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N Z Med J. 2009 May 22;122(1295):47-60.

Honey in the treatment of burns: a systematic review and meta-analysis of its efficacy.

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Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ), Wellington 6143, New Zealand.



To determine the efficacy of honey in burn wound management.


A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials which compared the efficacy of honey with a comparator dressing treatment in the management of burns. The main outcome measure was the proportion of subjects with wounds healed at 15 days.


Eight studies with 624 subjects were included in the meta-analysis. The quality of the studies was poor with each study having a Jadad score of 1. Six studies were undertaken by the same investigator. In most studies unprocessed honey covered by sterile gauze was compared with silver sulphadiazine-impregnated gauze. The fixed effects odds ratio for healing at 15 days was 6.1 (95% CI 3.7 to 9.9) in favour of honey having a superior effect. The random effects pooled odds ratio was 6.7 (95% CI 2.8 to 15.8) in favour of honey treatment. The secondary outcome variables all showed significantly greater efficacy for honey treatment.


Available evidence indicates markedly greater efficacy of honey compared with alternative dressing treatments for superficial or partial thickness burns, although the limitations of the studies included in the meta-analysis restrict the clinical application of these findings. Further studies are urgently required to determine the role of honey in the management of superficial or partial thickness burns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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