Honey has been used for centuries as a home remedy to soften a sore throat, reduce the symptoms of cold and flu, and to help heal scrapes and wounds. Scientific research helps backs up these uses, but more research is needed. Plus, honey is a great tasting ingredient to add to home remedy recipes. Look for local varieties in stores. Many types of honey exist based on the region and types of flowers pollinated. Manuka honey comes from Australia and has shown to have antimicrobial actions. Click here to read more manuka research.
Store sealed in a cool cupboard. Interestingly, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, honey has an indefinite shelf life. Click here to read more about the science of how honey can last forever.
Honey is not recommended for children under the age of one year; there is a risk of infant botulism. Further, raw honey that has not been pasteurized may include unsafe bacteria and toxins.
Honey Thyme Cough Syrup
2 cups of water
1 tsp of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
1 cup of raw honey
1 tsp of fresh thyme
In a powerful blender or food processor, combine the water and thyme. Pour into a sauce pan, add honey, and heat on low for thirty minutes. Store in a glass jar (once cool) in the refrigerator for up to two months. Adults take one teaspoon up to three times a day for up to one week as needed. Discontinue use if there are any concerns.
Honey Lavender Wound Salve
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of raw honey
1/4 cup of beeswax
20 drops of lavender essential oil
In a double boiler or on very low heat, combine the first three ingredients. Once melted, immediately remove from heat. Add the lavender essential oil, stir, and pour into glass jars. Once cool, seal with a lid. Use about 1 teaspoon as needed on wounds. Lasts about six months. For serious wounds, consult a Doctor. Discontinue use if any irritation occurs.
The listings of research below represents a compilation of scientific articles found on the species, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. Research found is catalogued by therapeutic action. This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use.
Honey for Wounds
In this study of 59 patients with ulcer wounds that would not heal, honey healed 58 of the 59 participants’ wounds very effectively. From: Efem, S. E. E. (1988). Clinical observations on the wound healing properties of honey. British journal of Surgery, 75(7), 679-681.
This article reviewed the research on honey in healing a variety of different types of wounds. From: Lusby, P. E., Coombes, A., & Wilkinson, J. M. (2002). Honey: a potent agent for wound healing?. Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing, 29(6), 295-300.
This article reviews evidence of honey in wound healing with its antimicrobial an anti-inflammatory activities. From: Yaghoobi, R., & Kazerouni, A. (2013). Evidence for clinical use of honey in wound healing as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant and anti-viral agent: A review. Jundishapur journal of natural pharmaceutical products, 8(3), 100.
Non-processed honey inhibited most microbes that cause a variety of wound infection. From: Efem, S. E. E., & Iwara, C. I. (1992). The antimicrobial spectrum of honey and its clinical significance. Infection, 20(4), 227-229.
This was a review of research on botanicals and natural extracts for wound repair. Significant research was found for propolis, Aloe vera, Achillea millefolium, Salvia officinalis, Malva sylvestris, andCasearia sylvestris. From: Medellin-Luna, M. F., Castaneda-Delgado, J. E., Martínez-Balderas, V. Y., & Cervantes-Villagrana, A. R. (2019). Medicinal plant extracts and their use as wound closure inducing agents. Journal of medicinal food, 22(5), 435-443.
In a study of 50 patients with wound ulcers, an herbal ointment was applied twice a day for 28 days. It contained Symphytum officinale, Plantago major, Calendula officinalis, Matricaria chamomilla, Bellis perennis, Achillea millefolium, Salvia officinalis, Hypericum perforatum, Olea europaea, Lavandula officinalis, Melaleuca alternifolia, Cympobogon martini, Origanum vulgare, Eugenia caryophyllata, Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol, Cera alba, honey, and glycerol. Results showed significant healing of wounds. From: Oreščanin, V. (2016). Treatment of pressure ulcers with Bioapifit® wound healing herbal ointment-a preliminary study. IJRDO: J Biol Sci, 2(10), 1-15.
Honey for Respiratory Complaints
In a study of 105 children ages 2-18 years with nighttime cough, parents rated honey favorably in reducing the cough associated with respiratory infections. From: Paul, I. M., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M. L., Duda, L., & Berlin, C. M. (2007). Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 161(12), 1140-1146.
In a double blind study of 300 children ages 1-5 years, the three different types of honey tested reduced nocturnal coughing. From: Cohen, H. A., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovitch, M., Uziel, Y., … & Efrat, H. (2012). Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics, 130(3), 465-471.
The antimicrobial activity of honey is reviewed. From: Molan, P. C. (1997). Honey as an antimicrobial agent. In Bee products (pp. 27-37). Springer, Boston, MA.
In a study of 138 overwise healthy children who came down with acute hepatitis A, daily intake of honey helped speed the recovery time. From: Abdulrahman, M. A., Shatla, R. H., & Mohamed, S. A. (2016). The effects of honey supplementation on Egyptian children with hepatitis A: A randomized double blinded placebo controlled pilot study. Journal of Apitherapy, 1(1), 23-28.
In a randomized controlled clinical study with 40 patients having moderate or severe periodontitis, an herbal mouthwash was assessed compared to a placebo. Both were taken twice a day for two minutes for 3 months. The herbal mouthwash contained Propolis resin extract, Plantago lanceolata, Salvia officinalis leaves extract, and 1.75% of essential oils (Salvia officinalis, Syzygium aromaticum buds, Mentha piperita leaves, Commiphora myrrha oleoresin and Pistacia lentiscus oleoresin). Results showed the herbal mouthwash reduced bleeding and plaque. From: Sparabombe, S., Monterubbianesi, R., Tosco, V., Orilisi, G., Hosein, A., Ferrante, L., … & Orsini, G. (2019). Efficacy of an all-natural polyherbal mouthwash in patients with periodontitis: a single-blind randomized controlled trial. Frontiers in physiology, 10, 632.
This article reviews plants used in oral health and includes pomegranate, German chamomile, green tea, Diospyros mespiliformis, Diospyros lycioides, Salvadora persica, honey and propolis from the manuka tree, rhubarb, raisins, essential oils (thyme, cajuput, manuka, and verbena), probiotics and mushrooms. From: Chinsembu, K. C. (2016). Plants and other natural products used in the management of oral infections and improvement of oral health. Acta Tropica, 154, 6-18.
Yusof, A., Ahmad, N. S., Hamid, A., & Khong, T. K. (2018). Effects of honey on exercise performance and health components: A systematic review. Science & Sports.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA, LMT, RYT
This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.