Typical leg ulcer pre and post honey dressings
This 86 year old lady presented with a smelly ulcerated wound after falling up an escalator . Profuse discharge grew pseudomonas- a typical bacterial pathogen in chronic wounds. The picture left is on day one of presentation.
Dressings were done daily initially after showering off the previous dressing and patting dry. Two weeks later (middle photograph).
Three months later. Active honeys will produce this type of result, and have been used in vetinary practice for many years as well as in humans prior to the introduction of antibiotics.
See research on this website for how honey can get rid of MRSA and VRSA and how it stops wounds smelling, making patients socially acceptable again.
Modern Scientific Evidence Supports Honey Use
Method of Action
- Honey contains enzymes called peroxidases which slowly release oxygen via hydrogen peroxide in contact with wounds. This helps to separate the dead tissue .
- Honey contains unique antibacterial factors from plant nectars. Manuka is the plant leptospermum scoparia and is well know in New Zealand. Leptospermum is also a common plant along Australia’s east coast so Australian honeys have leptospermum too, known as Tea Tree in Australia.
- Bacteria and fungi find it very hard to grow in matured honey as it is very dehydrating to them .
- This high osmolality also has an advantage of being able to draw serum through from under the wound, bringing through fresh antibodies .
- Honey applied to wounds gets metabolized by the microorganisms in that wound to release carbon dioxide. This doesn’t smell. Whereas the smell from ulcerating wounds including invasive necrotic skin cancers and bedsores comes from the bacteria metabolizing tissue with protein and this releases nitrogenous gases which smell bad.
It is important to wash off dressings in the shower or bedbath with water or saline, pat dry. Please take care to soften and very gently remove the old dressing in the shower so as not to rip off the new skin which grows in at 1 mm a day from the edges. Apply honey,then a non stick dressing. Paraffin gauze works very well here but other non stick dressings will do. An absorbent dressing is applied over this and in the case of legs , supporting compression bandages. Initial daily dressings can often be reduced to twice weekly after 2 weeks saving costs. Honey can crystallize below 25’C. Warming gently between the palms will not affect the biological activity of the honey. Beehive temperature is usually around 34′, almost the temperature of the human body so these enzymes function.