It’s true what they say: What’s Old is New Again. Mankind’s earliest civilizations used natural honey as a medicine to help treat sickness and heal wounds. Now, modern scientists are discovering that the earliest doctors were right to use honey; new research shows that it is a healthy and effective alternative to some over-the-counter treatments and prescriptions. Follow along to learn of some of the benefits honey has to offer, such as treating colds, asthma, and even cancer!
Upper Respiratory Healing
It’s still very common today to use honey as a treatment for a sore throat or for one of many home remedies coupled with over-the-counter drugs or prescriptions to treat a cold. But, when a meta-analysis was conducted- analyzing 14 random clinical trials comparing the use of honey to treat anything from Upper Respiratory Tract Infections to common prescription medications, OTC medicine, and placebos- honey was the most effective at treating symptoms; especially cough frequency and severity.
This is one of many uses for honey in the field of medicine. Many studies have found that honey has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory purposes as well. Honey also has the added benefit of being cheap and widely available; plus, it has little to no side effects.
Honey vs. Antibiotics
This is exciting news for doctors and scientists. Not only is there the potential for better treatments for patients, but it also relieves some doctors’ concern regarding the over-prescription of antibiotics. Since antibiotics are so commonly prescribed for a variety of modern illnesses, diseases are developing an increased exposure to antibiotics, giving them the ability to adapt to treatment. Future diseases treated with antibiotics could become resistant to antibiotics; meaning less effective treatments for patients.
With new studies showing honey can be an effective treatment for common colds, doctors now have an opportunity to prescribe antibiotics less frequently, making antibiotics more effective against disease in the future.
Honey Beyond the Common Cold
With all of its amazing benefits, honey has the potential for use in medicines much stronger than OTC drugs. As mentioned before, honey has anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists found that when turned into a mist, honey can treat the “acute effects” of asthma, like an inhaler does. When sterilized with gamma irradiation, honey can be used to treat open wounds and partial-thickness burns, as it is able to activate antibacterial and antiviral properties.
In fact, research is being done to study honey’s ability to fight diseases as severe as cancer. Honey has the ability to fight cancer, as it can interfere with multi-cell signaling pathways. Additionally, this homeopathic remedy may be able to prevent cell proliferation in certain types of cancers such as cervical, endometrial, liver, colorectal, prostate, renal, bladder, lung, bone, and oral, as well as in cancer cells of melanoma, adenocarcinoma, and leukemia.
Similar to honey, vitamin C (in IV high-dosages) has antiviral properties. Research from the NIH shows that vitamin C helps with the production of interferons. Vitamin C also helps fight cancer by causing death of the cancer cell, just like honey, but vitamin C does so by causing the formation of hydrogen peroxide around cancer cells.
While honey will not entirely replace modern medicine, it remains a great alternative with a multitude of health benefits. Modern science envisions a great potential in the usage of honey in the current day. At the very least, it’s worth it to keep a jar around as an at-home remedy for the flu season. Subscribe to our newsletter for more articles like this one!