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Honey therapy

In a nutshell

Honey has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions.

Potential clinical applications include wound, ulcer and burn healing, countering infections, as a cough medicine and improving metabolic control in diabetes.

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1. Cutting, KF. Honey and contemporary wound care: an overview. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2007 Nov;53(11):4954.
2. Molan, P. Honey as a topical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds. 2001. Worldwidewounds web site accessed 20 Feb 2009 at http:/
3. Schramm, DD. et al. Honey with high levels of antioxidants can provide protection to healthy human subjects. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Mar 12;51(6):1732–5.
4. Oddo, LP. et al. Composition and antioxidant activity of Trigona carbonaria honey from Australia. J Med Food. 2008 Dec;11(4):789–94.
5. van den Berg, AJ. et al. An in vitro examination of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of buckwheat honey. J Wound Care. 2008 Apr;17(4):172-4, 176–8.
6. Olaitan, PB. et al. Honey: a reservoir for microorganisms and an inhibitory agent for microbes. Afr Health Sci. 2007 Sep;7(3):159–65.
7. Koc, AN. et al. Antifungal Activity of Turkish Honey against Candida spp. and Trichosporon spp: an in vitro evaluation. Med Mycol. 2008 Dec 2:16.
8. Boukraâ, L. et al. Additive action of honey and starch against Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger. Rev Iberoam Micol. 2007 Dec 31;24(4):309–11.
9. Nilforoushzadeh, MA. et al. Effect of topical honey application along with intralesional injection of glucantime in the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Apr 27;7:13.
10. Banerjee, B. Topical honey application vs. acyclovir for the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex lesions. Med Sci Monit. 2006 Sep;12(9):LE18.
11. Asadi-Pooya, AA. et al. The antimycobacterial effect of honey: an in vitro study. Riv Biol. 2003 Sep-Dec;96(3):491–5.
12. Karayil, S. et al. Effect of honey on multidrug resistant organisms and its synergistic action with three common antibiotics. J Postgrad Med. 1998 Oct-Dec;44(4):93–6.
13. al Somal, N. et al. Susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to the antibacterial activity of manuka honey. J R Soc Med. 1994 Jan;87(1):912.
14. Simon, A. et al. Medical Honey for Wound Care Still the ‘Latest Resort’? Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Jan 7.
15. Tonks, AJ. et al. A 5.8-kDa component of manuka honey stimulates immune cells via TLR4. J Leukoc Biol. 2007 Nov;82(5):1147–55.
16. Jull, AB. et al. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD005083.
17. Moore, OA. et al. Systematic review of the use of honey as a wound dressing. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2001;1:2.
18. Molan, PC. The evidence supporting the use of honey as a wound dressing. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2006 Mar;5(1):4054.
19. Shukrimi, A. et al. A comparative study between honey and povidone iodine as dressing solution for Wagner type II diabetic foot ulcers. Med J Malaysia. 2008 Mar;63(1):44–6.
20. Eddy, JJ. et al. Practical considerations of using topical honey for neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers: a review. WMJ. 2008 Jul;107(4):187–90.
21. Gethin, G. et al. Bacteriological changes in sloughy venous leg ulcers treated with manuka honey or hydrogel: an RCT. J Wound Care. 2008 Jun;17(6):241-4, 246–7.
22. Yapucu, Günes. et al. Effectiveness of a honey dressing for healing pressure ulcers. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2007 Mar-Apr;34(2):184–90.
23. Bardy, J. et al. A systematic review of honey uses and its potential value within oncology care. J Clin Nurs. 2008 Oct;17(19):2604–23.
24. Motallebnejad, M. et al. The effect of topical application of pure honey on radiation-induced mucositis: a randomized clinical trial. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2008 Mar 1;9(3):40–7.
25. Biswal, BM. et al. Topical application of honey in the management of radiation mucositis: a preliminary study. Support Care Cancer. 2003 Apr;11(4):242–8.
26. English, HK. et al. The effects of manuka honey on plaque and gingivitis: a pilot study. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2004 Apr;6(2):63–7.
27. Ahmad, A. et al. Natural honey modulates physiological glycemic response compared to simulated honey and D-glucose. J Food Sci. 2008 Sep;73(7):H165–7.
28. Bahrami, M. et al. Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Oct 2:19.
29. Molan, PC. The potential of honey to promote oral wellness. Gen Dent. 2001 Nov-Dec;49(6):584–9.
30. Yaghoobi, N. et al. Natural honey and cardiovascular risk factors; effects on blood glucose, cholesterol, triacylglycerole, CRP, and body weight compared with sucrose. ScientificWorldJournal. 2008 Apr 20;8:463–9.
31. Agrawal, OP. et al. Subjects with impaired glucose tolerance exhibit a high degree of tolerance to honey. J Med Food. 2007 Sep;10(3):473–8.
32. Al-Waili, NS. Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. J Med Food. 2004 Spring;7(1):100–7.
33. Johnson, DW. et al. Randomized, controlled trial of topical exit-site application of honey (Medihoney) versus mupirocin for the prevention of catheter-associated infections in hemodialysis patients. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 May;16(5):1456–62.
34. Tushar, T. et al. Effect of honey on CYP3A4, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 enzyme activity in healthy human volunteers. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2007 Apr;100(4):269–72.
35. Al-Waili, NS. et al. Honey ameliorates influence of hemorrhage and food restriction on renal and hepatic functions, and hematological and biochemical variables. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2006 Aug-Sep;57(5–6):353–62.
36. Ozlugedik, S. et al. Can postoperative pains following tonsillectomy be relieved by honey? A prospective, randomized, placebo controlled preliminary study. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2006 Nov;70(11):1929–34.
37. Ayyildiz, A. et al. Intraurethral honey application for urethral injury: an experimental study. Int Urol Nephrol. 2007;39(3):815–21.
38. Haffejee, IE. et al. Honey in the treatment of infantile gastroenteritis. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985 Jun 22;290(6485):1866–7.
39. Kapil, U. et al. Maternal beliefs regarding diet during common childhood illnesses. Indian Pediatr. 1990 Jun;27(6):595–9.
40. Denno, DM. et al. Maternal knowledge, attitude and practices regarding childhood acute respiratory infections in Kumasi, Ghana. Ann Trop Paediatr. 1994;14(4):293301.
41. Tanzi, MG. et al. Association between honey consumption and infant botulism. Pharmacotherapy. 2002 Nov;22(11):1479–83.
42. Khan, FR. et al. Honey: nutritional and medicinal value. Int J Clin Pract. 2007 Oct;61(10):1705–7.
43. Karakaya, G. et al. Honey allergy in adult allergy practice. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 1999 Sep-Oct;27(5):271–2.
44. Kiistala, R. et al. Honey allergy is rare in patients sensitive to pollens. Allergy. 1995 Oct;50(10):844–7.
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Arbor Clinical Nutrition Updates
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  • EISSN: 1446-5450
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