Honey, known for centuries as a topical treatment for a wide range of wounds, has recently known a revival in modern wound care. The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the available evidence and the role of honey in contemporary wound care.
The search strategy was developed in the databases PubMed and ISI Web of Science. Fifty-five studies of any design, evaluating the use of honey in human burns, ulcers and other wounds, written in English, French, German or Dutch were eligible for inclusion.
In all three wound categories honey seems to be a dressing with wound healing stimulating properties. In burns there is also evidence for its antibacterial capacity. In general, honey is also been mentioned to have deodorizing, debridement, anti-inflammatory and wound pain reducing properties, although the evidence for these properties is rather limited. Many of the included studies have methodological problems, and the quality of certain studies is low, making it difficult to formulate conclusive guidelines.
This review reveals several gaps in the research of honey in modern wound care, and recommendations are suggested for future research.