A Brief Review about the Effect of Honey on Diabetic Foot Ulcer; from In Vitro Studies to Clinical Trials

Document Type: Review


1 Student Scientific Research Center (SSRC), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran.

2 Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Persian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Diabetes mellitus has many complications; one of the most important ones is diabetic foot ulcer (DFU). Due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the world and evidences of the role of honey in treatment of DFU, we decided to review the effect of honey on DFU. We searched the keywords of “honey”, “diabetic foot ulcer”, “treatment”, “diabetes mellitus”, “wound dressing” and “wound healing” in indexing systems of PubMed, Scopus and ISI Web of Science between 2007 to 1 Jun 2017, in English and Persian languages. Out of 120 articles published, 20 articles met the inclusion criteria, including one in vivo study, four in vitro studies and 15 human studies. The results showed the efficacy of honey as a wound healing agent in some types of wounds. Mechanisms of healing methods included hyper osmosis, stimulating cytokine production, producing transforming growth factor-β1 and etc. In some articles, honey was used in combination with other medications like Commiphora molmol, Nigella sativa and povidone iodine. Honey showed minor side effects, in some studies, like mild burning or minor sensation. Despite these complications, the treatment was not stopped and in some cases the disorder was resolved by changing the combination ingredients. Although, the reviewed studies showed healing effect for honey in DFU, more studies are needed to confirm the efficacy.


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