Honey: a guide for healthcare professionals

Br J Nurs. 2008;17(15):S24, S26, S28-30. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2008.17.Sup6.30707.


There is a growing body of literature promoting the use of honey-based products in wound care, demonstrating their efficacy, cost-effectiveness and excellent record of safety. Thus, there has been a sizeable renaissance in the use of honey as a topical treatment for a wide range of wounds. This resurgence has brought an array of new honey-based wound products into the market place. Honey for the purposes of wound management has to be 'medical grade', which ensures that it has been sterilized by gamma irradiation and has a standardized antibacterial activity--only these honeys can be registered as medical devices. Hence, practitioners should exercise caution before using any unregulated unlicensed honey product as a treatment for wounds. This article provides healthcare practitioners with the information they need to make a considered decision when choosing between honey-based products. It highlights the importance of established clinical evidence in demonstrating the therapeutic properties of honey and supporting the use of honey-based products in the management of wounds. The practitioner needs to consider the written information provided by manufacturers as to the clinical evidence base of the product, indications and contraindications for use and safety of the product.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Honey* / analysis
  • Humans
  • Skin Care / methods*
  • Skin Care / nursing
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Infection / drug therapy*
  • Wound Infection / nursing
  • Wounds and Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Wounds and Injuries / nursing