The main role of honey in wound dressings for wound healing management

Maliheh Yaghoobi,1,*

1. University of Zanjan



Honey is a viscous, supersaturated sugar solution derived from nectar gathered and modified by the honeybee. honey has been used since ancient times as a remedy in wound care. honey dressings are widely available and promoted as effective wound treatments, but only in more recent times has a scientific explanation become available for its effectiveness. many studies and some trials has suggested that honey may accelerate wound healing. honey has many other properties that make it an ideal wound dressing. it appears to draw fluid from the underlying circulation, providing both a moist environment and topical nutrition that may enhance tissue growth. histologically, honey appears to stimulate tissue growth in animal and human controlled trials, fewer inflammatory changes, and improved epithelialization. the aim of this review was to assess the effects of honey compared with alternative wound dressings and topical treatments on the of healing of acute (e.g. burns, lacerations) and/or chronic (e.g. venous ulcers) wounds.


In this study, after describing about the characteristics of acute and chronic wounds, we will try to describe characteristics of ideal wound dressings for these wounds. followed by a brief explanation the production process of different wound dressings from traditional to modern, we present the most widely used biomaterials and bioactive molecules that involved in the structure of some wound dressings. the methods of usage the honey and its dosage in the composition of dressings are studied.


It has been reported from various clinical studies on the usage of honey as a dressing for infected wounds that the wounds become sterile in 3-10 days. others have reported that honey is effective in cleaning up infected wounds. it has also been reported that honey dressings stop advancing necrosis. honey has also been found to act as a barrier preventing wounds from becoming infected, preventing cross-infection, and allowing burn wound tissue to heal rapidly uninhibited by secondary infection. it has been observed that under honey dressings sloughs, necrotic and gangrenous tissue separated so that they could be lifted off painlessly, and others have noted quick and easy separation of sloughs and removal of crust from a wound. rapid cleansing and chemical or enzymatic debridement resulting from the application of honey to wounds have also been reported, with no eschar forming on burns. several other authors have noted the cleansing effect of honey on wounds. it has also been noted that dirt is removed with the bandage when honey is used as a dressing, leaving a clean wound. honey has also been reported to give deodorization of offensively smelling wounds.


Honey is an ideal first-aid dressing material, especially for patients in remote locations when there could be time for infection to have set in before medical treatment is obtained: it is readily available and simple to use. it would be particularly suitable for first-aid treatment for burns, where emergency dousing or cooling frequently involves the use of contaminated water which then leads to heavy infection of the traumatised tissue. as well as providing an immediate anti-inflammatory treatment the honey would provide an antibacterial action and a barrier to further infection of the wound. the available studies suggest that honey dressings promote better wound healing than other antibiotics (silver sulfadiazine) agents for burns.


Honey, antimicrobial properties, wound dressing, acute wound, chronic wound, wound healing