Honey of a Remedy for Nonhealing Wounds

Désirée Lie, MD, MSEd


April 30, 2009

Case Presentation

A 45-year-old man has had moderately well-controlled diabetes mellitus (DM) for 5 years. He takes metformin and sulphonylurea as prescribed, but he is prone to wounds that are slow to heal. His most recent test for hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is 7.0%. He is overweight and has an elevated body mass index of 29 kg/m², but he says he follows an American Diabetic Association-approved 1800-kcal diet and he walks daily for at least 20 minutes. He also has an elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level (160 mg/dL), but he is not currently on statin treatment. He presents with a lower-leg venous ulcer that has not healed despite treatment that includes regular elevation of the leg, daily changes of hydrogel dressings, and medication with mupirocin ointment.

The physical examination of the lower leg reveals mild neuropathy characterized by reduced sensation for pinprick and light touch, but detects good dorsales pedis pulses. The patient has no symptoms of claudication, and his arterial-brachial index is normal at 1.1.

He recently heard about the benefits of medicinal honey and asks the physician whether he can ingest honey to better control his DM and hyperlipidemia. He is also interested in using honey topically to treat his leg ulcer. He asks what type of honey would be useful for these purposes, how much to use, and whether medicinal honey is associated with any known adverse effects.


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