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Honey: traditional home remedy with no confirmed effect
Honey is known as a traditional remedy, but patients with acute illnesses should not rely on the healing properties of honey, according to the current evaluation of existing studies by the specialist magazine "Gute Pillen - Schlechte Pillen" (GPSP), published as a joint project by " THE MEDICAL LETTER ”,“ medicinal telegram ”,“ pharmaceutical letter ”and“ medication prescription in practice ”.
While against warm milk with honey as a home remedy for cough is "no objection" according to the specialist journal, the editor-in-chief of "GPSP", Christian Wagner-Ahlfs, warns against "self-experiments, for example in cancer, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes." Even if honey could theoretically be helpful in the case of an illness, medically secured treatments are preferable, the specialist magazine reports. Based on the evaluation of the available scientific literature, no preventive effects of daily honey consumption can be determined. Nevertheless, "honey remains a traditional home remedy for everyday complaints", even if "the scientific evidence for the effect of honey as medicine is not sufficient", explained Christian Wagner-Ahlfs.
Health-promoting ingredients of honey? Naturopathy relies on a variety of potentially health-promoting ingredients. of the honey, which the magazine "GPSP" took as an opportunity to evaluate the existing scientific publication on the medical benefits of honey. "Although the medical use of honey has a long tradition, its effects have not been scientifically well researched" and "the studies are mostly of very low significance because, for example, they involve too few people and are often not compared with a placebo or a medication", so one of the main results.
Honey for wound treatment The data available in the area of wound treatment with honey was relatively extensive. The authors were able to draw on numerous studies here, reports “GPSP”. The results of a research group had pointed to an accelerated healing with light burns, "if sterilized honey was applied to the wound." However, since the data only come from one research group, "the reliability was considerably reduced." that "in severe burns honey even seems to delay healing compared to the usual treatment". The evaluation of the scientific literature had also shown that there was no clear benefit from the use of honey in treating chronic wounds. For example, venous leg ulcers do not heal faster by applying honey (in addition to compresses), reports "GPSP".
Wound treatment only with sterile honey In addition to the established procedures, some hospitals also use honey to treat chronic wounds due to metabolic disorders or circulatory disorders. But this therapeutic honey application belongs in the hands of experts, the authors write in the journal "GPSP". In the clinics that use honey to heal wounds, "the condition of the wound is continuously monitored medically." Before "experiments" at home, it is strongly advised against. Especially in the hospitals only sterilized honey is used, since it could otherwise contain bacteria and fungal spores, which in the worst case cause wound infections. The wound treatment with honey can burn uncomfortably at first due to the acid contained in the journal.
Honey has an antibacterial effect Thanks to its high sugar content of 80 to 85 percent, undiluted honey can in principle kill bacteria and other pathogens by removing water from them, reports "GPSP". In addition, honey is slightly acidic, which also inhibits germ growth. However, fungal spores and some specialized bacteria can also be found in honey, which can lead to considerable health risks if they come into contact with open wounds. When used internally, the honey is diluted with saliva and gastric juice, thereby losing its effectiveness against bacteria, reports the specialist journal.
Honey as a home remedy for cough For coughs, colds and sleep disorders, milk with honey is a popular home remedy which, according to the "GPSP" authors, can help to alleviate symptoms due to the "expectation of a positive effect" (placebo effect). In addition, the urge to cough may also be somewhat relieved by the honey's salivating effect. Accordingly, there is no objection to "honey as a home remedy for cough - even if the scientific data for its benefit is poor." The same applies in principle to honey as a remedy for cold sores, although the authors could not find any better effect here than with conventional herpes preparations. Evidence for alleged pain relief and the promotion of crust formation can not be found, according to "GPSP". The investigation, in which the honey was found to have a better effect than the cold sore remedy aciclovir, had included only eight participants. In addition, the usual pharmacy-only herpes preparations only serve to alleviate the symptoms and "herpes does not heal significantly faster with any of the commercially available drugs," reports "GPSP".
Some applications refuted Some naturopathic fields of application such as the use against stomach ulcers with honey are refuted today. "Honey does not eliminate Helicobacter bacteria, which are often the cause of stomach ulcers," write the "GPSP" authors. In other applications, honey is not the decisive factor for success, but the mixture of ingredients. A study found that a directly applied mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax can work against hemorrhoids and bleeding. Itchy rash can also be treated relatively successfully with this mixture. But honey alone is by no means the cause of the positive effect here. (fp)
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