A systematic review and meta-analysis of dressings used for wound healing: the efficiency of honey compared to silver on burns

Contemp Nurse. Oct-Dec 2015;51(2-3):121-34. doi: 10.1080/10376178.2016.1171727. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Background: Honey has the antibacterial effect of silver without the toxic effect of silver on the skin. Even so, silver is the dominant antibacterial dressing used in wound healing.

Objectives: To evaluate the healing effects of honey dressings compared to silver dressings for acute or chronic wounds.

Design: A systematic review with meta-analysis.

Method: The search, conducted in seven databases, resulted in six randomised controlled trial studies from South Asia focusing on antibacterial properties and healing times of honey and silver.

Result: Honey was more efficacious for wound healing than silver, as measured in the number of days needed for wounds to heal (pooled risk difference -20, 95% CI -0.29 to -0.11, p < .001). Honey turned out to have more antibacterial qualities than silver.

Conclusion: All the included studies based on burns showed the unequivocal result that honey had an even more positive effect than silver on wound healing.

Keywords: antibacterial dressing; burns; honey; silver; wound healing.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Honey*
  • Humans
  • Silver / administration & dosage*
  • Wound Healing*


  • Silver