The efficacy of honey for ameliorating pain after tonsillectomy: a meta-analysis

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Apr;273(4):811-8. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-3433-4. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


Postoperative pain and wound healing following tonsillectomy can result in dissatisfaction for the patient. However, there is no consensus on whether postoperatively administered honey effectively reduces morbidity after tonsillectomy. Therefore, a systematic review with a meta-analysis of the efficacy of honey as a treatment for postoperative pain and wound healing was performed. Two authors independently searched the database records (MEDLINE, SCOPUS, and Cochrane databases) dating from inception to June 2014. Studies comparing postoperative oral administration of honey with administration of placebo where the outcomes of interest were pain and wound healing on postoperative days were included. Baseline study characteristics, study quality, numbers of patients in steroid-treated and control groups, and treatment outcomes were extracted. Sufficient data for meta-analysis were retrieved from 4 trials with a total of 264 patients. We analyzed patient-reported pain scores and quantities of administered analgesics during the first 5 postoperative days. The pain score was significantly decreased in the honey-treated patients in comparison with the placebo-treated patients on postoperative day 1 only, but the analgesic intake of the honey-treated patients on the first 5 postoperative days was significantly less than that of the placebo-treated patients. In addition, honey significantly increased tonsillectomy bed wound healing in comparison with placebo during the first 2 weeks after surgery. This meta-analysis shows that postoperative administration of honey after tonsillectomy significantly reduces pain and promotes wound healing. Further trials comparing honey with good research methodology should be conducted to confirm these results.

Keywords: Healing; Meta-analysis; Pain; Systematic review; Tonsillectomy; Wound.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Pain, Postoperative / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Tonsillectomy / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome