Sydney: Honey has the power to heal wounds faster, besides making them smaller, says a new study.
It has been used to treat wounds in humans since ancient Egypt, but University of Sydney researchers tested the efficacy of manuka honey, in the first ever clinical trial on horses.
Manuka honey is made by bees in New Zealand that only frequent the manuka bush, Leptospermum scoparium.
"Wounds in horses, particularly leg wounds, have long healing periods. But we found applying a manuka honey gel throughout healing led to 27 percent faster healing times," said lead researcher Andrea Bischofberger of the University.
Bischofberger says that "with its faster wound healing times and its bandage-free application, the manuka honey gel solution is an extremely versatile and affordable topical wound product".
"Wounds in horses which received no treatment took an average of 64 days to heal, while those treated with manuka honey gel took 47 days to heal," said Bischofberger, according to a Sydney release.
"In our pilot study we used pure honey, but in our second study we used a water-based manuka honey gel of 66 percent honey. When applied for 12 days, we found these wounds healed just as well as those treated with pure honey."
In a third study, Bischofberger and colleagues investigated how manuka honey actually worked to speed up wound healing.
While it seems to have an anti-bacterial effect and immune-modifying effect on the key initial healing phase, the inflammatory stage, the honey`s exact healing mechanism is still unclear.
"Wounds treated with manuka also showed improved new blood vessel and skin surface growth compared to control wounds," Bischofberger added.
These findings will be presented at a veterinary science conference Friday.