Honey Impregnated Gauze

Honey Impregnated Gauze

PEP Topic 

Honey is a carbohydrate compound made by bees. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its osmotic pressure, and its use has been examined for local application to affect wound healing. Honey has been examined in patients with cancer for management of mucositis as an oral application and in radiodermatitis in a dressing application. Various formulations of medical grade honey have been used.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Robson, V., & Cooper, R. (2009). Using leptospermum honey to manage wounds impaired by radiotherapy: A case series. Ostomy Wound Management, 55, 38–47.


Study Purpose:

To assess the effect of leptospermum honey as a primary dressing for managing wounds with radiation-impaired healing

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

The cases involved patients who experienced fragile friable areas of damaged skin that did not respond to conventional treatment. Patients 1, 2, and 4 had long-term effects from radiation therapy treatment received several years or months earlier. Patient 3 experienced short-term effects from radiation therapy treatment received immediately before referral. Dressings to suit the condition of the wound had been applied before referral. The study product, Medihoney Antibacterial Honey is a mix of gamma-irradiated, sterile Australian and New Zealand leptospermum honeys, licensed in the United Kingdom and indicated for use in chronic wound care.

Sample Characteristics:

  • The study examined four cases.
  • Age ranged from 63–93 years.
  • Three patients were female and one was male.
  • Patient diagnoses were local cord carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of left cheek, ductal carcinoma of the left breast status postmastectomy, and vulvar cancer.


The study took place at the Wound Clinic in a United Kingdom hospital.

Study Design:

The study used a case series design.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • No tools were used to measure outcome.
  • Progress report was descriptive with photographs of the patients’ progress.
  • No pain measurement tool was used.


In all cases, a change from conventional dressings to the topical application of honey was followed by a noticeable improvement in healing. No adverse events were observed and even though one patient had type 2 diabetes, daily honey applications to her wound had no adverse effect on her blood sugar levels. All patients readily accepted honey as a dressing for their wounds.



No adverse events were reported. Honey as an adjunct to conventional wound and skin care post radiation therapy shows promise for less painful healing in these chronic wounds. Prospective, randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to confirm these observations.


  • The study was very small, with less than five cases.
  • No recognized pain scale was used.
  • Vehicle or dressing type was not consistent for honey application.
  • Multiple other products were used in conjunction with the honey for wound care.