For most, when the symptoms of a cold set in the honey is taken out. Historically, honey has been used as a folk remedy in cultures around the world. It has been known as a "cure" for smallpox, baldness, eye diseases, and indigestion. It's even been used as a contraceptive. But is honey really a cure-all, or is it nothing more than hype?

Trials conducted at the Honey Research Unit of the University of Waikato, New Zealand have revealed important healing properties of the sweet condiment. The director of the center, Professor Peter Molan, has focused his investigations on a type of honey called manuka. Manuka is produced by bees that collect pollen from the manuka bush which grows wild in New Zealand.

According to Professor Molan, eating 3 teaspoons of manuka honey a day can help fight throat infections, reduce gum disease, as well as maintain good digestive health. He also found that, when eaten regularly, manuka aids memory and reduces feelings of anxiety.

In other studies around the world, honey has been shown to be extraordinarily effective in the treatment of wounds, burns, and surgical incisions. "When applied to a wound, honey provides a thick, protective barrier, which shields the wound from outside contaminants. Honey may also help disinfect the wound due to a chemical interaction between a specific enzyme in honey and damaged skin tissue that produces a form of hydrogen peroxide," says Dr. Lawrence Gibson, Mayo Clinic dermatologist.

Dr. Gibson says that it's important to note that the honey used in research studies has been treated to remove contaminants, and it's not clear at this time whether ordinary supermarket honey has the same wound-healing effect.

"Natural raw honey which has not been filtered or pasteurized is one of nature's natural medicines. Honey contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which makes it a powerful healing gift from nature," says Stella Gray, Spa Elder at the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a title she has earned from 40 plus years in the holistic/wellness field.

The (Reported) Healing Power of Honey



Improves sinusitus. A study from researchers at the University of Ottawa shows honey to be effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis can be caused by bacteria that colonize in the nose and sinuses. Researchers tested two honeys, manuka and sidr, and found them both to effective in killing the bacteria.

Counteracting colds. Dr. Mark Moyad, Director of Preventive Medicine at the University of Michigan and expert on nutrition and natural remedies, recommends "a tablespoon of dark honey with 500-1000 mg vitamin C to ward off a cold."

Reduces nighttime coughing. In a 2007 study, children ages 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime. The honey reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep.

Benefits for beauty. Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, hence it helps to prevent dry skin and dull, lifeless hair, making it an excellent choice to use topically in beauty treatments.

Speeds up healing of wounds. Honey has a number of beneficial properties which make it an excellent agent for wound healing. "It's high sugar content and low moisture content tends to draw water out of a wound making bacteria less able to grow.  In addition, an enzyme added to honey by the bee actually helps produce hydrogen peroxide (a natural antiseptic) when applied to a wound. It also is a natural anti-inflammatory and can prevent bandages from sticking to the wound," says Dr. Gregory Buford, plastic surgeon in Englewood, Colorado.


Colihan, K. Reviewed by Louise Chang, M.D. Humble Honey Kills Bacteria. WebMD Health News.

Gibson, L. E. Honey: Can it Heal Wounds? Mayo Clinic Q & A. February 29, 2008. Website:

Steckelber, J. M. Honey: An Effective Cough Remedy? Mayo Clinic Q & A. March 18, 2008. Website:

Walters, S. New Studies Reveal the Medicinal Benefits of Honey., May 7, 2009