Honey: a reservoir for microorganisms and an inhibitory agent for microbes.Afr Health Sci 2007; 7(3):159-65AH
Honey is an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds, which has recently been 'rediscovered' by the medical profession. The use to which honey is put in medical care is increasing daily with many authors pointing out its importance and role in wound care. There have been reports that honey contains many microorganisms including bacteria and fungi.
The aim of this paper is to highlight the various uses, organisms commonly found in honey, how the organisms arrived in the honey and their effects on wounds and wound care. Would the presence of these organisms not constitute a limiting factor to the use of honey in wound management? This is what this review aims to answer.
A literature search was done on honey using pubmed, google, local books and journals. Relevant journals were extracted and discussed with emphasis on the antimicrobial properties as well as microbial content of honey and the implications of these.
The production of honey as well as the storing process account for the presence of microorganisims. Most of these organisms are said to be in inactive forms as they can hardly survive in honey because of its several properties including hygroscopicity, hyperosmolarity, acidity, peroxide content, antibiotic activities etc. However there is a need for caution in the use of honey in wound management.
We suggest that wounds to be treated with honey should be investigated i.e with a swab for the microorganisms present on the wound and their sensitivity to the honey before commencing honey treatment. This will help in carefully selecting wounds that might do well with honey treatment not withstanding other properties of honey that aid wound healing.