Advancements in biotechnology, biomaterials, and tissue engineering are driving growth in the worldwide wound care market – which reached $12.3 billion in 2007 – as new products and devices enter the market at lightning speed. Meanwhile, according to a new report by Kalorama Information, World Wound Care Markets 2008, new research is shining a light on some very familiar substances that have powerful medicinal properties – including honey and silver.
Using honey to treat wounds is not a new concept; it has served as an effective remedy for centuries. But recently, there has been renewed interest in and new products commercializing its medicinal properties.
Honey’s positive effects on the healing process are myriad, from reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain, to promoting the shedding of dead tissue and faster healing with minimal scarring. Honey is also an excellent antibacterial agent, and unlike other antiseptics, it is not harmful to tissues.
What is behind honey’s powerful therapeutic and antibacterial properties? The hydrogen peroxide it generates stimulates the growth of new cells and blood vessels. Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals, which lead to inflammation. Vitamins, amino acids, and minerals are vital to new tissue growth, since damage to the underlying circulation limits nutrients from reaching the wound.
“With clinical trials providing the evidence and rational explanations for its therapeutic efficacy, honey is finding acceptance in the mainstream medical field,” notes Mary Anne Crandall, the report’s author. “Companies such as MoInlycke Healthcare, Comvita and Derma Sciences are successfully commercializing honey-based wound care dressings and antibacterial gels.”
Major wound care companies are also producing novel dressings that integrate the antimicrobial power of silver. Though they represent a fraction of wound care sales, honey and silver demonstrate the ingenuity of wound care makers.
“There can never be enough innovation in wound care,” says Crandall. “Better wound care leads to faster recovery, shorter hospital stays, less pain. We continue to see a dynamic product pipeline.”
Illustration: Microsoft Clipart.
Kalorama Information Press Release (06/11/08)
Yahoo! Finance (06/11/08)
Medical News Today (06/13/08)