An investigation into the wound healing potential of Welsh honeys
Rose A Cooper, Emma-Jane Wheat, Neil F Burton.
Honey is an ancient wound remedy that has gained acceptance in modern medicine with the development of modern wound care products. Its therapeutic attributes are thought to be related to its antimicrobial activity as well as its ability to stimulate rapid healing, yet it is not known whether these properties are correlated. Using 139 local Welsh honeys collected by amateur beekeepers and one manuka honey, we determined physical and chemical characteristics to establish authenticity. Antibacterial activity was estimated using an agar well diffusion bioassay and wound healing potential was estimated by quantifying the release of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) from monocytic cells exposed to honey. The manuka honey had total and non-peroxide activity equivalent to 18.5 % (w/v) phenol; 71 of the Welsh samples possessed total activity, with 6.9 % (w/v) the highest phenol equivalent, and none possessed non-peroxide activity. The mean TNF-α response following exposure of a monocytic cell line (Monomac 6) to manuka honey was 320 pg/ml ± 39.9 (SEM) and for the Welsh honeys it was 547.5 pg/ml ± 26.5 (SEM), ranging from 7.6 to 1437 pg/ml. Antibacterial activity and TNF-α response were not associated. Although the antiseptic potential of Welsh honeys was weak, their wound healing potential merits further investigation.