Honey and beehive products in otorhinolaryngology: a narrative review

D. Henatsch*, F. Wesseling, K. W. Kross, R. J. Stokroos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Honey and beehive products were rediscovered as an alternative treatment in wounds. The medicinal properties also raised interest of their use in Otorhinolaryngology. Objective of reviewTo give an overview of the effectiveness of beehive products in Otorhinolaryngology. Type of reviewNarrative. Search strategy and evaluationA literature search of the databases PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane was performed from the last two decades till December 2014. The search terms honey', propolis' or royal jelly' were used. Articles, which evaluated the effectiveness of beehive products in Otorhinolaryngology, were included. The quality assessment of included studies was performed using the Cochrane Collaboration's risk of bias tool. Discussion and ConclusionA total of 36 studies were identified and evaluated. Eighteen studies investigated their effect in oral infections, seven in infection of the respiratory tract, six in rhino-sinusal diseases, four investigated the use in tonsillectomy and head and neck surgery and one study explored the preventive effect in otitis media. Honey can be considered as effective (additional) treatment in mucositis, childhood cough, persistent post-infectious cough and after tonsillectomy. Propolis may have a role in the treatment of (aphthous) stomatitis, mouth ulcer and prevention of acute otitis media. Royal jelly showed to reduce mucositis. In the presented studies, beehive products proved to be safe, with only minor adverse reactions. Studies showed to be diverse and had some methodological limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-531
JournalClinical Otolaryngology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


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