Speeding Up the Healing of Burns with Honey

An Experimental Study with Histological Assessment of Wound Biopsies
  • Th. J. Postmes
  • M. M. C. Bosch
  • R. Dutrieux
  • J. van Baare
  • M. J. Hoekstra


In a pilot-study deep dermal burns, identical in depth and extent, were made at each flank of Yorkshire pigs. Wound healing characteristics and measurements of dermal thickness were investigated by comparing biopsies histologically in pairs. Wounds were treated with either honey of a defined antibacterial activity, or sugar, or silver sulfadiazine (SSD). Biopsies were taken on post burn days 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. Wounds treated with SSD were fully epithelialized after 28–35 days, whereas those treated with honey and sugar were closed within 21 days. In 5 out of 6 wounds the neodermis of the sugar treated burns was thicker than the neodermis of those treated with honey. In all honey experiments, on day 21, wounds were best microscopically characterized by (i) a quiet granulation tissue, (ii) an inconspicuous inflammation and (iii) a decrease of actine staining of myofibroblasts. In contrast, sugar treated wounds appeared different especially on day 21 and later. Furthermore, we observed in various sections signs of inflammation which were linked to perivascular infiltrates and well-stained myofibroblasts. These results suggest a difference between sugar and honey treatment. If antibacterial activity and anti-inflammatory activity count in wound treatment, then honey has to be prefered above sugar.


Dermal Thickness Treated Burn Silver Sulfadiazine Degree Burn Honey Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Th. J. Postmes
    • 1
  • M. M. C. Bosch
    • 2
  • R. Dutrieux
    • 3
  • J. van Baare
    • 4
  • M. J. Hoekstra
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineAcademic Hospital MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Leiden Cytology and Pathology LaboratoryThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of histopathologyAcademic HospitalUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Burns Unit Red Cross HospitalBeverwijkThe Netherlands

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