The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. Mandal and Mandal, 2011.
Honey is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and touted to be one of nature’s best, all-round remedies. While some of these claims have tested out in the laboratory, there are still many questions regarding its real-world benefits. About the only two indications of honey that have demonstrated clinical efficacy is its use for wound dressing and, to a lesser extent, coughs.
Honey for Wound Healing
Fifty-nine patients with wounds and ulcers most of which (80 per cent) had failed to heal with conventional treatment were treated with unprocessed honey. Fifty-eight cases showed remarkable improvement following topical application of honey. – Effen, 1998.
There have been many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey products in wound healing. In laboratory studies, Manuka honey has been shown to provide antibacterial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi, including S. aureus, P. aeruginosa MRSA, and VRE. Sood et al., 2014.
Honey for Coughs
In a study by Cohen et al., 2012, children who received two teaspoons of honey, 30 minutes before bed, coughed less frequently during the night.
Manuka Honey Trumps All
Probably the most important factor to be aware of is that not all honey is made equal. Some honeys provide greater benefits than others. According to Professor Molan (Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato) honey made from the flowers of the manuka bush, a native of New Zealand, has antibacterial properties over and above those of other honeys (BBC News).
“In all honeys, there is – to different levels – hydrogen peroxide produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar. In manuka honey, and its close relative which grows in Australia called jellybush, there’s something else besides the hydrogen peroxide. And there’s nothing like that ever been found anywhere else in the world.” – Professor Molan
The extra something that Manuka honey contains has been designated UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). Not all manuka honey contains this special property, therefore it is important to look for the name UMF.
“Staphylococcus aureas is the most common wound-infecting species of bacteria, and that’s the most sensitive to honey that we’ve found. And that includes the antibiotic resistant strains – the MRSA – which is just as sensitive to honey as any other staphylococcus aureas.” – Professor Molan
We were in Chiangmai recently where we visited the Thepprasit Honey Shop and I noticed their literature on the health benefits of their honey (included below). I’m not exactly sure where they got their information from (I couldn’t verify the sources online) but I thought I’d record them down for future reference. We usually add honey as a natural sweetener for our smoothies, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out some Thai honey. If these benefits really are true, all the better for us.
Thepprasit Mature Honey
Collected from scaled honey comb, it is unprocessed and has not been modified for colour, moisture or taste. It has a fragrant taste from local flora in the Golden triangle mountains of Thailand.
- Benefits: Relieves sore throat, chronic cough, mouth or stomach ulcers, external ulcers, insomnia.
- Usage: Mix with warm or cool water to drink, take alone, or apply to affected area.
- Storage: 3 years in room temperature; no refrigeration required.
Multiflora Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is flower pollen that bees collect for food. Because bee pollen is the reproductive spore o the plant, it is incredibly dense with plant nutrients. The phytonutrients found in bee pollen include bioactive compounds like enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols, and carotenoids. Bee pollen also contains free amino acids, fatty acids with a good proportion of Omega 3’s, naturally chelated minerals, and whole vitamin complexes.
- Dietary balance – correct deficient or unbalance nutrition, vitamin supplement, enhance muscle and skin well being.
- Regulating intestine / constipation.
- Menstrual problem
- Prostate problems, reduce frequency of night time urination.
- Incretion disorder symptoms, e.g. hair loss
Usage: Take one tablespoonful (10 grams). Dissolve in hot or warm water, or mix with honey. For relief of sinus, inhale the steam before drinking.
- Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
- Should not be consumed by persons allergic to bee pollen.
Storage: Store in a dry and cool place; avoid sunlight.
Fresh Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is produced by Worker bees as food for the Queen bee. The royal jelly diet allows the Queen bee to live more than 30 times longer than a normal bee and lay up to 2000 eggs a day. Royal jelly is a highly concentrated healthy food substance containing vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, C, Biotin, Inositol and Folic Acid), minerals (Nickel, Chromium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, iron, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium, and many trace minerals), and 30 amino acids.
- Strengthen immunity, stamina, and well-being.
- Boost metabolism, recovery from illness, faster healing.
- Enhance growth and development of children.
- Promote fertility.
- Anti-aging – increases mental alertness, memory, enhances skin tone, relieves post-menopausal symptoms.
- Balances blood pressure and lowers cholesterol level.
- Diabetes: controls blood sugar levels.
- Adults – 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time.
- Children – 1/3 teaspoon at a time.
- Take one to two times daily.
- For Facial Mask: Apply on face and rinse off about 20 minutes later. It will help to moisturise and protect against wrinkles. Patch test for allergies before use.
- Royal jelly has a slightly sour, sweet, and spicy taste.
- Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
- Individuals with asthma or allergies should consult their doctor’s opinion before consumption.
- Freezer – 2 years
- Chiller – 2 months
- Polyfoam – 2 weeks.
- When mixed in 1:10 ratio of royal jelly to honey, it can be stored for about 1 year at room temperature.
Propolis is a resin collected from plants and trees. It is used by the colony to coat the area within the hive, creating a sterile environment. It contains tree resin, essential oils, waxes and bioflavanoids. The antioxidant properties of bioflavanoids help to maintain a healthy immune system and can be used for both consumption or external treatments.
Propolis has antibiotic properties which may be effective for:
- Ulcers, eczema skin fungus, acne.
- Stomach and intestine disorders.
- Fever, cold and throat infection.
- High cholesterol.
Storage: 3 years in cool and dry conditions.
Organic Snakeroot Honey
Thai Snakeroot is a tropical white herb grown in the mountains. It produces a light coloured honey that gradually becomes deeper in colour. It is used by the Thai people as a herbal honey for:
- gastric and smooth muscle contractions
- promote appetite and tone digestive organs
- promote arterial action, diaphoresis, and diuresis
Organic Mikania Honey
Mikania cordata (Thai: kee-gai-yang) is a wild herb that is found in the secondary jungles and wastelands of Thailand. It has a light amber colour and flavour. The Mikania plant is believed to have the following herbal benefits:
- antibacterial and antifungal properties
- good for nasopharyngeal infections
- used as an antidote to treat venomous stings and bites.