The benefits of honey

Reports in Greece of honey’s curative properties go back two thousand years. Honey is mentioned in numerous classical medical, social and religious texts, and this ancient knowledge has been incorporated in modern-day life. Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC), the father of medicine, said that “honey and pollen produce heat, cure carbuncles, clean wounds, soften lip ulcers and treat colds,” while the Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that “white honey… is a healing ointment for dry eyes and wounds.”

Historically, honey has been used by people as a healing agent taken by mouth, as well as a topical cure, to treat a host of health problems, such as gastric discomfort, ulcers, wounds and burns. It was used widely in Ancient Greek and Egyptian medicine, Ayuverdic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, while in the Quran it is referred to as a medicine. 

In the Middle Ages, Christian and Muslim scholars describe the medicinal use of honey. In traditional yoga, drinking honey mixed with warm water was thought to help reinforce the circulatory system and is recommended as a daily practice. Yoga healers recommended the same recipe for those suffering from asthma.

The potential health benefits of honey have been investigated in clinical studies and through various scientific methods. Even though there is very little scientific evidence that honey can cure or prevent ailments, there are indications that honey helps as a poultice for treating mild burns. Moreover, experiments have shown that honey – together with certain other substances – can kill cancerous cells under laboratory conditions. However, there is still no proof that honey can contribute to curing cancer in people.

Attention: Honey should not be consumed by young children – from infancy to the age of 3 – because of the risk of botulism (an infection caused by eating unclean foods), since their immune system isn’t fully developed.