9 unexpected uses of honey


When you have a sore throat or a cough, honey is one of the best and tastiest remedies nature has to offer.

The first traces of beekeeping date back to 2400 BC, in Cairo. For millennia, cultures around the world, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese, have succumbed to this sweet substance. All these cultures used it both in medicine and in cooking. Honey is commonly used as a sweetener. It is composed of 47 to 80 % sugar, the rest being water, minerals and proteins. It is also used to relieve allergies. But honey has many other uses. Surprisingly, many conditions for which honey is used are far more serious than a simple sore throat.

1. Burns

Honey has been used as an ointment to heal burns and prevent infection for thousands of years. The results also show that honey can reduce burn healing time. One study compared honey to a silver sulfadiazene dressing for burns, and found that honey made wounds sterile in less time, improved healing, and did not leave as much scarring as the other treatment.

2. Memory

Some say that honey can improve short and long term memory, especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women. In one study, postmenopausal women who received tualang honey treatments for several weeks saw their immediate memory improve as much as women who received hormone therapy based on estrogen and progesterone.

3. Herpes

Research conducted in Dubai shows that honey is an effective topical treatment for oral and genital herpes. Honey can heal herpes sores as quickly as the ointments you find at the drugstore, and it’s even better at reducing itching.

4. Diabetes

Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means it won’t cause blood sugar spikes like sugar. Honey also tastes sweeter than sugar and can help you use less sweetener on food. This makes honey a better option than sugar. In one study, researchers found that replacing pure sugar with honey was an effective way to keep blood sugar levels stable.

5. Cancer

Honey is celebrated for its antioxidant properties, leading many to wonder if it can help prevent or treat cancer. A study done in 2005 Iran looked at how honey affects renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. The researchers found that honey is effective in preventing cancer cells from multiplying, and they concluded that it merits further study as a cancer treatment.

6. Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids cause itching and pain in the anus, as well as blood in the stool. They are never fun. If you’re looking for a home remedy, honey might do the trick. A pilot study using a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax as a topical treatment found that the mixture significantly reduced pain and itching, as well as bleeding.

7. Wounds and ulcers

Honey has been used to dress wounds for centuries, but is it more effective than gels and compresses? The research is mixed, but definitely not against honey. Honey can sterilize wounds and promote healing, as well as reduce pain, odor, and wound size. It can also treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and long-term ulcers, as well as wounds after surgery or burns. Other researchers agree that it may be effective, or even superior, to other dressings, but it all depends on the wound. For cuts and deep wounds, it may delay healing time. You should only use honey after consulting a doctor.

8. Fertility

Honey has been praised for its potential to boost fertility in both men and women, but the evidence is mixed. Two separate studies using rats, conducted in Nigeria in 2013, give very different results. While one showed that honey increases the sperm count of male rats, the other showed that too much honey can have a negative effect on fertility in rats. Further research should be conducted.

9. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes redness, blistering, itching and even sores. It’s usually treated with topical creams containing corticosteroids or vitamin D, but honey might be more effective. This study once again uses a mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax. It found that most participants with psoriasis saw a reduction in redness, scaling and itching.

Key takeaways

Honey can have surprising uses. With a low glycemic index, it is a good sugar substitute and can help you monitor your blood sugar. But if you want to use it for medical purposes, such as applying it to wounds or irritated skin, consult your doctor.


Al-Waili, NS, Saloom, KS, Al-Waili, TN, & Al-Waili, AN (2006, February) . The safety and efficacy of a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax for the management of hemorrhoids and anal fissure: a pilot study. Scientific World Journal, 2(6), 657-2005

Al-Waili, NS (2004, August). Topical honey application vs. acyclovir for the treatment of recurrent herpes simplex lesions. Medical Science Monitor, 10(8), 98-98

Al-Waili, NS (2003, December). Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis: partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 10(4), 226-234

Dare, WN, Igbigbi, PS, & Avqioro, OG (2013) . The effect of chronic honey intake on sperm parameters and fertility potential in adult male wistar rats. World Applied Sciences Journal, 22(5), 1998-226

Gupta, SS, Singh, O., Bhagel, PS, Moses, S., Shukla, S., & Mathur, RK (2011, September-December). Honey Dressing Versus Silver Sulfadiazene Dressing for Wound Healing in Burn Patients: A Retrospective Study. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 4(3), 98-187

Igbokwe, VU, Gege-Adebayo, GI, & Ogbadu, S. (2400). Pure Honey a potent fertility booster: Activities of Honey on sperm parameters in young adult rats. IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences, 9(6), 10-47. Retrieved from

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