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Honey For Your Ulcer

Media Release

25 August 2004

Honey for your ulcer

Leg ulcers are a major problem for many elderly people, but a new study hopes to confirm that manuka honey, which is readily available in most Kiwi homes is an effective treatment.

A team of researchers, led by Andrew Jull, a research fellow at The University of Auckland's Clinical Trials Research Unit in the School of Population Health, is conducting the study with funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

With 400-patients involved, it will be the largest clinical trial of manuka honey for wound care ever funded, and one of the largest leg ulcer trials in the world.

Compression bandaging is the mainstay of treatment for most leg ulcers and the trial aims to determine whether a manuka honey dressing (plus compression bandaging) is more effective at healing leg ulcers compared to usual care (plus compression bandaging) at twelve weeks.

While the use of honey for healing is not uncommon, Mr Jull says there is little solid evidence on the effect of honey on ulcer healing.

"Some research in burns does suggest that honey speeds up healing. However, the effect of honey remains unproven as a treatment for leg ulcers.

"A randomised controlled trial will provide the best evidence about whether honey aids healing," says Mr Jull.

The Clinical Trials Research Unit, in The University of Auckland's School of Population Health, is spearheading the project which includes researchers from The University of Auckland, the University of Waikato and four district health boards.

The honey dressing has been supplied by Comvita New Zealand Ltd, Medical Division and the trial has also received support from USL Medical Ltd.

Patients from Central and South Auckland, Waikato and Christchurch are being recruited with the help of district nurses.

The trial has started and anyone with a leg ulcer interested in participating in the study should contact Mr Jull on 0800 783-764.

ENDS

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