Honey – Natural Treatment for Wounds and Burns

 From: Jacqueline Paltis [jacpal@earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:54 AM
To: Khelly Webb
Subject: Sugar/Honey Wound Dressings
Here are two articles In found on the web relating to sugar/honey wound dressings.  The first is about honey, which would probably be easier to do at home.
Honey – Natural Treatment for Wounds and Burns
By Junji Takano

Honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution produced by honeybees. It is commonly used as substitute for sugar or a flavor enhancer. But other than that, honey is also effective in treating burns and wounds and it has been used for this purpose for many centuries.

Now it is known that the secret of honey lies on its antibacterial activity.

How Can Honey Stop Infection? We know that bacteria love sugar, but why most bacteria and other microorganisms cannot grow or reproduce in honey?

Here are the reasons:

1. Acidity – Honey is acidic, and acids prevent the growth of bacteria.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide – When honey is applied as a wound dressing, it is diluted with fluids from the damaged tissue and combines with an enzyme added by the bee to form hydrogen peroxide, the same antiseptic found in drugstores. Diluted honey can serve as an excellent antiseptic because the naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide won’t harm the tissues and no scarring will occur.

Applying Honey as a Wound Dressing

1. Usually, 20 ml of honey (25 – 30 g, 1 ounce) is enough on a 10 cm X 10 cm (4 inch X 4 inch) dressing. The honey dressings should be cut to a size that extends beyond the edges of the wound.

2. To prevent honey oozing out from the wound dressing, waterproof dressings are needed. Absorbent dressings are not recommended as they soak the honey making it less effective. Adhesive tape or bandages can be used to hold the dressings in place.

3. It is better to spread the honey on the dressing first before applying it on the wound area.

4. If there are abscesses in the wound area, fill it with honey before applying the dressing pad, so that there is honey in contact with the wound.

5. The amount of honey required on the wound depends on the amount of fluid it exudes. Honey will be useless if it is diluted by large amounts of fluid. Also the frequency of dressing changes depends on how fast the honey is being diluted by fluid.

6. On deeper infections, more honey is required to get an effective antibacterial activity.

7. Daily dressing changes up to three times daily may be needed.

8. Exudation of fluid should be reduced after few days use of honey dressing. During this time, less dressing changes will be needed.

Honey Used as Medicine: Below are some common problems which can easily be prevented from the use of honey:

1. Allergies – Raw honey is an excellent treatment for 90% of allergies.

2. Anemia – Honey is a great blood enricher. The darker the honey the better. Take 1 ripe banana with 1 tablespoon of honey, 1-2 times a day.

3. Appetite – Honey improves appetite in children suffering from appetite loss.

4. Conjunctivitis – Dissolve honey in equal amount of warm water. When cooled, apply as lotion or eye bath.

5. Fatigue and exhaustion – Honey is the best ingredient to remove tiredness and fatigue almost instantly because it is easily absorbed in the blood. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of honey in warm water or quarter honey balance of water in a jug and keep in the fridge.

6. Headaches and Migraine – Take 2 teaspoons at meals to prevent headache. For migraines, take 1 dessertspoon of honey dissolved in a half glass of warm water. Repeat in 20 minutes if migraine persists.

7. Heart Diseases – Honey can fight against cholesterol. Pure honey taken with foods daily instead of sugar relieves complains of cholesterol. This is helpful for old people, especially sufferers of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and others.

8. High Blood Pressure – Take mixed 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and 1 teaspoon of cumin powder 2 times a day.

9. Insomnia (Sleeplessness) – Take 1 teaspoon of honey mixed in lukewarm water or milk and drink before going to bed.

10. Poor Digestion – Mix 1:1 honey with cider vinegar and dilute with water.

11. Skin – Honey is a good moisturizer. It also helps in reducing skin problems like pimples.

12. Sore Throat – Let 1 teaspoon of honey melt in the back of the mouth and trickle down the throat.

13. Stomachache – Take 1 teaspoon of honey, juice of a 1Ž2 lemon with a hot glass of water first thing in the morning.

14. Teeth – Although honey is sweet, it helps to maintain and protect teeth. Important: Honey contains a certain bacterium that might be harmful in infants; it should never be fed to children younger than one year old. Otherwise it could lead to food poisoning.

Now you know that when honey is applied properly to a wound, it can promote healing just as good as or often better than, over-the-counter ointments and dressings. It is also a great preventive medicine on common ailments.

About The Author: Junji Takano is a Japanese health researcher and has been studying the causes of viruses since 1960s. In 1968, he invented Pyro-Energen, the first electrotherapy device that eradicates viral diseases in a non-narcotic way.

Visit him at: http://www.pyroenergen.com Free newsletter: http://www.pyroenergen.com/newsletter.htm

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


Welcome  to  the  eighth edition  of the Dressings Times in which Dr Keith Middleton of the Pharmacy Department,  Northwick  Park  Hospital  provides an interesting account of the use of sugar paste in wound management.  

Sugar Pastes in Wound Management

In 1976, Herszage and Montenegro of Argentina used  ordinary sugar to treat the wounds of two patients with post-surgical necrotic cellulitis. Further successes followed and in 1980 they  reported  on  the  use  of sugar paste in 120 infected wounds and recorded a cure rate of 99.2%.[1] The time  taken for  the  wounds to heal varied between 9 days and 17 weeks, but it was observed that odour and secretion began to diminish  within  24 hours and disappeared totally after 72 to 96 hours of treatment. In 1985, Trouillet et al[2]  described
the  use of sugar in the treatment of 19 patients with acute mediastinitis following cardiac surgery. Wounds were  packed every  3  to  4  hours  with ordinary commercially available granular sugar (sucrose). The authors noted  near  complete debridement followed  by the rapid formation of granulation tissue and eradication of bacterial infection after an average of 7.6 days of treatment.

Sugar  was first used as a dressing in Northwick Park Hospi-

tal in 1982 when it was placed into infected radical vulvec-

tomy  wounds  that  had  not  responded to more conventional

therapies. However, due to the nature of such wounds,  pack-

ing  with  granular  sugar  was  found  to be impossible and

therefore a thick paste was developed. Other early  patients

to  be  treated  with sugar at Northwick Park were two hypo-

gammaglobulinaemic individuals who had  developed extensive

tracking sinuses.  For  these,  a thin paste was formulated

that could be injected into the narrow wounds.

Thick sugar paste has a consistency similar to that of  mod-

elling clay and can be moulded in the gloved hand immediate-

ly prior to packing into cavities with large  openings  such

as pressure sores. Thin sugar paste resembles thin honey; it

is suitable for instillation into cavities with small  open-

ings with a syringe and fine plastic tube or catheter.

Formulae for sugar pastes

                                    Thin      Thick

    Caster sugar                   1200g     1200g

    (fine granular sucrose)

    Icing sugar – additive free     1800g      1800g

    (powdered sucrose)

    Polyethylene glycol 400         1416ml     686ml

    Hydrogen Peroxide 30%          23.1ml     19ml

(Final concentration of hydrogen peroxide is 0.15% v/w.)

The  pastes are prepared in the hospital pharmacy by combin-

ing the H2O2 with the PEG 400 and  then incorporating  this

solution into the sugars with the aid of a mechanical mixer.

When homogenous the paste is packed into screw capped  plas-

tic  containers  and stored at 4C. The pastes are chemically

stable for at least 6 months from preparation.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG) 400 was chosen  as  the  lubricant

because  it  does  not interact with other components of the

paste and is used in a variety  of pharmaceutical  prepara-

tions.  It  is  a synthetic polymer that is also used in the

cosmetic industry and has significant anti-bacterial proper-

ties.  [3][4]  Polyethylene  glycol 400 can be absorbed from

mucous  membranes   and   high   blood  levels   may    be

nephrotoxic.[5] Although no toxic effects have been noted in

our patients, many of whom are  elderly  and  frail,  sugar

paste should be used with care in patients with impaired re-

nal function as any absorbed polyethylene glycol is excreted


Sugar  paste  has  been  used on most wound types but it has

been found to be particularly effective for treating infect-

ed  and  malodorous wounds.  Twice daily application are ad-

vised to provide the optimum antibacterial effect. This  has

been demonstrated  both  in patients with malodorous wounds

(when the smell of infected necrotic tissue is removed after

2-3 days), and in patients with infected abscesses.  Irriga-

tion with thin sugar paste has achieved  successful results

in  patients with chronic discharging sinuses who had previ-

ously failed to respond to other therapies. Repeated  appli-

cation  over  3 to  6  weeks is generally required to bring

about complete healing. Sugar paste lowers the pH of  wounds

to  approximately 5 which may be important in infected wound

although the paste does not stimulate or retard  granulation

tissue formation in clean wounds in the pig model.[6]

Sugar paste (thick and thin) is rapidly bactericidal against

all organisms so far tested when challenged according  to  a

modified  British  Pharmacopoeia antimicrobial preservatives

effectiveness test. When samples of the paste were  inocu-

lated  with  Staphylococcus  aureus, Streptococcus faecalis,

Escherichia coli or Candida albicans, to give 105  cfu/gram,

less  than  10  cfu/gram were  detectable  after  1 hour at

25C.[7] Pastes diluted with serum have a reduced  bacterici-

dal effect – 75% paste in serum gave an 80% reduction in vi-

able numbers of S. aureus within 2 hours and a 99% reduction

in viable numbers of Proteus mirabilis within 1 hour[3].

Although  the application of sugar to a wound creates an en-

vironment with low water activity  (aw)  and  high  osmotic

pressure, overall the wound remains moist. (The water activ-

ity of a solution is the ratio of its water vapour  pressure

to  that  of pure water at the same temperature so that aw =


The effect of reducing water activity values on  the  growth

of  bacteria  has  been investigated by Chirife et al[8] who

determined the limiting water activities at which  different

species of bacteria will grow.  We have determined the water

activity of our pastes, at different dilutions in serum,  by

measuring  water  vapour  pressure at 25C with an electronic

hygrometer. Undiluted pastes have an almost zero availabili-

ty  of  water  because the  sugar (sucrose) is dispersed in

Polyethylene glycol 400 which does not contain water.  Sugar

has an osmotic action which can be thermodynamically related

to water activity by the following equation.[8]

= (RT/V) x log (1/aw),

where  = osmotic pressure,

R is the gas constant,

T is the absolute temperature in degrees kelvin,

V is the partial molal volume of water and

aw is the water activity.

Thus, by determining water activity,  the osmotic  pressure

can be calculated. From this equation it will be seen that a

solution of low water activity has high osmotic pressure.

Because of the difficulty of conducting a  controlled  trial

of  sugar  paste  in  human wounds, an animal study has been

conducted[6] using a method similar to that reported by Win-

ter and Scales.[9] Full thickness wounds 25 mm square, and 9

mm deep were made in the backs of pigs and around  each  was

placed a colostomy stoma ring. This in turn was covered with

a semipermeable plastic film dressing (Opsite) so as to form

a  moist  chamber.   Wounds were either covered with Opsite

alone, or packed with thick sugar  paste  or  cotton  gauze

soaked  in  various antiseptic solutions and then covered in

Opsite. The results showed that  there  was  no  significant

difference between  wounds  left unpacked, but covered with

Opsite, and those Opsite covered wounds  packed with  sugar

paste, indicating  that although sugar paste did not stimu-

late the formation of granulation  tissue, neither  did  it

cause  inhibition  or  toxicity. However, all wounds packed

with antiseptics showed evidence of delayed  healing,  espe-

cially  those  containing  chlorhexidine gluconate 0.2%. The

pig model wounds were not infected so no conclusions can  be

drawn  on  the  relative value of Opsite and sugar paste for

healing infected wounds.


Sugar paste should be considered for the management  of  all

infected  and  malodorous wounds. It is a far less expensive

alternative to Debrisan and similar products  which  are  of

dubious  efficacy  and  are  often  difficult to remove from

wounds. In our experience, sugar paste is also  superior  to

charcoal  dressings for treating malodorous wounds as it re-

moves the cause of the smell and in this respect is  similar

to  metronidazole gel. However sugar paste may be preferable

to metronidazole gel for treating such wounds as the use  of

topical   antibacterials   and   antibiotics   should   be


Sugar paste lacks the toxicity of most  antiseptics and  it

does  not disrupt the architecture of the healing wounds, as

does packing with gauze.

The paste is self-sterilizing and can be produced in differ-

ent  viscosities  to  suit  all kinds of wound and it is not

painful to apply.  It may cause  bleeding  when  granulation

tissue   is   well  formed,  at  which  stage simple,  non-

impregnated dressings should be applied which will keep  the

wound moist and allow epithelialisation to occur.


1.  Herszage L. et al., Tratamiento de las heridas supuradas

con azucar granulado comercial, Biol Trab Soc Argent., 1980,

41, 315-330.

2. Trouillet J.L., et al., Use of granulated sugar in treat-

ment of open mediastinitis after  cardiac surgery,  Lancet,

1985, 2, 180-183.

3.  Ambrose  U.  An investigation into the mode of action of

Northwick Park Hospital sugar pastes.  Hatfield Polytechnic,

1986, B.Sc. Applied Biology Thesis.

4.  Chirife  J.,  et al., In-vitro antibacterial activity of

concentrated polyethylene glycol 400 solutions,  Antimicrob.

Ag. Chemother., 1983, 24, 409-412.

5.  Wilson  C.G. and Thomas N.W. Interaction of tissues with

polyethylene glycol vehicles Pharm. Int., 1984, 5 94-97.

6. Archer H.G. et al., A controlled  model  of  moist  wound

healing: comparison between semi-permeable film, antiseptics

and sugar paste.  J. exp. Path., 1990, 75, 155-170.

7. Gordon H., et al., Sugar and wound healing Lancet,  1985, 2, 663-664.

8.  Chirife  J.,  et al., In-vitro study of bacterial growth

inhibition in concentrated sugar solutions:  microbiological

basis  for the use of sugar in treating infected wounds, An-

timicrob. Ag. Chemother. 1983, 23, 766-773.

9. Winter G.D. and Scales J.T.  Effect  of  air  drying  and

dressings  on  the  surface  of  a wound Nature, 1963, 197,


10. Morgan D. Formulary of Wound  Management Products  (3rd

edition),  1989,  Clwyd  Health Authority, Preswylfa, Hendy

Road, Mold, Clwyd CH7 1PZ.


No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.405 / Virus Database: 268.12.9/457 – Release Date: 9/26/2006