, with records of its use dating back to the early Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans.

There are several mechanisms through which honey is thought to act on and heal wounds.

· When it is applied directly on a wound surface or via a dressing, it can act as a sealant, keeping the wound moist and free from contamination.

· In addition, honey is comprised of glucose (35%), fructose (40%), sucrose (5%), and water (20%). This high sugar content plus vitamins, minerals, and amino acids) provides topical nutrition that is thought to promote healing and tissue growth.

· Honey is also a hyperosmotic agent that draws fluid from the wound bed and underlying circulation, which kills bacteria that cannot thrive in such an environment.

· It is bactericidal in other ways as well. During the process of honey production, worker bees add the enzyme glucose oxidase to the nectar. When honey is applied to the wound, this enzyme comes into contact with oxygen in the air, which leads to the production of the bactericide hydrogen peroxide.

· Macroscopically, honey has also shown debriding action…

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