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Honey Health Benefits

There is no shortage of reported health benefits from honey.

These benefits date back to Cleopatra and the ancient Egyptians if not further.  Honey has been credited for solving problems ranging from sore throats to Jar of Honey with Biscuitsgastrointestinal distress to baldness.  Some honey benefit claims are more substantially supported with research than others. 
  • Honey Antioxidants - Honey contains antioxidants that may help delay the damage to cells or tissues in the body.  The amount and type of antioxidant properties varies for each type of honey. Some studies show that darker colored honeys contain more antioxidants than lighter colored honeys. 
  • Nighttime Cough Symptom Relief - A recent study by Penn State University indicates that honey can help relieve nighttime cough symptoms (related to a cold) for children better than over-the-counter cough medicines. (Please see Warning below about giving honey to infants.)
  • May Improve Calcium Absorption - According to Researchers at Purdue University, honey increased the amount of calcium that was absorbed in laboratory animals.  Why is this important?  Some estimates are that half of all Americans over the age of 50 will be at risk for bone fractures from osteoporosis or low bone mass by 2020.  A key combatant for minimizing the possibility of low bone mass is sufficient absorption of calcium. 
  • Honey as an Antimicrobial to Heal Wounds - Honey has long been used to cover wounds and believed to accelerate healing.  During the early part of the 20th century, researchers started documenting the wound healing properties of honey. However, during the 1940's antibiotics started to become more widely available and this reduced honey's use for this purpose. Recent concerns of antibiotic resistance and a growing trend to find “natural” remedies has highlighted a renewed interest in honey's potential wound healing properties. Several studies have been conducted on Honey's antimicrobial properties.
  • Treatment for Allergies - Perhaps the most publicized honey benefit outside of consumption as a food sweetener is in its use as a treatment for allergies.  Many people eat local honey to build immunity to pollen allergies.  With that said, honey can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Improves Athletic Performance - It has long been understood that the absorption of carbohydrates before, during and after weightlifting and other athletic performances is improved by the intake of carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates accelerate the recovery of muscles after stress.  Honey has 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon.
  • Potential Treatment for Oral Health - Honey prevents or slows the growth of many bacteria and fungi. These antimicrobial characteristics of honey may make it a helpful treatment for periodontal disease, gingivitis and mouth ulcers in some cases. Several studies have been conducted since 2001 in this topic area.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems - Honey has been used as an alternative treatment for gastrointestinal problems since ancient times; however, research documenting honey's effectiveness for this condition is minimal.  It is known that the gastrointestinal tract requires Bifidobacteria for proper health and function.  Researches from Michigan State University have shown that adding honey to dairy products such as yogurt can enhance the growth of these beneficial bacteria.

WARNING: According to, honey should not be given to infants under 12 months of age.  Infants are susceptible to the disease Infant Botulism which is caused by spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. For more information visit the National Honey Board's Infants and Honey or the University of Florida's Infant Botulism and Honey.

See how honey is used in cosmetics and other products at Other Honey Uses.

"The fruit of bees is desired by all, and is equally sweet to kings and beggars and it is not only pleasing but profitable and healthful; it sweetens their mouths, cures their wounds, and conveys remedies to inward ulcers." -- Saint Ambrose

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NOTE: None of this information should be considered as medical or nutritional advice from Please consult with your Doctor.

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