Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

“Coffee plus Honey” versus “topical steroid” in the treatment of Chemotherapy-induced Oral Mucositis: a randomised controlled trial

Mohammad Ali Raeessi1, Neda Raeessi2*, Yunes Panahi2, Homa Gharaie3, Seyyed Masoud Davoudi4, Alireza Saadat5, Ali Akbar Karimi Zarchi6, Fereshteh Raeessi7, Seyyed Mostafa Ahmadi8 and Hamidreza Jalalian5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otolaryngology, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Chemical Injuries Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Natural Medicines Office in Deputy of Food and Drug, Ministry of Health and Medical Educations, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Dermatology, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Hematology and Oncology, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatics, Faculty of Health, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

7 Research Branch, Islamic Azad University of Pharmaceutical Science, Tehran, Iran

8 Research Center of Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:293  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-293

Published: 8 August 2014



Oral mucositis is one of the common complications of cancer chemotherapy and about 40% of the patients who take chemotherapy protocols, experience this irritating problem. The purpose of this study was to draw comparison between the therapeutic effects of our treatment modalities (topical steroid, honey, honey plus coffee) in patients suffering from oral mucositis.


This was a double blinded randomised clinical trial of a total of 75 eligible adult participants which they randomly fell into three treatment groups. For all the participants a syrup-like solution was prepared. Each 600 grams of the product consisted of “20 eight-mg Betamethasone solution ampoules” in the Steroid (S) group, “300 grams of honey plus 20 grams of instant coffee” in the Honey plus Coffee (HC) group, and “300 grams of honey” for the Honey (H) group. The participants were told to sip 10 ml of the prescribed product, and then swallow it every three hours for one week. Severity of lesions was clinically evaluated before the treatment and also one week after the initiation of the intervention. This study adhered to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and guidelines of Good Clinical Practice.


This study showed that all three treatment regimens reduce the severity of lesions. The best reduction in severity was achieved in HC group. H group and S group took the second and third places. In other words, honey plus coffee regimen was the most effective modality for the treatment of oral mucositis.


Oral mucositis can be successfully treated by a combination of honey and coffee as an alternative medicine in a short time. Further investigations are warranted in this field.

Trial registration

Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials IRCT: 201104074737N3, (9 May 2011).

Oral mucositis; Cancer chemotherapy; Honey; Coffee; Topical steroid