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Honey as Medicine: How Traditional Healing Practices Are Backed by Science

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Honey has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, with references to its healing properties dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Traditional healing practices around the world have long recognized the antibacterial benefits of honey, using it to treat wounds, infections, and other ailments. In recent years, modern scientific research has begun to catch up with these age-old practices, revealing the specific mechanisms by which honey can be used to fight bacteria and promote healing. In this post, we'll explore the fascinating history of honey as a medicine and the cutting-edge science that is bringing this ancient remedy into the modern age.


Honey as a traditional medicine

Honey has been referenced in ancient texts for its medicinal purposes from around the world for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, honey was used to treat wounds and infections and was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus, a medical text dating back to 1550 BC. Similarly, ancient Greek physicians like Hippocrates and Aristotle recognized the healing properties of honey and used it to treat a variety of ailments.

Throughout history, honey has been used as a medicine in many other cultures as well. In traditional Chinese medicine, for example, honey has been used to promote digestive health and treat respiratory ailments. In Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian system of healing, honey has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, from coughs and colds to skin disorders and ulcers.


Despite its long history as a medicinal agent, honey has largely fallen out of favor in modern medicine in favor of synthetic drugs and antibiotics. However, there is growing scientific evidence supporting the use of honey as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions.

Honey's antibacterial benefits

While honey has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, it's only in recent years that modern scientific research has begun to catch up with traditional knowledge. Researchers have discovered that honey contains a variety of compounds that give it antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, making it an effective natural remedy for a wide range of conditions.

The antibacterial activity of honey is due to its high sugar content, low pH, and the presence of hydrogen peroxide and other phytochemicals. These properties make it difficult for bacteria to grow and survive in honey.


One of the key compounds found in honey is hydrogen peroxide. This compound is produced by an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase, which breaks down glucose to produce hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant that can kill bacteria and other microbes on contact, making it an effective agent for treating wounds and infections.

Methylglyoxal (MGO), another effective compound found in honey, is formed when the compound dihydroxyacetone (DHA) reacts with other compounds in honey. In addition to these compounds, honey also contains other antibacterial substances like bee defensin-1, which is produced by bees and has been shown to have potent antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria.

Researchers have also found that honey can help to prevent the formation of biofilms, which are communities of bacteria that attach to surfaces and can cause chronic infections. Honey disrupts the formation of these biofilms, making it more difficult for bacteria to colonize and cause infection.

Recent scientific studies have confirmed the antibacterial properties of honey and its effectiveness in treating a variety of conditions. For example, a study published in the Journal of Wound Care found that honey was more effective than traditional wound dressings in promoting healing and reducing infection in patients with chronic wounds.

Overall, modern scientific research on honey's antibacterial benefits confirms what traditional healers have known for thousands of years: honey is a powerful natural remedy with the potential to treat a wide range of conditions.


Honey's Role in Wound Healing

Honey contains a variety of compounds that can help to promote wound healing. One of the key compounds is hydrogen peroxide, which is released when honey comes into contact with moisture. Hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties that can help to kill harmful bacteria and prevent infection in wounds.


In addition to hydrogen peroxide, honey contains a variety of other antibacterial compounds, including flavonoids and phenolic acids. These compounds can help to inhibit the growth of bacteria and promote healing in wounds.


Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in wounds. This can be particularly important in the early stages of wound healing when inflammation can delay the healing process.

In summary, honey can be an effective natural remedy for promoting wound healing and preventing infection. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable addition to a wound care regimen. If you are considering using honey for wound healing, be sure to choose a high-quality product and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your particular situation.


Uh Huh Honey’s Bee Balm combines the healing properties of honey with hemp-derived cannabinoids, Vitamin E Tocopherol and a mix of Natural Oils and Herbs into a topical balm that is great for inflammation or certain skin conditions.

Honey's Impact on Digestive Health

Honey has been used for centuries to treat a variety of digestive ailments, including diarrhea, constipation, and stomach ulcers. In recent years, scientific research has begun to explore the potential health benefits of honey for digestive health.

One of the key ways in which honey can benefit digestive health is through its prebiotic properties. Prebiotics are types of fiber that serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in our gut. When we consume prebiotics, they pass through the digestive system largely undigested but provide a source of nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in the colon. This can help to improve the balance of bacteria in the gut and promote digestive health.

Honey also has antibacterial properties, which can help to prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the gut. This can be particularly beneficial for people who are prone to bacterial infections in the digestive system.

Research has also shown that honey can be effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders such as acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Honey has been shown to help reduce inflammation in the esophagus, which can be a contributing factor to these conditions. Additionally, honey can help to reduce the production of stomach acid, which can alleviate symptoms such as heartburn.

However, it is important to note that not all types of honey are equally beneficial for digestive health. Raw honey, which has not been heated or processed, contains higher levels of enzymes and nutrients that can be beneficial for digestive health. On the other hand, processed honey may have reduced levels of these beneficial compounds.

It is also important to consume honey in moderation, as it is high in sugar and calories. Excessive consumption of honey can lead to weight gain and other health problems. One effective way to get the benefits to your digestive health, without consuming an excessive amount of honey is to microdose. Uh Huh Honey is a raw hemp honey that is available in Microdose Pumps for easy daily micro-dosing benefits of both honey and hemp-derived cannabinoids.


Honey is a healer

In summary, honey has been used in traditional healing practices to treat a wide range of ailments, from wound healing to digestive disorders for centuries. While these practices have been passed down from generation to generation, it is only in recent years that scientists have been able to understand the specific properties of honey that make it so effective as a natural medicine.

Today, there is a growing body of scientific research that supports many of the traditional uses of honey. Studies have confirmed that honey has antibacterial properties that can help to prevent and treat infections and that it is effective in promoting wound healing and reducing inflammation. Additionally, honey has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of other conditions, including digestive disorders and respiratory infections.

While the scientific research on honey is still ongoing, the evidence that has been gathered so far suggests that many of the traditional uses of honey are indeed backed by science. This means that people can continue to use honey as a natural remedy with confidence, knowing that its effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific research.

However, it is important to note that not all types of honey are created equal. The quality and purity of honey can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the type of nectar the bees have fed on and the processing methods used by the manufacturer.

In conclusion, the traditional healing practices of honey are backed by science, and the evidence suggests that honey is a valuable and effective natural medicine. Whether you are using honey to treat a wound or to soothe a sore throat, be sure to choose a high-quality product and consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your particular situation.


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