What are the medical benefits of honey?


Quick Answer

Some research suggests that honey may aid the healing process in wounds and ulcers, according to WebMD. Honey may also work well to suppress coughing and soothe throat inflammation related to the common cold.

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Full Answer

Documentation of the antimicrobial properties of honey has existed for many centuries, notes the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This substance is also helpful for treating exterior wounds because it keeps the healing tissue moist while providing a viscous protective barrier against contaminants. Some research indicates that the antibacterial properties of honey are due to enzymatic activity that produces hydrogen peroxide. Makuna honey, or non-peroxide honey, lacks this activity but also exhibits antibacterial properties, possibly due to a slightly acidic pH value and a high sugar concentration.

Medihoney, a type of ultraviolet-purified honey derived from Makuna honey, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2007 for topical treatment of wounds and skin ulcers. Pasteurizing the honey with ultraviolet light rather than heat preserves the antibacterial properties of the substance, while the low pH value helps to soothe the tissue of a healing wound, reports WebMD.

One study that compared honey to a pharmaceutical cough suppressant and an antihistamine found that the honey was most effective in suppressing nighttime cough and improving sleep in children, explains WebMD. Another study compared buckwheat honey to the cough suppressant dextromethorphan and found that honey was more effective at suppressing cough.

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