Use of Honey for Healing Pressure Ulcers: An Integrative Review

Sunday, 27 July 2014: 1:15 PM

Katherine Ricossa, RN, MS
Recuperative Skills Training, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, Santa Clara, CA


Using Complementary and Alternative Methods (CAM) offers a holistic approach of caring for those with pressure ulcers. The purpose of this paper is to examine the caring and the healing process using CAM to examine a Systematic Integrated Review of 9 randomized clinical trials on the use of honey and the healing of pressure ulcers.

The costs of wound healing continue to escalate. It is important to explore alternative holistic modalities which are cost effective and achieve the desired outcome of wound healing. Honey is the ideal substance to provide effective wound healing properties: antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, wound cleansing and debridement. 


Several databases were examined: Natural Standard, Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Internationally 8 randomized clinical trials were identified using honey for wound healing of pressure ulcers. No clinical trials were identified in the United States.


In the last 10 years, internationally 6 randomized clinical and 1 Intervention Review have been published on clinical trials examining the effectiveness of honey to treat and heal pressure ulcers as well as other wounds. Each sample size was different based on the geographical area where the study was conducted and different types of honey were used to determine the effectiveness on wound healing. Honey was not always effective on some wounds, but the evidence indicates that honey is effective in wound healing.


Few studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of wound healing with honey internationally. It is suggested that honey is nature’s perfect substance for wound healing for pressure ulcers. It is difficult to generalize on the effectiveness of honey based on these randomized clinical trials with heterogeneous samples and wound types. Based on these studies, honey is effective on healing pressure ulcers. However, additional research must be conducted using homogenous samples and pressure ulcer types to establish a basis for practice.