The medical use of honey is making a comeback. The Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, Egyptians, Byzantines, actually most peoples used honey for skin care and digestive purposes. This knowledge goes back least 5000 years ago. A Sumerian tablet of 3,000 BC recommends honey for skin ulcers. Honey butter was used as a topical dressing after Ayurvedic surgery in traditional India. And the most well known example of honey as a skin care product are the honey and milk baths of Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
After the invention of penicillin in the beginning of the 20th century the medicinal aspects and uses of honey became oblivious. The instigation of laboratory research on Manuka honey started in the 1980’s and its promising results has led to the revival of honey as a medicine. This rediscovery should be embraced because an increasing amount of types of bacteria is becoming resistant to antibiotics.
Hippocrates wrote: “Honey and pollen cause warmth, clean sores and ulcers, soften hard ulcers of lips, heal carbuncles and running sores.”
The Koran, Chapter XVI, entitled The Bee, states: “There proceedeth from their bellies a liquor of various colour, wherein is medicine for men.” (The “various colour” refers to the diversified colors of honeys.)
Interesting read on the history of honey (pdf)
Considering the extraordinary benefits some batches of manuka honey have displayed it should be emphasized that there is a distinction between honey as a medicine and as a dietary supplement. Most manuka honeys even though they have been tested for their antibacterial and other beneficial properties are technically just dietary supplements. The only manuka honey and products based on this honey, such as Medihoney dressings, are approved by the FDA and are indeed medical devices.
picture digestive system by LadyofHats | Wikimedia Commons
Stomach flu, gastroenteritis, gastro, gastric flu, tummy bug is inflammation of the digestive system involving both the stomach and the small intestine resulting in stomach pain and diarrhea. Although the name flu suggests otherwise this disease is unrelated to influenza.
In one clinical trial honey was used in place of glucose in a re-hydration fluid (solution of electrolytes) and given to infants and children hospitalized with gastroenteritis. The honey treatment showed a statistically significant reduction in the duration of diarrhea caused by bacterial infection (58 hours cf 93 hours). Haffejee and Moosa (1985)
source: Waikato Honey Unit
An ulcer in the digestive system (gastrointestinal tract) is called peptic ulcer. When the ulcer is located in the stomach it is called gastric (or stomach) ulcer. These ulcers can be very painful.
Gastric and peptic ulcers are thought to be caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Waikato University researchers have done trials showing manuka honey is effective in killing Helicobacter pylori. The studies also showed manuka honey to be more effective than other types of honey. A clinical trial on 45 people with upset stomach, indigestion (dyspepsia) were given 30 ml of honey before meals three times a day:
“After treatment with honey the number of patients passing blood (from peptic ulcers) in their feces had decreased from 37 to 4; the number of patients with dyspepsia had decreased from 41 to 8; the number of patients with gastritis or duodenitis seen on endoscopy had decreased from 24 to 15; the number of patients with a duodenal ulcer seen on endoscopy had decreased from 7 to 2.” Salem (1981)
source: Waikato Honey Unit
But, this does not mean manuka honey is a clinically proven cure for stomach ulcers. For more detailed information on the research done visit this post titled; does manuka honey cure stomach ulcers?
By eating the honey with a piece of bread or fruit you’ll guarantee it will reach the stomach. If you would just eat it of the teaspoon there is a chance it will dissolve quickly into the bloodstream. But this might be variable depending on the person. Some people report taking the honey of a spoon works for them. These are just directions to make best use of its soothing, antiseptic properties which are known to protect and heal damaged tissue. For stomach ulcer treatment eating more honey and bread is recommended.
How to Use Manuka honey on a Sore Throat
These directions can also be applied when treating mouth ulcers, gum disease, dental plaque and tonsil infection. Obviously in these treatments it is best to keep the honey as long as possible in the mouth. You can do this by taking a teaspoon en just nibble a little from it and keep it a while in your mouth before swallowing. Rinse and repeat.