Honey comes from the nectar of flowers. It gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose, and glucose. Honey has incredible sweetness and the right chemical qualities to use in cooking. That’s why it’s widely consumed on a global scale. But honey’s not just a type of sweet food. The health benefits of honey and medicinal uses of honey date back thousands of years.
Traditional folk medicine has used honey for the treatment of burns and skin wounds. It was also used to treat stomach ailments and sore throats. Modern medicine has begun to use honey too. So, is honey good for you?
A tablespoon of honey has about 46 calories, and you don’t need much to sweeten your desserts. But, honey is still a sugar and should be consumed in small amounts as per the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
For thousands of years, people have recognized the medicinal qualities of honey. But is honey good for you? Studies have shown that honey has antibacterial qualities, inhibiting many different types of bacteria. That might explain why a hot cup of honey with lemon soothed our sore throats when we were children. Keeping in mind the therapeutic benefits of honey and its ability to inhibit bacteria, there’s become greater demand for honey to treat other conditions.
According to research, certain honey such as Manuka honey has had promising results in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant skin infections and the healing process. The research suggests that there are undeniable health benefits to the use of honey. In the community, we hear more about Manuka honey, but have you heard of propolis?
According to a recent article published on healthline, propolis is a resin, that is a greenish-brown substance that bees use as a coating to build their hives. While it isn’t honey as such, it’s still part of the process and is proving to have health benefits too. A recent review of research on propolis, mentions that propolis and its compounds have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity as well as regenerative properties.
With all of that said, it seems that certain types of honey, along with propolis could have a greater purpose than simply sweetening our muffins. It could also treat our wounds, help our skin, and soothe our sore throats.
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Australian Government, Department of Health. (2021) https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/
Goldman, R. The Benefits and Uses of Propolis. (2018) https://www.healthline.com/health/propolis-an-ancient-healer
Lusby PE, Coombes AL, Wilkinson JM. Bactericidal activity of different honeys against pathogenic bacteria. Arch Med Res. 2005 Sep-Oct;36(5):464-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.03.038. PMID: 16099322.
Mandal, M. D., & Mandal, S. (2011). Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine, 1(2), 154–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60016-6
Martinotti, S., Ranzato, E. Propolis: a new frontier for wound healing?. Burn Trauma 3, 9 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41038-015-0010-z
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