Honey contains a treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal values for centuries. The Bible itself quotes “Eat Thou Honey because it is Good.” Read this post to know the incredible things honey can do in our lives!
Introduction to Honey?
Honey is a sweet food made by bees taking nectar from flowers. There are different types of honey, but the most common kind comes from the genus Apis, which are honeybees. Honeybees convert the nectar to honey by a regurgitation process and evaporation [R].
We use honey a lot in the lectin avoidance cookbook, so it’s important to know the benefits
The Honey That I Recommend
This is the honey that I buy for myself. It’s cheap, it tastes good, and doesn’t cause inflammation (some honeys I tested do).
Beneficial Aspects of Honey
1) Honey as an Antimicrobial
In rats, infected skin wounds treated daily with honey for 7 days had a better outcome than saltwater treatments.
After 7 days, the bacteria culture showed that honey was effective in the management of infected skin wounds by significantly inhibiting bacterial growth and having a positive influence on wound repair [R1].
When the concentrations of honey were increased, the antibacterial effects against Staph bacteria and E.Coli were enhanced [R2].
Various kinds of honey show antimicrobial effects against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as multidrug-resistant strains [R10].
Melaleuca honey is capable of inhibiting MRSA [R11].
A literature review found that honey is a great antimicrobial because of its high viscosity that provides a barrier to prevent infections. The antimicrobial property comes from the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide [R31].
2) Honey and Wound Healing
Honey was more effective as a wound dressing than silver as measured by the number of days the wound needed to heal [R3].
In patients with diabetic foot ulcers, honey was able to reduce the rate of amputation.
172 patients with non-healing diabetic foot ulcers received a thick layer of honey on their wound. Wounds became healthy within 7-35 days. Of those 172 patients, only 3 had to get their big toe amputated and 2 had below the knee amputations. This study concluded that when using honey in chronic diabetic foot ulcers, the rate of amputation greatly decreases [R8].
Skin grafts are used to cover burn injuries and honey has been shown to increase the adherence of skin grafts to wound beds. In a clinical trial, 30 patients used honey as their graft and 30 used regular dressing or suturing.
The patients treated with honey reported a significantly reduced infection rate on day 5 and had reduced pain. They also had a shorter mean hospital stay. This study concluded that medical honey can be used for the fixation of a split thickness skin graft [R9].
In rats, honey (combined with milk and aloe vera) induced cell proliferation which increased the wound closure rate, blood vessel count and the collagen fiber density [R12].
3) Honey and Diabetes
In pancreatic hamster cells, pretreating the cells with gelam honey and quercetin reduced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. There was also an increase in the phosphorylated Akt, which showed the protective effects against insulin resistance and inflammation, contributing factors to type 2 diabetes.
In rats, honey increased HDL cholesterol and reduced high blood sugar, triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and cardiovascular risk index [R5].
In rats, honey produced a hypoglycemic effect and showed a positive change in beta cells [R7].
4) Honey as an Antioxidant
In healthy humans, buckwheat honey increased the plasma antioxidants and protected them from oxidative stress. The substitution of honey in some foods instead of sweeteners could result in an enhanced antioxidant defense system [R13].
5) Honey and Cardiovascular Effects
A traditional herbal medicine containing honey, Rehmannia glutinosa var. purpurae, Lycium chinense (goji), Aquillaria agallocha, Poria cocos, and Panax ginseng (KOK) has been used to improve blood circulation and showed a significant protective effect against thrombosis attack. The study concluded that KOK has remarkable antiplatelet and anti-thrombotic effects with a lower side effect of bleeding [R16].
Rats treated with honey had protective effects on heart attacks [R17].
6) Honey and Ulcers
In rats, manuka honey exhibited antiulcer effects [R18].
In patients with diabetic foot ulcers, a regular saline dressing was compared to the effect of Beri-honey-impregnated dressings. 136 wounds out of 179 were completely healed when used with honey compared to the 97 out of 169 that healed with saline dressings. The mean healing time for honey was 18 days compared to the 29 days for the saline dressings. The study concluded that honey is an effective dressing [R19].
7) Honey as an Antifungal
In women with vaginal candidiasis, honey is similar to clotrimazole cream and is even better at relieving some symptoms than the cream. It was concluded that honey (and yogurt) can be used as an herbal remedy for this treatment [R22].
Substituting sugars with honey in processed food can inhibit the harmful and genotoxic effects of mycotoxins, and improve the gut microflora. Honey increased colon bifido bacteria and lactobacilli counts the mice [R].
8) Honey as a Probiotic and Anti-toxin
Honey enhances the probiotic bacteria, which leads to beneficial effects such as detoxification. The study recommended using honey instead of sugar in processed foods to prevent fungi growth and other toxins [R26].
9) Use of Honey as a Cosmetic
In a review on honey, it was found that honey has use in rejuvenating the skin as well as slowing down the formation of wrinkles. It also helps make hair smooth and regulates the pH while also preventing pathogen infections [R27].
Another article cited honey to be used as a face wash and facial cleansing scrub for pimples and dry skin [R28].
10) Honey as an Anti-Inflammatory
11) Honey and Mucositis
Honey can help oral mucositis. A study was done on 28 patients in which 14 were given honey to rub on and the other half got water. Out of the patients who had honey, only 1 developed grade III oral mucositis compared to 9 patients with water treatment [R20].
In a systematic review, it was found that honey significantly benefited patients with mucositis [R21].
12) Honey and Otorhinolaryngology
For acute coughs for children, it was found that the use of honey is better than no treatment, diphenhydramine (benadryl) and placebo for relief. Honey is not better than dextromethorphan though and there is no strong evidence either for or against the use of honey to treat acute cough [R23].
Another study found that a teaspoon or two of honey can help suppress a cough [R24].
Honey can be used as an additional treatment for mucositis, childhood cough, persistent post-infectious cough and after tonsillectomy [R25].
Patients with allergic rhinitis received honey as well as loratadine as a treatment plan. Half the patients received a placebo instead of the honey. After 8 weeks it was determined that honey was effective in relieving allergic rhinitis symptoms. The study concluded that honey could be used as a complementary therapy for allergic rhinitis [R30].
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