Background: The objective of this research was to investigate the effect of the topical application of honey on recurrent attacks of herpes lesions, labial and genital, as compared to acyclovir cream.
Material/methods: Sixteen adult patients with a history of recurrent attacks of herpetic lesions, 8 labial and 8 genital, were treated by topical application of honey for one attack and acyclovir cream for another attack.
Results: For labial herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 35%, 39%, 28% and 43% better, respectively, than with acyclovir treatment. For genital herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 53%, 50%, 49% and 59% better, respectively, than with acyclovir. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the use of honey. The lesions crusted in 3 patients with labial herpes and in 4 patients with genital herpes. With acyclovir treatment, none of the attacks remitted, and all the lesions, labial and genital, developed crust. No side effects were observed with repeated applications of honey, whereas 3 patients developed local itching with acyclovir.
Conclusions: Topical honey application is safe and effective in the management of the signs and symptoms of recurrent lesions from labial and genital herpes.