Effects of Topical Application of Honey on Cutaneous Wound Healing in Rabbits


Pathology Department, Veterinary School, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Although it has been known for many centuries that honey can accelerate wound healing, there have only been isolated reports of its use in the healing of burns, ulcers, infected wounds and open wounds. None of these reports developed a model to assess the changes in morphological and biochemical properties due to topical application of honey on cutaneous wounds. In the present investigation, efficacy of honey in the healing of cutaneous wounds of rabbits was studied on the basis of histopathological and biochemical changes. For this reason 40 healthy White New Zealand rabbits were randomly assigned to four equal groups. Using aseptic surgical technique, a 3 cm incision was made on the skin of the left thigh of each rabbit and the wounds of five rabbits in each group were twice daily treated with topical application of 5 ml pure unheated honey. The other half remained as untreated controls. Rabbits in groups A, B, C and D were biopsied on days 2, 7, 14 and 21 postoperatively respectively, and biopsies from the lesions of all groups were collected for histopathological studies and from groups C and D for biomechanical evaluations as well. Treated lesions showed less oedema, fewer polymorphonuclear and mononuclear cell infiltration, less necrosis, better wound contraction, improved epithelialization and lower glycosaminoglycan and proteoglycan concentration on days 2 and 7 postoperatively and better tissue organization and consequently an improved tissue ultimate strength and yield strength on days 14 and 21 postoperation. These findings suggest that honey applied topically on cutaneous wounds accelerates the healing processes and appears to have an important property that makes it ideal as a dressing for cutaneous wounds.