Raw honey has been used therapeutically throughout history, going all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Rock paintings, carvings and sacred texts all demonstrate honey’s cultural, religious and medicinal importance.
With the advent of antibiotics and modern medicine, honey fell out of favour for a while, but these days its health benefits are being recognised again.
Known to be good for warding off colds and treating sore throats in traditional medicine, clinical studies also demonstrate honey provides relief from nighttime coughing and sleep difficulty in children suffering upper respiratory tract infections (1).
Check out the Honey and Ginger Cough Syrup recipe from Hello Lunch Lady for a natural cough syrup home-remedy. (2)
Anecdotally, local raw honey provides some relief for hay fever, taking a teaspoon-tablespoon of local raw honey daily is oft-mentioned as a home remedy for the seasonal-sneezes! Although there have been some small sample-size studies to support this, the scientific verdict is still out!
Honey is also great on bee-stings and minor burns, as it has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Numerous factors contribute to the good control of infection by honey. The high osmolarity of honey causes it to attract moisture from its surroundings. The honey literally sucks the guts out of bacteria and their spores, as well as drawing moisture out of the wound.
Raw honey also contains an enzyme, glucose oxidase, that is added by bees during the ripening process. As honey on a wound is diluted this enzyme starts to produce the antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide (3) But fresh raw honey is best, heating and long-term storage destroy this natural antibacterial property of honey.
New Zealand Manuka and Australian Jellybush honeys (and Jarrah – among others) are valued for their unique longer lasting antibacterial properties (4)
The use of Manuka honey to treat chronic infections in hospital settings for wound-care (often treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria with much success) is now becoming widely accepted with effective results.
Above all, honey is a delicious high-energy food, which we’ve used for centuries as the only completely unprocessed (especially from a Flow Hive!) sweetener – made with love by bees!
Now we aren’t claiming Flow Hive honey is necessarily better for you than honey you buy from your local beekeeper – rather, it’s sweeter knowing exactly the source of your honey, how your bees are treated, and that you harvested it yourself!
When giving honey to children, especially under 6, it’s important to take extra care and check with your doctor first as children may have undiagnosed allergies or reactions.
1. Paul, I. M., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M. L., Duda, L. & Cheston, M. B. Jr (2007). Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 161(12), 1140-1146.
2. Honey & Ginger Cough Syrup Lunch Lady
3. Bogdanov, S. (1997). Nature and Origin of the Antibacterial Substances in Honey. Lebensm.-Wiss. u.-Technol., 30, 748–753.
4. Willix, D., Molan, P. & Harfoot, C. (1992), A comparison of the sensitivity of wound‐infecting species of bacteria to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey and other honey. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 73, 388-394.
5. Visavadia, B. G., Honeysett, J. & Danford, M. H. (2008). Manuka honey dressing: An effective treatment for chronic wound infections. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 46(1), 55-56.
5. Gethin, G. T., Cowman, S. & Conroy, R. M. (2008), The impact of Manuka honey dressings on the surface pH of chronic wounds. International Wound Journal, 5: 185-194.