The effect of topical application of pure honey on radiation-induced mucositis: a randomized clinical trial

J Contemp Dent Pract. 2008 Mar 1;9(3):40-7.


Aim: Radiation-induced mucositis is an early effect of head and neck radiotherapy. Mucositis can cause ulcers, and patients may experience pain and dysphasia which need treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of pure natural honey on radiation induced mucositis.

Methods and materials: In this randomized single blind (examiner blind) clinical trial 40 patients with head and neck cancer requiring radiation to the oropharyngeal mucosa were randomly assigned to two groups. Twenty patients assigned to the study group received honey, while both the study and control groups received standard head and neck radiation therapy based on a standard protocol. In the study group patients were instructed to take 20 ml of honey 15 minutes before radiation therapy, then again at intervals of 15 minutes and six hours after radiation. In the control group patients were instructed to rinse with 20 ml of saline before and after radiation. Patients were evaluated weekly for progression of mucositis using the Oral Mucositis Assessing Scale (OMAS). Data were analyzed using the independent t-test, Mann-Whitney, and Friedman tests.

Results: A significant reduction in mucositis among honey-received patients compared with controls (p=0.000) occurred.

Conclusion: Within the limits of this study the results showed the application of natural honey is effective in managing radiation induced mucositis.

Clinical significance: Natural honey is a product with rich nutritional qualities that could be a pleasant, simple, and economic modality for the management of radiation mucositis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cranial Irradiation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucositis / etiology
  • Mucositis / therapy*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Radiation Injuries / therapy*
  • Radioisotope Teletherapy / adverse effects
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stomatitis / etiology
  • Stomatitis / therapy*