Honey in wound healing: An updated review

Open Life Sci. 2021 Oct 6;16(1):1091-1100. doi: 10.1515/biol-2021-0084. eCollection 2021.


Wound healing is a complex process with many interdependent pathophysiological and immunological mediators to restore the cellular integrity of damaged tissue. Cutaneous wound healing is the repair response to a multitude of pathologies induced by trauma, surgery, and burn leading to the restoration and functionality of the compromised cells. Many different methods have been employed to treat acute and chronic wounds, such as antimicrobial therapy, as most wounds are susceptible to infection from microbes and are difficult to treat. However, many antimicrobial agents have become ineffective in wound treatment due to the emergence of multiple drug-resistant bacteria, and failures in current wound treatment methods have been widely reported. For this reason, alternative therapies have been sought, one of which is the use of honey as a wound treatment agent. The use of honey has recently gained clinical popularity for possible use in wound treatment and regenerative medicine. With this high demand, a better delivery and application procedure is required, as well as research aiming at its bioactivity. Honey is a safe natural substance, effective in the inhibition of bacterial growth and the treatment of a broad range of wound types, including burns, scratches, diabetic boils (Skin abscesses associated with diabetic), malignancies, leprosy, fistulas, leg ulcers, traumatic boils, cervical and varicose ulcers, amputation, burst abdominal wounds, septic and surgical wounds, cracked nipples, and wounds in the abdominal wall. Honey comprises a wide variety of active compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acid, organic acids, enzymes, and vitamins, that may act to improve the wound healing process. Tissue-engineered scaffolds have recently attracted a great deal of attention, and various scaffold fabrication techniques are being researched. Some incorporate honey to improve their delivery during wound treatment. Hence, the aim of this review is to summarize recent studies on the wound healing properties of honey.

Keywords: antibacterial effects; antifungal properties; honey; multidrug-resistant bacteria; wound healing.

Publication types

  • Review