Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research

Pharmacognosy Res. Apr-Jun 2017;9(2):121-127. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.204647.


Honey is one of the most appreciated and valued natural products introduced to humankind since ancient times. Honey is used not only as a nutritional product but also in health described in traditional medicine and as an alternative treatment for clinical conditions ranging from wound healing to cancer treatment. The aim of this review is to emphasize the ability of honey and its multitude in medicinal aspects. Traditionally, honey is used in the treatment of eye diseases, bronchial asthma, throat infections, tuberculosis, thirst, hiccups, fatigue, dizziness, hepatitis, constipation, worm infestation, piles, eczema, healing of ulcers, and wounds and used as a nutritious supplement. The ingredients of honey have been reported to exert antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, and antimetastatic effects. Many evidences suggest the use of honey in the control and treatment of wounds, diabetes mellitus, cancer, asthma, and also cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal diseases. Honey has a potential therapeutic role in the treatment of disease by phytochemical, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Flavonoids and polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, are two main bioactive molecules present in honey. According to modern scientific literature, honey may be useful and has protective effects for the treatment of various disease conditions such as diabetes mellitus, respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, even it is useful in cancer treatment because many types of antioxidant are present in honey. In conclusion, honey could be considered as a natural therapeutic agent for various medicinal purposes. Sufficient evidence exists recommending the use of honey in the management of disease conditions. Based on these facts, the use of honey in clinical wards is highly recommended.

Summary: There are several evidence that suggesting the usage of honey in the management of disease. Therefore, honey in clinical wards is highly recommended. Abbreviations Used: WA: Water activity, RDI: Recommended daily intake, Si: Silicon, RB: Rubidium, V: Vanadium, Zr: Zirconium, Li: Lithium, Sr: Strontium, Pb: Lead, Cd: Cadmium, As: Arsenic, MIC: Minimum inhibitory concentration, PARP: Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, ROS: Reactive oxygen species, iNOS: Inducible nitric oxide synthase, NKcells: Natural killer cells, SCFA: Short-chain fatty acid, CRP: C-reactive protein.

Keywords: Antioxidant; flavonoids; honey; polyphenols; therapeutic agent; traditional.

Publication types

  • Review