Is Honey Good or Bad for You?

Medically Reviewed on 7/13/2022
Is Honey Good or Bad for You?
Honey is used as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent in addition to being a natural sweetener.

Honey has several benefits for industry, cosmetics, medicine, and nutrition. It is a naturally occurring product made by honeybees (Apis mellifera; Family: Apidae) from the nectar of flowers.

In terms of flavor, color, and odor, there are about 320 types of honey.

  • Humans have been consuming honey for approximately 5,500 years. 
  • Honey was consumed by most ancient populations, including the Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, and Babylonians, for both nutritional and therapeutic reasons.

12 potential health benefits of honey

Honey mostly consists of sugar, but it also contains a variety of vitamins, minerals (such as iron and zinc), amino acids, and antioxidants.

Honey is used as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent in addition to being a natural sweetener.

Here are a few potential health benefits of honey:

  1. Cardiovascular disease: Antioxidants present in honey may lower your risk of heart disease.
    • Because high-quality honey lowers several risk factors for heart disease, substituting it for normal sugar in your diet may enhance various aspects of heart health. 
    • For instance, a 30-day study comparing the effects of table sugar and honey in 55 individuals reported that the latter helped increase high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol levels while decreasing total and low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol levels. 
    • Additionally, it was able to reduce triglyceride levels by as much as 19 percent.
    • Additionally, animal research has revealed that taking honey supplements may lower systolic blood pressure, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.
  2. Cough: According to studies, Labiatae honey, eucalyptus honey, and citrus honey can all effectively treat a few people's acute nighttime coughs and upper respiratory infections.
    • The use of over-the-counter drugs to treat coughs and colds in young children is not advised by health authorities.
    • Natural remedies may be sought after by certain parents. 
    • According to one study, two teaspoons of honey helped youngsters who were coughing at night to fall asleep. 
    • Honey must, however, be avoided in infants who are younger than one year.
  3. Gastrointestinal disease: Evidence suggests that honey may help treat digestive system problems such as diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis. Honey may be useful in the treatment of dehydration.
  4. Neurological disorders: Research suggests that honey may have antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and antianxiety properties. Honey has been demonstrated in several trials to aid in the prevention of memory issues.
  5. Wound care: Applying medical-grade honey topically has been demonstrated to speed up wound healing, especially in burn cases. In clinical settings, pharmaceutical-grade manuka honey dressings have been used to treat pressure ulcers and burns.
  6. Diabetes-related foot ulcers: Applying medical-grade honey-based dressings to diabetic foot ulcers appears to speed up healing and avoid the need for antibiotics.
  7. Dry eye: Applying honey eye drops or eye gel to the eyes helps alleviate the discomfort of dry eyes. These solutions can be used in addition to standard dry eye treatments such as lubricating eye drops and warm compresses. Avoid instilling raw honey in your eyes. Use only medical-grade honey eye drops after consulting your doctor.
  8. Herpetic gingivostomatitis: Herpes virus-induced mouth or gum sores and ulcers are known as herpetic gingivostomatitis. For kids taking the drug acyclovir, rinsing the mouth and then swallowing a small amount of honey helps these sores and ulcers heal more quickly.
  9. Rosacea: It is a skin ailment that makes the face red. Using a topical honey product on the skin may help with rosacea symptoms.
  10. Oral mucositis (swelling [inflammation] and sores inside the mouth): Before and after chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments, rinsing the mouth and then consuming a small amount of honey appears to lessen the incidence of mouth sores
  11. Anti-inflammatory effects: Antioxidants found in honey can help the body fight inflammation. Numerous health problems, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease, can be brought on by inflammation. According to one study, buckwheat honey's antioxidants were found in blood plasma, indicating that consuming honey could increase the body's antioxidant activity.
  12. Allergies and hay fever: Although local honey has long been recommended as a treatment for hay fever, it may take very large doses to get these benefits.
    • In a modest 2011 study, honey was examined in cases of birch pollen allergy
    • Before the start of the hay fever season, from November through March, participants consumed honey with added birch pollen every day.
    • From April through May, they recorded their symptoms. In comparison to individuals taking traditional medicine, results showed two times as many asymptomatic days and a 60 percent lower overall symptom score than those on conventional medication.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

Is honey a safe food for everyone?

For most people, but not all, honey is a safe food. The following are some possible hazards of consuming honey, including raw honey:

  • Honey carries a small yet significant risk of a type of food poisoning called botulism. Infants younger than 12 months shouldn't be given honey.
    • Dust particles that could contain spores of the bacterium that causes botulism are present in honey.
    • Infants are more susceptible to illness because they lack a lot of bacterial resistance. 
    • Because most bacteria are destroyed by heat, it should be safe to use honey when preparing food for children.
  • You must consume honey with caution if you are prone to allergies. Allergies to the honey-do occur despite their rarity because honey contains bee pollen. Bee pollen is a combination of pollen and digestive enzymes from bees. It may cause a severe allergic reaction.
  • Due to the sugar, it contains, honey, can cause tooth decay. If you have concerns about your dental health, consult your dentist or another medical expert.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/13/2022
Image Source: iStock image