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The Incredible Benefits of Honey on Healing

Karen Alexander, Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

February 25, 2022

The Incredible Benefits of Honey on Healing

Honey is a concentrated natural product that is produced by honey bees and resourced from the nectar of flowers. The composition of honey includes 80% sugars, 17% water, and 3% other constituents including proteins (enzymes), amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and pigments, as well as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and carotenoids-like substances that are responsible for its health properties. Honey has many health benefits including wound healing properties, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits. Honey has been used by humans since ancient times. Honey contains over 200 compounds that exert various biological or pharmacological activities. See below for more in depth details regarding these benefits.

Wound healing
Honey can be used to treat surface wounds and burns, as well as redcue inflammation. It improves the healing process by reducing healing time and scarring. Due to its keys components of antimicrobial potential; polyphenolic compounds, hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal, and bee-defensin, it also prevents microbial contamination .

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Honey also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to its phenolic compounds (flavonoids and phenolic acids), and can potentially assist with improving health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders where chronic inflammation is key in the development and progression of the disease.

Antibacterial properties
Mono-floral honey (nectar of a single plant species) has a greater antibacterial effect than multi-floral honey. This ability is mainly due to its physical properties such as low water activity, high osmotic pressure, low pH, and low protein content which all prevent bacterial growth. In addition to these physical properties, the antimicrobial activity of honey is also due to the glucose oxidase, H2O2, and to phenolic compounds such as pinocembrin and syringic acid, among others.

Antiviral properties
Manuka honey has shown a higher antiviral activity compared to other types of honey, and exhibits synergistic effects with some antiviral drugs. According to a randomized controlled trial, Manuka honey does not significantly improve the severity of radiation-induced oral mucositis.

Gut microbial balance
The high content of oligosaccharides in honey acts as a substrate for the growth of friendly gut bacteria, especially Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.

7 Fun Facts About Honey Bees, according to NASA
1. Honey bees have been on Earth for 30 million years.
2. Honey bees have 5 eyes, 2 pairs of wings, 6 legs, and can fly about 20 mph.
3. Honey bees can beat their wings 200 times per second.
4. An average beehive holds around 50,000 bees.
5. The average forager makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
6. Foragers must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey.
7. Bees pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the US including fruit, fiber, nuts, and vegetable crops.

See below for a yummy recipe utilizing honey!

Honey Matcha Latte

Ingredients
2 fl. oz. – Honey Simple Syrup
2 tsp. – matcha tea powder
2 fl. oz. – hot water
16 fl. oz. – coconut milk
As needed – ice

Directions
Combine matcha tea powder and hot water in the bottom of a shaker and stir with a bar spoon until fully dissolved. Add the honey simple syrup and coconut milk. Top the shaker with ice. Close the shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Pour beverage into a pint glass and top with more ice if needed.
Enjoy cold, hot or frozen.

References:
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/11/11/5159
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6963415/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353773618_Role_of_Honey_in_Advanced_Wound_Care
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225430/pdf/molecules-23-02322.pdf
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258502854_A_randomized_placebo-controlled_trial_of_Manuka_honey_for_radiation-induced_oral_mucositis
https://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Basics.htm
https://med-fom-fpit.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2015/10/Honey-Paper.pdfhttps://honey.com/recipe/shaken-honey-matcha-latte

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