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Ann Plast Surg. 2003 Feb;50(2):143-7; discussion 147-8.

Honey-medicated dressing: transformation of an ancient remedy into modern therapy.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, 1090 HM Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Honey has been applied for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Its antibacterial effects have been established during the past few decades. Still, modern medical practitioners hesitate to apply honey for local treatment of wounds. This may be explained by the expected messiness of such local application. Moreover, secondary infectious disease may be caused by contamination of honey with microorganisms. Hence, if honey is to be applied for medicinal purposes, it has to meet certain criteria. The authors evaluated the use and safety of a honey-medicated dressing that was developed to meet these criteria in a feasibility (phase II) study featuring 60 patients with chronic (n = 21), complicated surgical (n = 23), or acute traumatic (n = 16) wounds. In all but 1 patient, it was found easy to apply, helpful in cleaning the wounds, and without side effects. Based on these results, the authors advise to subject this dressing to a randomized, double blind, phase III study.

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