Honey and olive oil combination ensures better wound healing –Scientists
Next time you sustain a wound, try applying a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and honey to ensure quick healing. You are sure there will not be any scar afterwards. Honey and olive oil are one of those very few foods that have therapeutic properties. This is why both of them have been extensively used since ancient times.
Aside the duo rendering amazing health benefits to the entire body, a scientific assessment of the mixture indicated that it could ensure faster wound healing than honey alone.
Honey and olive oil contain essential phytochemicals and mineral elements required by the body for enhanced and rapid wound healing. In fact, the study found that wound treatment with olive oil produced less scar formation when compared with the synthetic drug-penicillin ointment and honey.
Traditional management of wounds involves the use of herbs powder as a whole or their by-products as plant extracts preparations such as olive oil extracted from the seed of olive tree as well as honey.
Olive oil has been considered sacred and was used to anoint kings and athletes in ancient Greece. It is also used in wound dressing and treatment of diseases in humans such as diaper, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and other fungal skin infections. It is topically applied either singly or in combination with other agents such as honey.
However, honey is more frequently used in management of sore and burns. Historically, it was used to treat infected wounds for over 2000 years before bacteria were discovered as a clear cause of infection.
Many synthetic agents have been used in aiding wound healing process and equally, to reduce wound infection by microbes. However, associated with these synthetic agents are drawbacks such as increase in wound healing time and scab formation after wound healing and development of resistance to some antibiotics by some microbes, thus necessitating the re-evaluation of ancient wound healing remedies such as honey and olive oil.
In the study, the researchers studied the wound healing effect of honey and olive oil in New Zealand rabbits. The wound healing effects of honey and olive oil were determined by inflicting a 2 mm incisional wound on the thigh muscle of 18 New Zealand rabbits.
The rabbits were grouped into six groups, which were topically administered of honey, olive oil, honey and olive oil mixture, iodine and methylated spirit and penicillin. The last group was undressed and untreated and served as negative control. Healing and scar tissue formation was monitored over a period of 10 days by measuring the wound closure daily.
The 2014 study published in the Communications in Applied Sciences was entitled “Evaluation of Chemical Composition and the Comparative Wound Healing Effect of Natural Honey and Olive Oil in Rabbits.” It involved Shamaki, Bala Usman; Abba Yusuf; Balla, H. Jimeta; Halima, I. Gambo; Sherifat, O. Balogun; Abdulrahman, F.I.; and Sandabe, U.K. from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. It was done in collaboration with Ogbe, A.O. from the University of Abuja.
The scientists found that incised wounds treated with honey showed wound regression by the second day after commencement of treatment and healing was completed by the ninth day. Those treated with olive oil showed remarkable wound healing effect as wound regression was observed from third day after treatment commenced while wound healing was completed by sixth day.
But delayed wound healing was noticed in the group treated with mixtures of honey and olive oil. Healing started on the third day and lasted for seven days, buttotal cure was achieved by the eighth day.
However, the group treated with conventional synthetic drug penicillin, was totally healed on the 10th day. Wound healing in iodine and methylated spirit treated group commenced on the second day after commencement of treatment and lasted for five days with total cure on the sixth day.
In the untreated group, wound healing started on the second day after the wound occurred and was 0.2 mm by the 10th day of the experiment. Complete wound healing was achieved beyond the 10 day experimental period. In addition, the groups that were treated with olive oil showed little scar formation when compared to other treatment groups in this study.
According to the researchers, the wound healing effect of honey and olive oil could be related to high concentrations of elements such as calcium, potassium, iron, copper and zinc (in honey and olive oil) and phytochemical components such as carbohydrates, monosaccharide, reducing sugars, terpenoids and saponins in honey.
Phytochemical components help to ensure increased blood flow to the wounded area as well as alter the environment in the wound to prevent growth of microbes, thus enhancing wound healing and repair.
Additionally, honey also have an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide and these can reduce wound contamination and enhance fast healing effects.
However, the researchers suggested that these natural products (honey and olive oil) can be used individually or in combination, and as a local content by pharmaceutical companies for the preparations of wound healing ointments and skin care products.
Previously, researchers at Saudi Arabia’s Salman bin AbdulAziz University have also named honey as a natural remedy for canker sores.
Sceintists still don’t know exactly what causes these painful sores in the mouth—it could be anything from stress to food allergies to genetic predisposition—but this study suggests honey as the fast, effective canker sore treatment that is easily accessible to all.
For the study, the first treated their sores with honey, the second used an oral corticosteroid cream, and the third got an over-the-counter product that forms a protective paste to cover these sores in the mouth while they heal. Participants applied their respective treatments three times daily while researchers observed the effects.
After each meal, the participants wet a sterile cotton ball and wipe the sore clean. A small amount of honey is then applied using a cotton swab.
In just four days, all sores in the honey group had disappeared completely—but the number of sores in the other groups hadn’t budged. Honey even helped to soothe pain. After the first day, honey users reported a 95.5 per cent decrease in pain, with total pain elimination by the second day. But it took them eight days for those in other groups to reach the same pain-free state.
But, honey’s effects vary greatly depending on where and how the honey is harvested, and some types can be up to 100 times more potent than others.