Surgeons are being urged to apply honey to the patient's wounds after surgery. A new study suggests that it is one of the most effective methods for fast wound-healing, and may be every bit as good as antibiotics.
Wounds that are treated with honey regularly - either hourly or daily, depending on the severity of the wound - usually become sterile within three to 10 days. It's especially effective for treating wounds that become infected or fail to close or heal. Researchers at the North West Wales NHS Trust in Bangor say it can also help heal wounds left by laparoscopic, or 'keyhole', surgery to remove cancers.
Honey came out top of a review of 18 studies that looked at different wound-healing therapies, including maggots. Some of the papers were prepared more than 60 years ago, around the time when research into honey stopped with the introduction of antibiotics.
Lead researcher Dr Fasal Rauf Khan commented: "It can be used to sterilise infected wounds, speed up healing and impede tumours, particularly in keyhole surgery."
(Source: International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2007; 61: 1705-7).