"Honey: Nutritional and Medicinal Value", Khan et al. IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice. 61.10, pp 1705-1707
According to research published in the October 2007 International Journal of Clinical Practice, surgeons should consider honey as an effective treatment for wound healing.
"Honey is one of the oldest foods in existence and was an ancient remedy for wound healing," explains lead author Dr Fasal Rauf Khan from North West Wales NHS Trust in Bangor. Researchers started to document the wound healing properties of honey in the early 20th century, but the introduction of antibiotics in 1940 temporarily halted its use. Ongoing concerns about antibiotic resistance are a strong factor in looking at the antimicrobial and wound healing properties of honey.
"Honey has a number of properties that make it effective against bacterial growth, including its high sugar content, low moisture content, gluconic acid -- which creates an acidic environment -- and hydrogen peroxide. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling."
Researchers have also reported that applying honey can be used to reduce amputation rates among diabetes patients. Dr Khan adds that studies have found that honey offers a number of benefits. "It can be used to sterilize infected wounds, speed up healing and impede tumors..." Studies have suggested that honey should be applied at regular intervals, from hourly to twice daily and that wounds can become sterile in three to 10 days.
"The research suggests that honey seems to be especially indicated when wounds become infected or fail to close or heal," says Dr Khan. "It is probably even more useful for healing the wounds left by laparoscopic surgery to remove cancers." 18 studies covering more than 60 years were included in this review.
"Our research suggests that surgeons should seriously consider using honey for post-operative wounds and offer this to patients" concludes Dr Khan. "We would also encourage patients to ask about honey as an option, but stress that they should always follow their surgeon's advice and not try any home remedies."
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