Dress your wound with honey and seaweed

August 27th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Aug 27 (IANS) Researchers have created a dressing with a blend of honey and seaweed extract, which is about to hit the international markets.The dressing has been designed by Waikato University researchers for use on wounds including leg and foot ulcers, burns, and infected areas. The international wound-care market is estimated to be worth $12 billion by 2012.

Peter Molan, professor at Waikato University, created prototypes of the wound dressing about six years ago. The patch contains manuka honey gelled with sodium alginate - a food ingredient extracted from seaweed which helps the dressing absorb moisture.

The result is a patch which is dry and can be easily handled despite the stickiness of honey, and one that offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It does not stick to the skin, so is easily changed, lessening pain for patients.

Molan said the dressing would be particularly useful for chronic wounds resulting from diabetes. Type II diabetes is predicted to become a huge burden on health systems as obesity rates see more people succumbing to the disease - and the foot ulcers and wounds it often causes.

“It means diabetic wounds can be actually healed, rather than just offering palliative care. It could mean fewer amputations which are often necessary when these wounds won’t heal.”

That, in turn, means lower costs for the health sector. “The cost of non-healing wounds would be up in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” Molan said.

“A lot of wound care is done in the community, and this dressing doesn’t need changing as often as conventional dressings, so it could save on time and travel costs,” he added.

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