Honey: an immunomodulatory agent for disorders of the skin

Pauline McLoone, Mary Warnock, Lorna Fyfe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Studies have shown that honeys from around the world can inhibit the growth of a range of dermatologically important microbes. In addition to reports of the antimicrobial properties of honey, a number of recent in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that honey is able to modulate immunological parameters related to the skin immune system. Paradoxically, both immune-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects have been observed. In this review, scientific research investigating the immunomodulatory properties of honeys from around the world, in relation to disorders of the skin, is evaluated. While there is sufficient evidence to suggest that honey does indeed have immunomodulatory properties, which may at least partially explain the ability of honey to promote the healing of wounds, there are still gaps in the scientific knowledge and literature. More research is necessary for a more complete understanding of the immune-modulating properties of honey and to enable the utilisation of honey as an immune-modulating agent in dermatology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalFood and Agricultural Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 3 2016


  • honey
  • immunomodulatory
  • skin disorders
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Immunology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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