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HomeHealthHoney Impact: The Review of Recent Clinical Research

Honey Impact: The Review of Recent Clinical Research


Honey is among the most cherished and appreciated natural products that has been introduced to humanity from the beginning of time. Honey is not just used as a food supplement, but also for health benefits as described in traditional medicine, and also as an alternative treatment for ailments which range in healing wounds to treatment for cancer. The goal of this article is to highlight the benefits of honey and its many uses in its medicinal applications. Honey is traditionally employed in the treatment of eye conditions such as throat infections, bronchial asthma tuberculosis, thirst dizziness, fatigue, hiccups constipation, hepatitis piles, worm infestation and eczema. It also aids in healing wounds and ulcers. It is also utilized as a nutritional supplement. Honey’s ingredients have been proven to have antioxidant in addition to antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory cancer-fighting, antiproliferative and antimetastatic actions. Numerous studies suggest that honey is beneficial to treat and prevent the development of diabetes mellitus, wounds as well as asthma, cancer and also for neurological, cardiovascular as well as gastrointestinal illnesses. Honey may play a therapeutic value in treating disease due to its phytochemical, anti-inflammatory antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Polyphenols and flavonoids that serve as antioxidants, are the two principal bioactive molecules that are found in honey. According to the latest research honey is a valuable food and may have protective properties for the treatment of a variety of disease ailments like respiratory, diabetes mellitus cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. In fact, it may be useful in the treatment of cancer because a variety of kinds of antioxidants can be found in honey. In the end, honey can be considered natural therapeutic agent that can be used with a variety of medicinal uses. There is ample evidence to support the use of honey for the treatment of diseases. Based on this using honey in the wards of clinical patients is highly suggested.


There are numerous evidences suggest the use of honey for the treatment of diseases. So, using honey in wards for patients with chronic diseases is highly advised

Abbreviations used for: WA is Water Activity RDA: Recommended daily intake Si: Silicon Rubidium: RB, V Vanadium Zr: Zirconium, Li Lithium: Lithium, Sr: Strontium Pb: Lead as Cadmium, A Arsenic: Arsenic, MIC = Minimum inhibitory concentration PARPis Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase ROS: reactive oxygen species, INOS: Inducible Nitric Oxide synthase, NKcells are natural killer cells SCFA: Short-chain fat acid CRP: C-reactive Protein.


Honey is a naturally occurring product that is made from nectar from honeybees’ flowers ( Apis mellifera; Family: Apidae). Honey has been consumed by humans since antiquity around 5500 years in the past. The majority of the ancient people such as the Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, and Babylonians were consuming honey as a source of nutrition and because of its healing properties. Honey is the sole naturally produced product from insects, and it is rich in the benefits of cosmetic, nutritional industrial, and cosmetic benefits. Honey is considered to be an appropriate diet for balanced health and is equally appreciated by males and female of all different ages. Honey does not require refrigerating and it will not spoil, and it is also kept at room temperature, unopened in a dry area. Water activation (WA) for honey ranges within 0.56 to 0.62 and its pH is close to 3.9. Honey was used for its natural sweetness since the early times due to its an extremely high amount of fructose (honey is 25percent sweeter as tablets sugar). Additionally, the usage of honey in drinks is becoming increasingly widely used. In the present, information on the benefits of honey for the treatment of various illnesses of the human body is available in general publications, journals as well as natural products’ leaflets , and indicating a vast array of undiscovered functions. Research suggests that honey may have a variety of health-enhancing effects, like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory an antibacterial, antididiabetic and respiratory, gastrointestinal cardiovascular, and the nervous system’s protective effects. While many studies were conducted with honey in the past, just a handful are reported. This study that is a thorough overview of the literature and highlights the therapeutic benefits of honey for the treatment of ailments.


A literature research was conducted to locate recent research that demonstrated the efficacy of honey in curing of various diseases. Numerous databases on the internet were searched and included Web of Science, ScienceDirect and PubMed. Keywords like the following were utilized both in conjunction and to determine the inclusion criteria of articles to be included in our review. They are honey antioxidant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antidiabetic as well as apoptotic and respiratory digestive, as well as nervous system and cardiovascular. This review spans 42 years that spans between 1970 and 2014. Initial searches produced more than 200 results. The abstracts of these articles were examined to determine if they are applicable. After taking into consideration additional conditions for exclusion (non-English language, or manuscripts that are not available in full texts) There were 108 papers left.

Honey has medicinal history.

The evidence in Stone Age paintings shows treatment of diseases using bee products like honey, which was discovered around 8000 years ago. Scrolls, tablets, or books written on books of Sumerian Clay tablets (6200 BC), Egyptian papyri (1900-1250 BC), Veda (Hindu scripture) for 5000 years ago, the Holy Koran, Bible, and Hippocrates (460-357 BC) illustrated that honey was extensively used for medicinal purposes. Qur’an elucidated the power that honey could have therapeutic benefits. The Lord has inspired bees to create their hives in the hills or on trees and in the man’s homes, from inside their bodies is an aqueous liquid of various hues, that can be healing for all mankind In this, it is a sign to those who think. While many papers have been published on honey, they are focused on the biological analysis of the honey, foods and commercial use of nonfood. Honey is used to treat a range of diseases, including eye ailments as well as throat infections, asthma tuberculosis and thirst dizziness, fatigue, hiccups constipation, hepatitis piles, worms, the healing of ulcers, eczema and wounds in traditional medical treatments.

Nonnutritional and nutritional components of honey

Today, about 300 kinds of honey are known. These kinds of honey are connected to the various kinds of nectar collected by honeybees. Honey’s primary ingredient is carbohydrates , which contribute 95 to 97 percent to its weight in dry form. In addition, honey is a source of major components, including minerals, amino acids as well as organic acids . Pure honey also contains flavonoids, polyphenols, reduction compounds, glycosides, alkaloids such as cardiac glycosides, anthraquinone and volatile compounds. Monosaccharides (fructose and glucose) are the primary sugars in honey and can be responsible for the majority of the physical and nutritional impacts of honey. In addition to monosaccharides smaller amounts of disaccharides (sucrose galactose, galactose beta-trehalose, gentiobiose and laminaribiose) trisaccharides (melezitose 1, maltotriose panose, isomaltose glucose, erlose, isomaltotriose centose, theanderose and maltopentaose) and oligosaccharides are included in honey . A large portion of these sugars form as honey ripens and maturation periods. Gluconic acid is a byproduct from the process of oxidation of glucose is the primary organic acid present in honey. Additionally small quantities of formic, acetic and citric have been identified. These organic acids contribute to that acidic (pH between 3.2 and 4.5) characteristic of honey. Honey is also composed of essential amino acids, like the nine essential amino acids as well as all non-essential amino acids with the exception of glutamine and asparagine. Proline is the main amino acid in honey, and is followed by various amino acids. Enzymes (diastase invertases and diastases catalase, glucose oxidase as well as acid phosphatase) are the primary proteins in honey. The level of vitamin C in honey is quite low and not quite as high as the daily amount recommended by the FDA . All the water-soluble vitamins are present in honey as well, with Vitamin C is the largest and most common. Around 31 different minerals are found in honey, comprising all the major minerals, including sodium, phosphorus, calcium as well as sulfur, potassium and magnesium as well as chlorine . Numerous essential trace elements are found in honey, including silicon (Si) and rubidium (RB) vanadium (V) zirconium (Zr) as well as lithium (Li) as well strontium (Sr). However, certain heavy metals, such as lead (Pb) as well as Cadmium (Cd) along with arsenic (As) are found as contaminants. Recent studies have identified about 600 volatile compounds in honey which are responsible for its potential biomedical benefits. The honey’s volatile compounds tend to be low, but they comprise alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, hydrocarbons, acid esters, compounds derived from benzene such as pyran, Terpene, the derivatives thereof, as well as norisoprenoids and sulfur furan, sulfur, and other chemical compounds that are cyclic. Polyphenols and flavonoids, which serve in the form of antioxidants are the two major bioactive molecules found in honey. Recent research has revealed the presence of more than thirty polyphenols found in honey. The presence and concentrations of the polyphenols found in honey could differ based on the flower source and the climatic and geographic conditions. Some bioactive substances, like galangin, quercetin and the kaempferol, luteolin and isorhamnetin, can be found in all honey varieties, while hesperetin and naringenin are only found in certain varieties. In general, the top flavonoid and phenolic compounds found in honey are gallic acid, syringic acids, ellagic acids, the benzoic acid, and cinnamic acid caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, isorhamnetin and myricetin, ferulic acids chrysin, coumaric acids, apigeninand quercetin the kaempferol, the hesperetin and galangin and catechin. luteolin and the naringenin. The honey ingredients are believed to have antioxidant in addition to anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial as well as anti-proliferative, anticancer and antimetastatic properties.

Honey’s biological activities are a part of it.

Antioxidant activity

Oxidants, like oxygen are involved the prevention of damage. They are an antioxidant that is found in food and the human body. However, the antioxidants’ natural function in our bodies is been largely unexplored research has revealed an effect of honey from nature in a variety of the signs of aging. They also process high-reactive ingredients. These are derived from oxygen. Free radicals as well as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced when metabolism. These substances interact with proteins and lipids within cell membranesas well as enzymes aswell DNA. These harmful reactions can result in various illnesses. It is good to know that antioxidants can stop harmful free radicals earlier than they cause damage. Both nonenzymatic and enzymatic compounds are involved in the protection of antioxidants. Honey’s ability to provide antioxidant properties is correlated with the brightness of honey, so, the honey that is darker is more antioxidant-rich. It was discovered that compounds that are phenolic are the primary reason for the antioxidant power of honey, as the level of phenolic compounds is linked to the value of radical absorbance of honey. Other studies have shown that the antioxidant capacity is a result of the interaction of a variety of active substances found in honey. Honey has therefore the potential to act as a food antioxidant. According to research the use of honey as a stand-alone or in conjunction with traditional therapy could be an effective antioxidant in the treatment of diseases the oxidative stress that is commonly associated with. Based on the vast majority of these studies taken from experiments it is evident that there is a pressing necessity to investigate this effect of antioxidants in honey on the various human diseases.

antimicrobial action

The main factors for antimicrobial activity of honey are the enzymatic glucose oxidation reaction and some of its physical aspects, but the other factors that can show antimicrobial activity of honey include high osmotic pressure/low WA, low pH/acidic environment, low protein content, high carbon to nitrogen ratio, low redox potential due to the high level of reducing sugars, a viscosity that limits dissolved oxygen and other chemical agents/phytochemicals. Because of the properties of honey like low WA , water acidity as well as glucose oxidase and hydrogen peroxide. Honey does hinder growing yeast or bacteria. The peroxidase is not all origin of antibacterial level of honey, but many products with low antibacterial level were discovered in honey including terpenes, pinocembrin, benzyl alcohol, 3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (syringic acid), methyl-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxybenzoate (methyl syringate), 2-hydroxy-3-phenylpropionic acid, 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoic acid, and 1,4-dihydroxybenzene.

Numerous studies showed that the antibacterial property of honey is the smallest inhibitory concentration, so honey contains the minimum amount required for complete inhibition. Of all the varieties of honeyavailable, the manuka is the one with the highest nonperoxide-related activity. Studies have revealed it is possible that Escherichia bacteria as well as Staphylococcus aureus are significantly slowed with manuka. It has been demonstrated that honey’s antibacterial property is efficient against a variety of pathogens, including bacterial and fungi.

Apoptotic Activity

Cancer cells are characterised by insufficient apoptotic turnover as well as insufficiently controlled cellular growth. Chemicals used in chemotherapy for cancer are apoptosis stimulators. Honey triggers apoptosis for many types of cancer cells via the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane. Honey enhances caspase 3 activation along with activation of caspase 3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) removal within human colon cancer cell lines , which is due to its high phenolic content. It also promotes an apoptosis by modulating the expression of anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic cells within colon cancer. Honey stimulates an increase in the expression levels of p53 and caspase 3 and proapoptotic proteins Bax. It also reduces the expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl2. Honey creates ROS which trigger the activation of p53 . it is p53 that regulates the expression of anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic proteins, including Bcl-2 as well as Bax. The administration of honey orally enhances the expression of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and decreases the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein’s expression in tumor tissues from Wistar rodents. Manuka honey intravenously has an apoptotic effect upon cancer cell lines by the activation of the caspase 9, which then triggers the caspase-3 executor protein. Apoptosis is triggered by manuka honey, which is also responsible for an activation of PARP and DNA fragmentation, and the loss of Bcl-2’s expression. Honey’s anti-apoptotic properties can make it an ideal natural substance that can be used as an anti-cancer drug since many of the chemotherapeutics used today are apoptosis-inducing agents.

Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties

Chronic inflammation may hinder healing by causing tissue damage. According to current research honey can reduce inflammatory responses in animal models, cell culture and clinical tests. The phenolic content of honey is the reason for its anti-inflammatory effects. The flavonoids and phenolic compounds are responsible for the inhibition of the pro-inflammatory functions of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) or inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Honey and its constituents have been found to play a role in the regulation of various proteins, including iNOS ornithine descarboxylase tyrosine kinase and COX-2. Different kinds of honey have been identified to cause tumor necrosis factor alpha interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b) and the production of IL-6. Honey can increase lymphocytes of T and B as well as antibodies, eosinophils monocytes, neutrophils, and natural killer cells production during secondary and primary immune responses in the tissue culture.

It was discovered that slow absorption causes the production of short-chain-fatty acid (SCFA) fermenting agents. It is possible that honey consumption can trigger SCFA production. The immunomodulatory effects associated with SCFA have been demonstrated. So, honey could trigger the immune response via the fermentation of sugars. A sugar, nigerooligosaccharides, present in honey has been observed to have immunopotentiating effects. Honey’s non-sugar components are also involved in the process of immunomodulation.

The medicinal properties

Wound and honey

Honey is the earliest wound healing substance known to man, even though the modern chemical therapies have not been successful in this area. The research conducted by researchers has produced more papers that support its use for wound healing due to its bioactivity that includes antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. Honey triggers leukocytes to release the cytokines that initiates the cascades of tissue repair. Additionally, it activates the immunity to infections. The stimulation of the other components of the immune response honey is also documented (Proliferation of T- and B-lymphocytes as well as the activity of phagocytes). Honey stimulates the creation of antibodies. Numerous studies suggests the benefits of honey for the treatment and control of wounds that are acute and also for moderate to mild superficial and partial thick burns. While some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of honey for leg ulcers and wound treatment however, further research is required to verify the current findings.

Honey as well as diabetes

There is evidence to suggest the positive benefits of honey in the control of diabetic mellitus. These results highlight the potential therapeutic benefits of using honey and other powerful antioxidants as an addition to standard antidiabetic medicines to manage the effects for diabetes mellitus. Concerning the limitations associated with the use of antioxidants, other treatments aimed at reducing ROS production can be utilized as an addition to traditional diabetes treatment. One of these clinical studies for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus the use of honey was linked to significantly lower glycemic index compared those who used glucose or sucrose in type 1 diabetes as well as normal. Type 2 diabetes has levels that are similar to honey sugar, sucrose, and glucose. For diabetics honey may cause an increase in the blood glucose levels, compared to dextran. In hyperlipidemic and normal patients it can also lower homocysteine, blood-lipids, and C-reactive protein levels. But, a number of questions remain to be answered, especially in relation to the possibility of controlling diabetes mellitus through treatments which target both hyperglycemia and oxidative stress. Additionally, the therapeutic benefits of honey in managing of diabetes might not be limited to regulating glycemia but can be utilized to improve the metabolic complication diseases that are associated with it.

Honey , cancer and honey

Recent research suggests that honey can provide anticancer benefits through a variety of ways. Research has revealed that honey may have anticancer properties due to its interfering with a variety of signaling pathways for cells, such as activating apoptosis and antimutagenic, an anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative pathways. Honey alters the immune response. Honey has been proven to inhibit cell proliferation, trigger the death of cells, alter the cell cycle and induce mitochondrial membrane depolarization in various kinds of cancers, including the skin cancer cell (melanoma) and adenocarcinoma epithelial cells cervical cancer cells, endometrial cancer cells liver cancer cells prostate cancer cells and renal cell carcinoma bladder cancer cells human nonsmall-cell lung cancer and bones cancerous cells (osteosarcoma) and leukemia as well as oral cancerous cells (oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma). Additionally, honey may be able to block different types of tumors in the animal model, including cancerous breasts and melanoma, colon cancer, hepatic tumors, as well as bladder cancer. However, more research is required to increase our understanding of the positive effects of honey on cancer.

Honey as well as asthma

Honey is often utilized in traditional remedies to treat inflammation, cough and fever. Honey’s ability to reduce asthma-related symptoms as well as acting as a preventive measure to stop the development of asthma was proven. The chronic bronchitis and asthma were treated with eating honey orally in animal model. Additionally, a study by Kamaruzaman and colleagues. discovered that treatment with honey effectively slowed the development of airway inflammation caused by ovalbumin by reducing asthma-related histopathological modifications in the airway. Additionally, it reduced itching of asthma. Honey inhalation has also been proven to remove goblet cells that secrete mucus. But, further studies are required to study the effects of honey in order to better comprehend the mechanisms through which honey helps reduce asthma symptoms.

Honey, as well as cardiovascular illnesses

Honey contains antioxidants, like flavonoids, polyphenolics Vitamin C Monophenolics, as well as polyphenolics are thought to be associated with the risk of fewer cardiovascular problems. In coronary heart disease there are protective effects from flavonoids like antioxidants antithrombotic, anti-ischemic and vasorelaxant flavonoids decrease the risk of heart disease by three ways: (a) improving coronary vasodilatation (b) decreasing the capacity of blood platelets to make clots and (c) blocking low density lipoproteins from becoming oxidized. There is a wide variety of antioxidants such as caffeic acid, quercetin kaempferol, phenethyl esters, galangin, and acacetin are the most prevalent in different honey varieties. Numerous studies showed that specific honey polyphenols could have a positive medicinal function for reducing the risk of heart disease. Yet, in vitro and in the vivo research as well as clinical trials must be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of these compounds for medical use.

Honey, as well as neurologic disorders

There is a wealth of scientific research on the use of nutraceutical substances as new neuroprotective treatments and honey is among of the most promising antioxidants in nutraceuticals. Honey is anxiolytic and antidepressant as well as anticonvulsant and antinociceptive effects as well as reducing the level of oxidative damage in your central nervous system. A number of studies on honey suggest that honey polyphenols are neuroprotective and nootropic effects. The honey’s polyphenols neutralize biological ROS that cause neurotoxicity, aging and the deposition of pathologically misfolded proteins, such as amyloid beta. Polyphenol ingredients of honey counter oxidative stress through excitotoxins, including quinolinic acid and kainic acid, and neurotoxins, including 5-S-cysteinyl-dopamine and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Additionally, honey polyphenols’ components counteract direct apoptotic attacks via amyloid beta, methyl mercury-induced and the retinoid. Honey polyphenols, as well as raw honey, decrease the neuroinflammation caused by microglia that is caused by neurotoxins that are immunogenic or ischemia damages. The most important thing is that honey polyphenols fight neuroinflammation in the hippocampus, which is a brain structure involved in memory. Honey polyphenols help prevent the development of memory disorders and trigger memory production on a molecular level. Numerous studies suggest that changes in specific neural circuits contribute to the memory-enhancing and neuropharmacological benefits of honey. However, more research is needed to understand the full biological impact of honey for mitochondrial disorders, cell death necrosis, excitotoxicity, neuroinflammation, anxiolytic, antinociceptive and anticonvulsant the antidepressant effects should be studied more thoroughly.

Honey, as well as digestive disorders

Honey has been suggested to be an effective treatment for various disorders that affect the gastrointestinal tract like periodontal and other oral disorders, dyspepsia and also as a part of oral therapy for rehydration. In in vitro studies suggest that honey may have bactericidal effects against Helicobacter Pylorialthough an experimental study of manuka honey treatment to promote Helicobacter elimination failed to show an effective treatment. Honey may also be beneficial as a component treatment for oral rehydration and in a clinical study the results of honey’s therapeutic properties on infants and children admitted to hospitals suffering from gastroenteritis. They observed a remarkable reduction in the duration of diarrhea for the patients treated with honey.


A sufficient amount of evidence supports the honey’s use to treat health conditions. Evidence supporting the effectiveness of honey in all aspects in clinical care is required. Research has revealed that the therapeutic impact of honey could be due to it’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory antioxidant and apoptotic properties. This article should provide practitioners with evidence that supports the benefits of honey for medical purposes. While there are some studies that have evaluated the efficacy of honey for medical applications, more research studies are needed to explore the medicinal properties of honey in all its forms.


Rimpa Karmakar
Qualification- Diploma in pharmacy
currently pursuing Bachelor of Pharmacy from Dr. B.C.Roy College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Sciences, Durgapur, west bengal



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