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Honey’s Role in Personal Wellness

Evidence continues to grow that honey may have the potential to be an anticancer agent. While scientists are still studying these important topics and continue to gather evidence of honey’s benefits, it is a topic that should be explored further.

Several scientists believe that honey interferes with multiple cell-signaling pathways and can help modulate the body’s immune system. This is done by acting as an anti-inflammatory and by blocking antimutagenic pathways.

This still leaves many questions, such as why white sugar is considered to have carcinogenic properties, while honey appears to contain more anti-carcinogen properties. We still don’t know why different floral honeys provide different benefits, or why some types of raw honey naturally contain more benefits than others.

While more research is needed, it’s quite obvious that we can all benefit from decreasing our consumption of granulated sugar and increasing our consumption of raw honey.

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Alleviating Chemotherapy Side Effects

There is evidence to suggest that honey used together with chemotherapy may be a promising and inexpensive way to prevent low white blood cell count caused by chemotherapy. While there is more evidence required, this promising new theory is one that has been documented in a variety of studies.

In one study (Abdulrhman, 2012), it was discovered that recovery time from serious mucositis was significantly reduced in the groups who were supplemented with honey.

Yet another study performed a meta-analysis of the efficacy of honey in the management of oral mucositis during radiotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer. Nine studies comprising 476 patients were included in the meta-analysis. The incidence of moderate to severe mucositis grade during the first 3 weeks of therapy were significantly lower in the honey group than the control group.

Additionally, the onset of mucositis was significantly later in the honey group than the control. Although there were no significant differences in the incidences of microbial colonization and pain experienced between the two groups, the incidence of weight loss was significantly lower in the honey group than control group.

Show Sources

  • Ahmed, S., & Othman, N. H. (2013). Honey as a Potential Natural Anticancer Agent: A Review of Its Mechanisms. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 829070.
  • Abdulrhman, Mamdouh; Nancy Samir El Barbary, Dina Ahmed Amin and Rania Saeid Ebrahim. "Honey and A Mixture of Honey, Beeswax and Olive oil-Propolis Extract in Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study". Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University. Ciaro, Egypt.  Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 29:285–292, 2012. Retrieved from here.
  • Cho, H. K., Jeong, Y. M., Lee, H. S., Lee, Y. J. and Hwang, S. H. (2015), Effects of honey on oral mucositis in patients with head and neck Cancer: A meta-analysis. The Laryngoscope, 125: 2085–2092.

While there is still much work to be done, most researchers agree that adding raw honey to your diet can be beneficial for preventing or treating a number of health issues. If you or a loved one is receiving chemotherapy, it’s worth investigating the plethora of studies that have been done and are currently in progress.