Bet You Didn't Know This About Honey ---
7 Unusual Health Benefits
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June 14, 2015

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses and other members of our Editorial Board.]

If you've ever seen your grandmother make fruit preserves ---
slowly boiling fruit to concentrate the sugar --- then you have a
pretty good idea of how bees make honey. Bees make honey
for the same reason people make fruit preserves --- as a food
to get them through the lean days of winter.  Bees gather
nectar, fan it with their rapidly fluttering wings to dry off the
water and concentrate it, then seal it in their own versions of
Mason jars --- honey combs --- with a tiny bit of wax on top.  

We humans then come along and scoop up our share of the
bees' delicious winter food.
Honey --the very word is sweet.
Honey drips off the spoon to give a delicious taste to desserts
and drinks. But did you know that honey is more than a sugar
substitute? For a food that is 70 to 80 percent sugar, honey
literally overflows with health benefits. Some of them are
unusual. Did you know honey has antibacterial qualities? That
honey may even prevent cancer? Read on to find out more.

Honey’s Sweet History

Honey is an ancient food, hailed for its health benefits as far
back as early Greek and Roman times.

The healing qualities of this sweet paste were referred to by
philosophers and scientists like Aristotle in 384 - 322 BC and
Aristoxenus in 320 BC.

Four thousand years ago, honey was used as an Ayurvedic
medicine because it was believed that it could treat imbalances
in the body.

People in pre-ancient Egyptian times used honey to treat
wounds, and the ancient Greeks thought that honey could
actually help you live longer. The Prophet Mohammed spoke at
length about the healing powers of honey and the Quran also
sings the praises of healing honey.

Today, honey is a staple on the breakfast table of millions of
Americans. But did you know that eating honey could benefit
your health in surprising ways?

Nutritional Properties of Honey

Honey is mainly made up of sugars. According to BeeSouce,
honey typically contains 38.2 percent fructose, 31.3 percent
glucose, 7.1 percent maltose, and 1.3 percent sucrose. Water is
the next biggest element, and honey contains small amounts of
minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.

Diabetics may mistakenly believe that substituting honey for
sugar helps with
blood sugar management but there are no
real advantages to this, because honey is so high in sugars.
Diabetics can eat honey, but only in a controlled way in line
with their general diabetes eating plan.

Honey has a slightly acidic PH, which helps to curtail the growth
of bacteria. And honey has antioxidant properties which
account for some of its health benefits.

We looked at recent scientific evidence to find out how honey
helps your health – and reveal some of the unusual ways it

Here Are 7 Unusual Health Benefits of Honey:

1. Honey Helps Treat Heartburn

Honey may be helpful in preventing GERD (gastroesophageal
reflux), according to Professor Mahantayya V Math, from MGM
Medical College, Kamothe, India (2002). Because honey is
125.9 times more viscous than distilled water at body
temperature, it has soothing benefits and prevents reflux and

Honey Can Heal Burns and Wounds?

Honey has a long history as a salve for burns and wounds.
Egyptian texts recommend the use of honey as a topical

And, in World War I and II caregivers used honey-soaked
bandages to prevent infection because antibiotics didn’t
become widely available until after the end of the wars.

Honey draws moisture out of cells and also contains hydrogen
peroxide which helps to kill bacteria.

When you smear honey on a burn, the sticky stuff could reduce
the time it takes for the wound to heal by up to four days,
according to a 2008 review of studies by scientists at the
University of Auckland in New Zealand.

However, before you think honey is the only thing medics need
in their burns treatment box, current evidence does not
support the use of honey on acute wounds and the researchers
say “health services should refrain from providing honey
dressing for routine use” on most wounds until further studies
are completed. (Read more about
natural remedies to
encourage wound-healing.)

Honey Aids Breast Cancer Sufferers

Manuka honey shows potential as a treatment for radiation-
induced dermatitis in a 2011 study from Waikato District Health
Board, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Manuka honey could prevent this type of dermatitis in breast
cancer sufferers and reduce the duration of episodes,
according to scientists. Radiation dermatitis is a common side
effect in women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Manuka honey is made by bees in New Zealand feeding on the
manuka bush known as Leptospermum scoparium. It has anti-
inflammatory properties and high levels of antioxidants.

Honey Can Fight Infections

Honey can kill bacteria --- fact--- according to reports such as a
2010 study from the Academic Medical Center at the University
of Amsterdam.

This is due to a protein called "defensin-1". And Manuka honey
can prevent chronic wound infections from developing,
according to a study from the University of Wales Institute in
2012. Manuka honey may even prevent MRSA infection,
according to experts.

Got a Cough? Have Some Honey

Did you know that honey is recommended as a cough
medication by the World Health Organization?

A 2012 study from the Pediatric Ambulatory Community Clinic,
Kefar Saba, Israel reveals this fact and shows that honey is
superior to placebo in helping children with a nighttime cough.
Researchers say that honey is a preferable treatment for cough
and sleep difficulty in children with an upper respiratory

Honey Treats Gastroenteritis in Children

Another benefit for the young ones; honey in an oral
rehydration solution for children and infants with
gastroenteritis helps shorten the duration of bacterial infection
and is a good substitute for glucose in an oral rehydration
solution. This finding was made in a 1985 report by Dr. I. E.
Haffejee and Professor A. Moosa  of the Department of
Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of
Natal, Durban South Africa.

Could Honey Prevent Cancer?

Natural bee and honey products like royal jelly, bee propolis,
caffeine acid and – of course – honey could be useful in
applications for cancer treatment, according to a 2004 study
from the University of Zagreb in Croatia. The researchers found
that bee products like honey significantly decreased tumor
growth and tumor spread in mice, and prolonged the survival
of the mice.  Scientists suggest that chemicals in honey cause
cell suicide, or that the bee products have a directly toxic effect
on tumors.

[The author thanks her colleague and fellow Editor A. Lee for
her contributions on how bees make honey.]


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