Honey has been used for millennia as something of a cure-all. It has been used to treat wounds, infections, coughs and sore throats, and even digestive issues. While some people continue to believe in honey’s effectiveness based on long-term usage, others opt to wait for science to back up the claims. And science is doing just that!
Honey has long been used to treat wounds and burns, for the same reason it was used on the face as a beauty aid: it hydrates the skin and locks in moisture. Recently, some research reviewed by the Cochrane Library indicates that honey may be just as effective or even more effective at healing burns or infected post-surgical wounds than traditional treatment. They caution, however, that the studies were limited and the results are not definitive. That said, if you burn yourself in the kitchen, putting honey on it certainly won’t hurt.
More recently, a study has found that Manuka honey, which is a particular kind of honey from New Zealand, can help protect against the bacteria Clostridium difficile, which can overgrow during antibiotic treatment and cause issues ranging from diarrhea to colitis, which can be very serious. Other studies have also shown that Manuka honey can be effective against MRSA, a dangerous, antibiotic-resistant form of staph infection.
Some studies have also suggested that honey can ease the discomfort of acid reflux or GERD, and reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea while promoting potassium and water intake. While the research needs a lot more time and data to be conclusive, honey can be a good, safe first attempt at home treatment. Just remember that you should never give honey to children under 1 year old.