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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Honey?

Honey has been appreciated as food since the dawn of history, and undoubtedly long before. Its medicinal use is also ancient. The Greek physician Hippocrates recommended topical application of honey for infected wounds and ulcers of the lips; Roman physicians used honey as an oral medication for constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, sore throat and coughs.

Honey consists largely of fructose and glucose, two related forms of sugar. Its sugar concentration is high enough to kill microorganisms in the same manner as the sugar in jams and jellies. This would appear to be the primary basis for honey's most studied use: as a topical application to treat or prevent infection.

In some controlled trials, honey has shown some promise for treating abcesses, 1 , diabetic foot ulcers, 2 venous leg ulcers, 3 minor abrasions , 4 and post-operative wound infections, 5 as well as for preventinginfections following surgery 6 and catheter infections in people undergoing hemodialysis. 7 In most of these studies, honey was not used alone but combined with standard treatments, such as oral or...

Safety Issues

As a widely consumed food, honey is believed to be quite safe. However, infants younger than 12 months should not consume honey, due to the risk of infant botulism.

Honey may contain slight amounts of pollen. However, it appears that allergy to honey is uncommon among pollen-allergic people. 8