Portail Guide

13. Is there a role for alternative therapies in wound healing?

Many so-called “alternative” therapies exist for wound healing, some of which date back to ancient times.

Honey, which was already used in ancient Egypt, has antibacterial and immunomodulatory properties [6]. It can be used in several forms (waxes, natural oils, etc.) and is marketed by various pharmaceutical companies. To date, however, no studies of sufficient quality have been conducted to establish with certainty the efficacy of honey.

A number of essential oils are available offering anti-infectious, anti- inflammatory, analgesic and deodorising properties. Such products are currently used in France in geriatrics and oncology, as diffusion or massage products to soothe, relax and facilitate sleep. However, no studies have been conducted evaluating their effectiveness on wounds. Moreover, many cases of adverse skin reactions, especially allergic reactions, have been described, meaning that their use in wound healing should be avoided.

Sterilised maggots and greenfly larvae can be applied directly to chronic wounds to clean up fibrinonecrotic tissue through the secretion of proteolytic enzymes. Clinical trials have demonstrated their effectiveness in the initial management of certain chronic wounds, especially venous leg ulcers [7]. They have been used in some centres for more than 20 years and have been considered as a medicinal product since 2004.


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