Honey’s Health Benefits
Yes. Honey has been used for thousands of years because of its natural antibiotic properties, often being applied to wounds to help prevent the spread of infection. Aristotle even wrote that honey is “good as a salve for sore eyes and wounds”.
A 2004 study from Australia found that honey to be effective against bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella enterica and Staphylococcus aureus (including the antibiotic resistant strain MRSA).
The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of the common disinfectant hydrogen peroxide. Another Australian study from 2011 found that there was exceptional hydrogen peroxide activity in honey derived from Eucalyptus trees. These trees are native to Australia but are an important commercial species in South Africa. Peel’s Saligna Honey is made from the pollen of Eucalyptus saligna trees grown in Zululand and the Natal Midlands.
That being said Peel’s does not support the replacement of traditional antibiotics with honey, but rather supports its use as a form of complementary medicine.
Yes. Honey has been found particularly effective at suppressing coughing in children. In 2007 researchers from Pennsylvania State University studied 105 children that had a dry cough due to an upper respiratory tract infection, comparing the effectiveness of honey and dextromethorphan hydrobromide (eg. Benylin Dry Cough) in suppressing night time coughs. The results show that parents rated honey most favourably for symptomatic relief of their child’s nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty.
A 2010 study of 139 children from Iran found that receiving a teaspoon of honey before sleep has a more alleviating effect on upper respiratory tract infection induced cough than both dextromethorphan hydrobromide (eg. Vicks Medinite), and diphenhydramine (eg. Dilinct).
Note that because of the chances of honey containing naturally occurring Clostridium botulinum spores (botulism), infants less than 1 year of age who have not yet developed an immunity should never be given honey, and it should not replace medicine or your doctor‘s advice.
Yes. Honey is naturally high in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants which help protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals.
An American study from 2002 identified several flavonoids and phenolic acids that act as powerful antioxidants, which according to another study conducted at the University of California in 2003 found that honey with high levels of antioxidants can provide protection to healthy human subjects and recommended the substitution of honey in for other sweeteners in order to boost your antioxidant defence system.
There is also evidence from a 2010 Malaysian study that honey may be linked to a reduction in risk factors associated with heart disease, strokes and certain types of cancer. In particular the flavonoid quercetin was found contribute to modest reductions in blood pressure in both rats and humans.
Interestingly enough darker honey, such as Peel’s African Bush Honey, has been found to contain more of the bioactive plant compounds which contribute to antioxidant activity.
There is certainly enough evidence to suggest that replacing your usual sweetener with honey would result in some health benefits, however please consult your doctor if you do believe that you are at risk of heart conditions.
Maybe. Honey is certainly a healthier alternative to sugar however diabetics should still be cautious when consuming honey as it can raise blood sugar levels, just not as high as refined sugar would.
A 2009 study in Iran and a 2013 study in Egypt found that honey can help reduce many of the risk factors associated with heart diseases common in type 2 diabetics by raising the levels of good HDL cholesterol and lowering the levels of bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and reducing inflammation.
A 2014 study from Malaysia also found that honey was a potential therapeutic agent for managing diabetic wounds, in particular foot ulceration and infections.
Adulteration is perhaps one of the biggest problems when it comes to recommending honey to people living with diabetes, as certain brands of honey may be cut with syrup or other low cost sweeteners. Although in most countries honey adulteration is illegal, it remains a huge problem plaguing the industry. Peel’s only sells 100% pure South African honey and we regularly have our honey verified by independent laboratories in Europe.
No. Honey is totally ineffective against viruses such as the common flu or COVID-19 (coronavirus), however honey has numerous medicinal properties that can help treat the symptoms and associated secondary infections. Not only can honey help ease coughing, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe sore throats. Its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties help prevent secondary bacterial and fungal infections from forming.
The best measures for preventing the spread of coronavirus is practising good hygiene and social distancing. For more information on the current COVID19 outbreak contact the National Institute for Communicable Disease’s toll-free number on 0800 029 999, and if you suspect that you may be infected begin practising self-isolation and contact your healthcare provider.