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Thursday, November 20, 2014 11:00 am

Honey…A Natural Remedy for Canker Sores

Could it be true that something as simple as honey contains the long sought after remedy to effectively treat minor canker sores? Anyone who has ever experienced the rapid, painful eruption of a canker sore, also known as a recurrent aphthous ulceration (RAU), will appreciate this recently published study* finding.

Honey...A Natural Remedy for Canker Sores
The healing properties of Honey
(Photo credit: Kathleen Kvilhaug)
A clinical trial of 94 subjects was conducted to compare the effectiveness of topically applied honey with that of the prescription anti-inflammatory medication triamcinolone and over-the-counter Orabase in the treatment of minor canker sores or RAU.  The clinical parameters examined were ulcer size, pain, redness, and healing. Naturally, the clinical trial resulted in surprising outcomes for the participants of the honey group…yes, pun intended ­čśë

Patients in Group 1 (the Honey group) achieved significant differences in ulcer size, pain, redness, and healing of canker sores compared to patients in either Group 2 (the Triamcinolone group) or Group 3 (the Orabase group).

The Honey Group patients experienced greater reduction in ulcer size, faster reduction and elimination of pain, greater reduction of redness, and faster healing of canker sores. The positive results of Group 1 (the Honey group) were followed next by Group 2 (the Triamcinolone group) and then by Group 3 (the Orabase group). 
Although most patients suffering with canker sores are likely to respond to all three treatment options, this study demonstrates that Honey is a safe and effective alternate therapy for patients who cannot use Triamcinolone or Orabase due to allergy or issues related to co-existing health concerns. Some health concerns can be exacerbated or aggravated by corticosteroids such as triamcinolone. For the sake of completeness I should add, honey is a safe alternative provided that one is greater than 12 months of age and not allergic to honey.
In the clinical trial, patients applied honey to canker sores four times daily for 5 days. In addition to the proven effectiveness of honey as a natural remedy for minor canker sores or RAU, the added benefit of ease of use and low cost, may make this therapy a welcome alternative for scores of patients who suffer with this common condition. It’s worth keeping in mind.

*Efficacy of honey in comparison to topical corticosteroid for treatment of recurrent minor aphthous ulceration: a randomized, blind, controlled, parallel, double-center clinical trial.
Quintessence Int.  2014; 45(8):691-701 (ISSN: 1936-7163)

El-Haddad SA; Asiri FY; Al-Qahtani HH; Al-Ghmlas AS