Building a healthy nation through research and innovation

For the public

Latest articles
- to view click on the titles

Honey as a topical treatment for acute and chronic wounds

640_Pregnant_Gas.jpgWe reviewed the evidence about the effects of applying honey on the healing of any kind of wound. We found 26 studies involving 3011 people with many different kinds of wounds. Honey was compared with many different treatments in the included studies.

The differences in wound types and comparators make it impossible to draw overall conclusions about the effects of honey on wound healing. The evidence for most comparisons is low or very low quality. This was largely because we thought that problems with the design of some of the studies made their results unreliable and for many outcomes there was only a small amount of information available. In some cases the results of the studies varied considerably.

There is high quality evidence that honey heals partial thickness burns around 4 to 5 days more quickly than conventional dressings. There is moderate quality evidence that honey is more effective than antiseptic followed by gauze for healing wounds infected after surgical operations.

It is not clear if honey is better or worse than other treatments for burns, mixed acute and chronic wounds, pressure ulcers, Fournier's gangrene, venous leg ulcers, minor acute wounds, diabetic foot ulcers and Leishmaniasis as most of the evidence that exists is of low or very low quality.

This evidence is current up to October 2014

Citation: Jull AB, Cullum N, Dumville JC, Westby MJ, Deshpande S, Walker N. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD005083. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005083.pub4

Hormone therapy for preventing cardiovascular disease in both healthy post-menopausal women and post-menopausal women with pre-existing cardiovascular disease

Manual vs. Electric toothbrushes | Manual toothbrush| Electric toothbrush Hormone therapy is used for controlling menopausal symptoms. It has also been used for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women. The present review assessed the effects of using hormone therapy for six months or more. Nineteen randomised controlled trials (involving 40,410 women) compared oral hormone therapy (oestrogen, with or without progestogen) with placebo. Most participants were from the Unites States (US), and the mean age in most studies was over 60 years. The length of time women were on treatment varied across the trials from 7 months to 10.1 years. The studies were generally well conducted with overall low risk of bias.

Overall, results showed no evidence that hormone therapy provides any protective effects against death from any cause, death specifically from cardiovascular disease, non-fatal heart attack or angina, either in healthy women or women with pre-existing heart disease. Rather, in post-menopausal women hormone therapy increased the risk of stroke and obstruction of a vein by a blood clot (venous thromboembolism).

We are confident that the results of are review are close to the true effects for most of the outcomes we looked at. The studies were large, well-designed and the results were generally consistent across the studies.

Citation: Boardman HMP, Hartley L, Eisinga A, Main C, Roqué i Figuls M, Bonfill Cosp X, Gabriel Sanchez R, Knight B. Hormone therapy for preventing cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD002229. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002229.pub4

Healthcare interventions for consumers/public
The Cochrane Collaboration, is a not for profit organisation which produces systematic reviews on the effects of healthcare interventions. These reviews are published in an online database, The Cochrane Library monthly.

What is a systematic review?
A systematic review asks a specific research question about a particular healthcare intervention in a clearly defined group of people with a health condition or problem. These reviews summarise the results of healthcare studies and provides the evidence on the effectiveness of the interventions. Systematic reviews are complex and depend on what clinical trials have been conducted, the quality of the trials and the health outcomes that were measured. The review authors combine the numerical data about the effects of the treatment and the authors assess the benefits and harms for the specific treatment.1

For more information about what consumers can and cannot get from systematic reviews, please visit the Cochrane Consumer website.

The South African Cochrane Centre which is part of the Cochrane Collaboration, will publish consumer summaries monthly as listed below. Should you require information for a specific health condition please go to and search for the information you require or alternatively contact


1. Cochrane Consumer Network ( Accessed 17 August 2012

For more information, contact the South African Cochrane Centre on (021) 938 0834 or email
Contact the Webmaster
Last updated:
13 August, 2015
 Developed by Corporate & Marketing Communications, South African Medical Research Council
   Intranet login