Studies have shown that medical-grade honey can aid in the healing of chronic and other stalling wounds by providing antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In turn, medical-grade honey dressings can be applied against the skin to deliver antibacterial action coupled with hydrogen peroxide, antioxidant and osmotic properties.
Using Medical-Grade Honey Dressings
For thousands of years, societies have used honey for medicinal purposes. In the present, medical-grade solutions help chronic and other delayed-healing wounds by providing antibacterial properties and balancing pH.
To achieve this:
- A pH between 3.2 and 4.5 — in the acidic range — causes the blood to release oxygen, which then facilitates the wound healing process and limits the presence of proteases.
- Natural sugar lessens excessive moisture through osmosis. Doing this limits potential maceration and swelling, reduces bacterial growth and encourages circulation. These aspects help control such bacteria as MRSA, VRE and more microorganisms.
- Honey creates a chemical reaction with wound exudate, generating hydrogen peroxide, known for its antiseptic and antibacterial effect.
Collectively, medical-grade honey dressings:
- Assist with autolytic debridement to remove necrotic tissue and help the wound heal.
- Lessen pain during dressing changes.
- Encourage the progress of chronic and non-healing wounds.
- Help reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.
- Create a moist healing environment that lessens potential scars.
Medical-grade honey dressings typically use manuka or Leptospermum honey, although Gelam or Tualang may be added.
How to Use Medical-Grade Honey Dressings
After cleansing the wound bed, apply the medical-grade honey dressing, or for deeper wounds, fill the cavity with the solution. After, apply a secondary dressing on top. Once the secondary dressing is saturated, remove it and any remaining honey to change the material.
These dressings can be used to help heal:
- First- and second-degree burns
- Venous, arterial, pressure and diabetic ulcers
- Chronic and non-healing wounds
- Pilonidal sinus
- Surgical wounds
- Traumatic wounds
- Donor sites
- Full- and partial-thickness wounds
Medical-grade honey should not be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers or by patients with an allergy to honey, pollen or bee venom.