In this time of MRSA (methacillin-resistant Staph aureus) skin infections, Medscape reviews 3 CAM wound treatment options.

Here are the highlights.

Medicinal maggot therapy

  • Sterilized larvae of the green bottle fly Lucilia sericata.
  • Don’t reproduce nor feed on live tissue.
  • They ingest and degrade bacteria in their intestinal tract.
  • Also secrete an enzyme that disinfects the wound, dissolves necrotic tissue, and stimulates wound healing.
  • Approved by the FDA in 2004 as the first live organism marketed in the US.
  • Reimbursable by Medicare.

Medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis)

  • FDA-approved as a medical device in 2004 (after maggots received clearance).
  • Works by several mechanisms: inhibit blood clotting and promote local bleeding, antibiotic properties, and local anesthetic.

Medicinal honey to treat wounds

  • Honey is comprised of glucose (35%), fructose (40%), sucrose (5%), and water (20%).
  • Works by several mechanisms: nutrition to promote healing, kills bacteria by drawing away water (hyperosmotic), contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide (antibacterial).
  • Supported by human and animal studies.
  • Available as Medihoney.

Read more here about Medihoney, maggot therapy, and medicinal leeches.

A more technical review is here.


Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.