Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of honey: the involvement of autonomic receptors

Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Mar;29(1):167-73. doi: 10.1007/s11011-013-9458-3. Epub 2013 Dec 10.


The use of honey for therapeutic purposes is on the increase and many studies have shown that honey has the ability to influence biological systems including pain transmission. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of honey and the effects of concurrent administration of autonomic nervous system blocking drugs. Studies on analgesic activities was carried out using hotplate and formalin-induced paw licking models while the anti-inflammatory activity was by the carrageenan paw oedema method. Animals were distributed into six groups consisting of five animals each. They were administered saline, honey (600 mg/kg), indomethacin (5 mg/kg), autonomic blockers (3 μg/kg of tamsulosin, 20 mg/kg (intraperitoneally) of propranolol, 2 ml/kg of atropine or 10 mg/kg (intra muscularly) of hexamethonium) or honey (200 and 600 mg/kg) with one of the blockers. The results showed that honey reduced pain perception especially inflammatory pain and the administration of tamsulosin and propranolol spared the effect of honey. Hexamethonium also spared the effects of honey at the early and late phases of the test while atropine only inhibited the early phase of the test. However, atropine and hexamethonium spared the anti-inflammatory effects of honey but tamsulosin abolished the effects while propranolol only abolished the anti-inflammatory effects at the peak of the inflammation. The results suggest the involvement of autonomic receptors in the anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of honey although the level of involvement depends on the different types of the receptors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / pharmacology
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Atropine / therapeutic use
  • Autonomic Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Carrageenan / toxicity
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Cholinergic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hexamethonium / pharmacology
  • Hexamethonium / therapeutic use
  • Honey*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Pain Perception / drug effects
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use
  • Tamsulosin


  • Adrenergic Antagonists
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Sulfonamides
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hexamethonium
  • Atropine
  • Carrageenan
  • Propranolol
  • Tamsulosin
  • Indomethacin