About 15% of patients with diabetes mellitus develop foot ulcers of the skin, and up to 24% of those patients will undergo amputation. Most likely, this problem will grow because of the increased incidence of diabetes at this time.
Wound dressings are important in healing skin ulcers. It is important to keep the wound moist and to protect it from injury. Royal jelly (RJ) has been used in these dressings. It is the food of the queen honey bee larva (Apis mellifera), and it is secreted from glands of the worker bees. RJ contains proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals, vitamins, and many other bioactive substances. It even contains an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory protein called royalisin. RJ can dilate blood vessels and increase local blood flow.
The authors report on a study of 10 patients with diabetic foot ulcers treated with topical RJ as a part of a larger clinical trial at Khorshid hospital, Isfahan, Iran. The sizes of the ulcers were measured at the start of the study, and patients were taught basic wound care. Ankle pulses were evaluated and appropriate referrals to vascular specialists were made. The patients were followed three times a week and the wounds were remeasured. The ulcers were treated with 5% RJ and covered with sterile gauze. Follow-ups were for 3 months or until the wounds healed.
The study results showed that, of a total of 8 ulcers, 7 healed in an average of 41 days. The 8th ulcer did not heal in 3 months, but became significantly smaller in size. No significant side effects resulted from using RJ.
CONCLUSION: Royal Jelly was shown to be effective in treating diabetic foot ulcers in this small study. It is anti-bacterial and increases local circulation.
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NOTE: Read about alpha lipoic acid and diabetic polyneuropathy.