Honey Helps Horses’ Wounds Heal Faster

University of Sydney researchers have found that a simple application of honey to horses’ leg wounds results in smaller wound sizes and faster healing time.

AsianScientist (June 30, 2011) – Honey has been used to treat wounds in humans since ancient times in Egypt, but this study, using manuka honey from Australia and New Zealand, is the first time in the world a clinical trial has been conducted in horses.

“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 Dr. Andrea Bischofberger, who who is a veterinarian at the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Camden (UVTHC), a part of the University of Sydney.

“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,” she added.

Using a manuka honey gel means expensive bandages can be avoided, Bischofberger explained.

“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,” she said.

It is still unclear how manuka honey actually works to speed up wound healing although it seems to have an anti-bacterial effect and immune-modifying effect on the key initial healing phase, the inflammatory stage.

“What we do know is treating wounds with manuka honey leads to healthier tissue regrowth,” said Bischofberger. “Wounds treated with manuka also showed improved new blood vessel and skin surface growth compared to control wounds.”

Bischofberger’s research supervisor, Prof. Andrew Dart, a surgical specialist and expert on the complications associated with lower leg wound healing in horses, said:

“The results of these studies have led to significant national and international interest both from the animal and human fields. There is potential for the manuka honey gel to be used across species with similar beneficial effects.”


Source: University of Sydney.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Yew Chung is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore.

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