The Honey Prescription

The Amazing Power of Honey as Medicine


Although widely regarded as a delicious natural sweetener, few people realize that honey is also one of humanity’s oldest medicines. Honey was used by the ancient Egyptians to treat skin infections and burns, while early Greek physicians prescribed honey to heal stomach problems, insomnia, sore throats, colds and other maladies. Honey remained a popular folk remedy until well into the twentieth century.

Yet when antibiotics were developed in the 1940s, interest in the therapeutic value of honey fell to the wayside. And even though hundreds of articles were written about the therapeutic value of honey in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, physicians have ignored the use of healing honey in favor of antibiotics.

However, since many infection-causing bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, scientists have taken another look at honey, and have discovered that it is often more effective than antibiotics in fighting bacterial infections, including those caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Escherichia coli and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) one of the most dangerous superbugs of our time. Still, big pharmaceutical companies have traditionally ignored honey because it is both cheap and non-patentable, although a few small companies in New Zealand and Australia have developed honey-based salves and creams; some are (or will soon become) available at your local pharmacy. Plus, some of the finest therapeutic honeys can be found in your neighborhood health food store or local farmer's market.

Researching this book took me to New Zealand, where I met with Prof. Peter Molan, Director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in Hamilton. He not only offered practical advice, but generously gave me copies of all of his published articles. I also visited the Waikato General Hospital, also in Hamilton, where honey is used routinely to prevent and control bacterial infections. Dozens of the world’s leading honey researchers shared their scientific papers about honey and healing with me as well.

Several chapters are devoted to the bees' essential role in pollination and the very real problem of Colony Collapse Disorder, which threatens the survival of this amazing creature. Because most of the fruits and vegetables we eat is pollinated by honeybees, their well-being is especially important for our survival as a species.

Putting all this information together was an exciting and exhausting project, but I believe that The Honey Prescription is the finest and most complete book ever written on this important and timely subject.

The Honey Prescription: The Amazing Power of Honey as Medicine. Healing Arts Press, 256 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1594773464. $16.95.

This title was published on March 12, 2010. To order, click here.

To visit my Honey Page, click here.

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