Beri honey, Apis mellifera, Buckwheat Honey, Chestnut Honey, Clarified Honey, Honig, Jellybush Honey, Langnese Honey, Madhu, Manuka Honey, Medihoney, Mel, Miel, Miel Blanc, Miel Clarifié, Miel de Châtaignier, Miel de Manuka, Miel de Sarrasin, Miel Filtré, Purified Honey, Strained Honey, Tualang Honey.<br/><br/>
Overview InformationHoney is a substance produced by bees from the nectar of plants. It is commonly used as a sweetener in food. It may also be used as a medicine.
Honey can become contaminated with germs from plants, bees, and dust during production, collection, and processing. Fortunately, there are characteristics of honey that prevent these germs from remaining alive or reproducing. However, some bacteria that reproduce using spores, such as the type that causes botulism, can remain. This explains why botulism has been reported in infants given honey by mouth. To solve this problem, medical-grade honey (Medihoney, for example) is irradiated to inactivate the bacterial spores. Medical-grade honey is also standardized to have consistent germ-fighting activity. Some experts also suggest that medical-grade honey should be collected from hives that are free from germs and not treated with antibiotics, and that the nectar should be from plants that have not been treated with pesticides.
Honey is used for cough, diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, painful periods, asthma, and hay fever. It is also used for diarrhea, ulcers in the mouth caused by cancer treatment, and stomach ulcers caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria. Honey is also used as a source of energy during vigorous exercise or in people who are malnourished. It may also be used orally for wound healing and pain following the removal of tonsils.
Some people apply honey directly to the skin for acne, dry eyes, wound healing, burns, diabetic foot ulcers, gangrene, and many other uses.
Honey is used as a nasal spray for hay fever and sinus problems.
Honey is applied into the vagina to improve fertility.
In foods, honey is used as a sweetening agent.
In manufacturing, honey is used as a fragrance and a moisturizer in soaps and cosmetics.
Don't confuse honey with bee pollen, bee venom, and royal jelly.
How does it work?Some of the chemicals in honey may kill certain bacteria and fungus. When applied to the skin, honey may serve as a barrier to moisture and keep skin from sticking to dressings. Honey may also provide nutrients and other chemicals that speed wound healing.
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Burns. Applying honey preparations directly to burns seems to improve healing.
- Cough. Taking a small amount of honey at bedtime appears to reduce the number of coughing spells in children age 2 years and older. Honey appears to be at least as effective as the cough suppressantdextromethorphan in typical over-the-counter doses. Also, drinking water containing a small amount of a honey/coffee paste seems to reduce the frequency of coughing in adults that have a long-lasting cough after they have been ill.
- Diabetic foot ulcers. Most research shows that applying dressings containing honey to diabetic foot ulcers seems to reduce healing time and prevent the need for antibiotics. But not all research agrees.
- Dry eyes. Using specific honey eye drops or eye gel in the eyes (Optimel Manuka plus eye drops or Optimel Antibacterial Manuka Eye Gel) helps to make dry eyes feel better. These products can be used along with regular dry eye treatment such as lubricant drops and warm cloths on the eyes.
- A skin condition that causes redness on the face (rosacea). Research shows that applying a topical honey product to the skin might improve symptoms of rosacea.
- Mouth sores due to radiation or chemical treatment (mucositis). Rinsing the mouth and then slowly swallowing honey before and after radiation therapy sessions seems to reduce the risk of developing mouth sores. Also, applying honey to mouth sores or taking a honey/coffee paste seems to help heal mouth ulcers caused by chemotherapy.
- Wound healing. Applying honey preparations directly to wounds or using dressings containing honey seems to improve healing. Several small studies describe the use of honey or honey-soaked dressings for various types of wounds, including wounds after surgery, chronic leg ulcers, abscesses, burns, abrasions, cuts, and places where skin was taken for grafting. Honey seems to reduce odors and pus, help clean the wound, reduce infection, reduce pain, and decrease time to healing. In some reports, wounds healed with honey after other treatments failed to work.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Acne. Research shows that applying honey to the face does not help to treat acne.
- Sinus infections. Most research shows that using honey in a nasal spray does not help to reduce problems in people who have regular sinus infections.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Hay fever. It is not clear if honey can help with symptoms of hay fever. Some early research shows that taking one tablespoon of honey daily, in addition to standard treatment, doesn't improve allergy symptoms. However, other early research shows that taking honey, in addition to standard treatment, might slightly improve certain symptoms such as itching in the nose and sneezing.
- Athletic performance. Early research suggests that honey might improve blood levels following exercise and improve performance when given during exercise.
- Infections caused by catheters used for kidney dialysis. Early research suggests that applying manuka honey (Medihoney by Medihoney Pty Ltd) to the exit sites of certain types of implanted hemodialysis catheters prevents infections from developing as effectively as certain antibiotics or antiseptics. However, other research suggests applying Manuka honey (Medihoney Antibacterial Wound Gel by Comvita) at the exit site does not reduce the occurrence of these infections. In fact, it might increase the risk of infection in people with diabetes.
- Diabetes. Some early research shows that eating large doses of honey each day can decrease cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. But it also seems to increase HbA1c, a measure of average blood sugar levels. Other early research shows that ingesting smaller amounts of honey each day can decrease fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with type 1 diabetes.
- Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Early research shows that eating honey every day before starting a period helps to reduce pain once it starts.
- A type of gangrene around the genitals (Fournier's gangrene). Early research has shown unclear results about the effects of honey dressings, when used with antibiotics, as a treatment for this type of gangrene.
- Gingivitis. Early research suggests that chewing "leather" made from manuka honey slightly reduces plaque and gum bleeding compared to sugarless chewing gum in people with gingivitis.
- Hemorrhoids. Early research suggests that applying a spoonful of a mixture containing honey, olive oil, and beeswax reduces bleeding and itching caused by hemorrhoids.
- Cold sores (herpes simplex). Early research suggests that applying a dressing soaked with honey four times daily improves symptoms and healing time of cold sores but not genital herpes..
- High cholesterol. Some early research shows that taking 75 grams of honey per day for 14 days lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in women with high cholesterol. But other early research shows that taking 70 grams of honey per day for 30 days does not lower cholesterol levels in people with normal or high cholesterol levels.
- "Stomach flu". Some research shows that adding honey to a solution given to treat dehydration helps decrease vomiting and diarrhea, and can improve recovery in children and infants with stomach flu. However, another study shows that adding honey to a solution used to treat dehydration decreases diarrhea in only infants and children with stomach flu caused by bacteria but not those with stomach flu caused by a virus or other parasite.
- Infertility. Early research suggests that applying a combination of Egyptian bee honey and royal jelly in the vagina increases pregnancy rates for couples having difficulty getting pregnant due to male infertility.
- Skin infection caused by parasites (Leishmania lesions). Early research suggests that covering sores with honey-soaked dressings twice daily for 6 weeks in addition to medication injections results in slower healing than medications alone.
- Poor nutrition. Early research suggests that honey improves weight and other symptoms in infants and children with poor nutrition.
- Itching. Early research shows that applying a honey cream (Medihoney Barrier Cream by Derma Sciences Inc.) on the skin for 21 days can reduce itchy skin more than a zinc oxide ointment in people with skin irritation caused by rubbing.
- Skin damage caused by radiation therapy (radiation dermatitis). Applying honey gauze once daily to severe skin wounds caused by radiation therapy does not seem to improve healing.
- Breaking up thick mucus secretions.
- Digestive tract ulcers.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyHoney is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth or rinsed in the mouth, or when appropriately applied to the skin.
Honey is LIKELY UNSAFE when it is produced from the nectar of Rhododendrons and taken by mouth. This type of honey contains a toxin that may cause heart problems, low blood pressure, and chest pain.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Honey is LIKELY SAFE when taken in food amounts. The concern about botulism applies to infants and young children and not to adults or pregnant women. However, not enough is known about the safety of honey when used for medicinal purposes in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid medicinal amounts and topical applications.
Children: Honey is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in children one year of age and older. Honey is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in infants and very young children. Do not use raw honey in infants and young children under 12 months of age due to the chance of botulism poisoning. This is not a danger for older children or adults.
Diabetes: Using large amounts of honey might increase blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Also, applying honey at dialysis exit sites may increase the risk of infection in people with diabetes.
Pollen allergies: Avoid honey if you are allergic to pollen. Honey, which is made from pollen, may cause allergic reactions.
We currently have no information for HONEY Interactions.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For cough: 25 grams of a paste containing 20.8 grams of honey and 2.9 grams of coffee has been dissolved in 200 mL of warm water and drank every 8 hours.
- For burns: Honey is applied directly or in a dressing or gauze. The dressings are usually changed every 24-48 hours, but are sometimes left in place for up to 25 days. The wound should be inspected every 2 days. When used directly, 15 mL to 30 mL of honey has been applied every 12-48 hours, and covered with sterile gauze and bandages or a polyurethane dressing.
- For diabetic foot ulcers: Manuka honey (Medihoney Tulle Dressing) and beri honey have been used in dressings for as long as needed.
- For dry eyes: Eye drops (Optimel Manuka plus eye drops) or eye gel (Optimel Antibacterial Manuka Eye Gel) have been used twice daily for 8 weeks along with warm cloths on the eyes and lubricant eye drops.
- For sores in the mouth due to radiation or chemical treatment: Honey 20 mL has been rinsed around the mouth 15 minutes before radiation therapy, then 15 minutes and 6 hours after radiation or at bedtime, and then slowly swallowed or spit out. Honey has also been placed in the mouth in gauze and replaced daily. Also, a honey/coffee paste 10 mL or honey paste alone 10 mL, each containing 50% honey, has been rinsed around the mouth and swallowed every 3 hours.
- For a skin condition that causes redness on the face (rosacea): 90% medical-grade kanuka honey (Honevo) with glycerine has been applied to the skin twice daily for 8 weeks and washed off after 30-60 minutes.
- For wound healing: Honey is applied directly or in a dressing or gauze. The dressings are usually changed every 24-48 hours but are sometimes left in place for up to 25 days. The wound should be inspected every 2 days. When used directly, 15 mL to 30 mL of honey has been applied every 12-48 hours and covered with sterile gauze and bandages or a polyurethane dressing.
- For cough: 2.5-10 mL (0.5-2 teaspoons) of honey at bedtime.
- For sores in the mouth due to radiation or chemical treatment: Up to 15 grams of honey has been applied inside the mouth three times daily.
- For wound healings: Honey soaked gauze has been packed into wounds twice daily until healed.
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- Johnson, D. W., Clark, C., Isbel, N. M., Hawley, C. M., Beller, E., Cass, A., de, Zoysa J., McTaggart, S., Playford, G., Rosser, B., Thompson, C., and Snelling, P. The honeypot study protocol: a randomized controlled trial of exit-site application of medihoney antibacterial wound gel for the prevention of catheter-associated infections in peritoneal dialysis patients. Perit.Dial.Int 2009;29(3):303-309. View abstract.
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- Memon AR, Tahir SM Khushk IA Ali Memon G. Therapeutic effects of honey vs. silver sulfadiazine in the management of burn injuries. Journal of Liaquat University Medicine and Health Sciences 2005;4(3):100-104.
- Moghazy, A. M., Shams, M. E., Adly, O. A., Abbas, A. H., El-Badawy, M. A., Elsakka, D. M., Hassan, S. A., Abdelmohsen, W. S., Ali, O. S., and Mohamed, B. A. The clinical and cost effectiveness of bee honey dressing in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010;89(3):276-281. View abstract.
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- Othman, Z., Shafin, N., Zakaria, R., Hussain, N. H., and Mohammad, W. M. Improvement in immediate memory after 16 weeks of tualang honey (Agro Mas) supplement in healthy postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2011;18(11):1219-1224. View abstract.
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- Rudzka-Nowak, A., Luczywek, P., Gajos, M. J., and Piechota, M. Application of manuka honey and GENADYNE A4 negative pressure wound therapy system in a 55-year-old woman with extensive phlegmonous and necrotic lesions in the abdominal integuments and lumbar region after traumatic rupture of the colon. Med Sci Monit. 2010;16(11):CS138-CS142. View abstract.
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- Al Waili, N. Intrapulmonary administration of natural honey solution, hyperosmolar dextrose or hypoosmolar distill water to normal individuals and to patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus or hypertension: their effects on blood glucose level, plasma insulin and C-peptide, blood pressure and peaked expiratory flow rate. Eur.J.Med.Res. 7-31-2003;8(7):295-303. View abstract.
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- Al Waili, N. S. Effects of daily consumption of honey solution on hematological indices and blood levels of minerals and enzymes in normal individuals. J.Med.Food 2003;6(2):135-140. View abstract.
- Al Waili, N. S. Investigating the antimicrobial activity of natural honey and its effects on the pathogenic bacterial infections of surgical wounds and conjunctiva. J.Med.Food 2004;7(2):210-222. View abstract.
- Al Waili, N. S. Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of crude honey on chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Eur.J.Med.Res. 7-30-2001;6(7):306-308. View abstract.
- Al-Waili, N. S. An alternative treatment for pityriasis versicolor, tinea cruris, tinea corporis and tinea faciei with topical application of honey, olive oil and beeswax mixture: an open pilot study. Complement Ther Med 2004;12(1):45-47. View abstract.
- Al-Waili, N. S. Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis: partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complement Ther Med 2003;11(4):226-234. View abstract.
- Al-Waili, N. S., Salom, K., Butler, G., and Al Ghamdi, A. A. Honey and microbial infections: a review supporting the use of honey for microbial control. J Med Food 2011;14(10):1079-1096. View abstract.
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