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Lynne Eldridge MD

Honey to Treat Chemotherapy Mouth Sores

By April 20, 2012

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"Sweet" and "natural" aren't usually among the words we use to describe treatments designed to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. But there is one sweet approach to treating those annoying chemotherapy induced mouth sores that seems to work..



Mouth sores (mucositis) come about because chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells like cancer -- and the cells in our mouths are rapidly dividing. Mouth sores are not only a nuisance and painful, but can interfere with your ability to eat and get the nutrition you need during cancer treatment.

Since there really isn't much that can be done about mouth sores, researchers decided to test honey. Honey is known to have wound healing as well as anti-oxidant properties. And honey was found in an earlier study to work preventatively for chemotherapy and radiation induced mouth sores for people with head and neck cancer.

They found that honey decreased the recovery time and significantly sped up healing for people with grade 2 and grade 3 mouth sores.

Several chemotherapy drugs used for lung cancer, such as Platinol (cisplatin), Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and VePecid (etoposide) are notorious for causing mouth sores. Though this study was done on children with cancer, it might be worth asking your oncologist if honey could work for you as well.

Further Reading:

Photo: Dreamstime.com, author Mhd


Abdulrhman, M. et al. Honey and a mixture of honey, beeswax, and olive oil-propolis extract in treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis: a randomized controlled pilot study. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. 2012. 29(3):285-92.

September 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm
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