Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Honey and Colds

Mostly this blog is dedicated to Bee Venom Therapy (BVT)--i.e. using bee venom as medicine since that's what I use to treat myself.  But BVT is really only a small part of apitherapy.  Apitherapy uses all sorts of honeybee products for health and healing.

And since so many of us currently have colds, I thought it pertinent to discuss how honey can help us alleviate our misery. 

You are probably already aware that you can put a spoonful of honey in hot water or tea to calm a sore throat.  Simply swallowing a spoonful helps with sore throats as well as coughs.

One of the things I learned about while I was at the Charles Mraz Apitherapy Conference in New Orleans was using a honey solution much in the same way that you use a *neti pot.  The point is that you want to draw the honey through your nasal cavity until you can taste it  in the back of your throat.

This site recommends using a propolis/honey solution, but you can do it with straight honey if you want to.  Just get some on a q-tip and swab it up there, then lay on your back until you can taste it.

Given that I am at the point where I have two tissues twisted up and crammed into my nostrils, I think it's time for me to give this technique a try. 

Why does it work?

First, there's an enzyme in raw honey called glucose oxidase.  When the honey comes into contact with your mucous membranes, hydrogen peroxide is produced, which kills any germs that it comes into contact with.  But you MUST USE UNPASTURIZED HONEY.  Pasturized honey is inferior because heating honey cooks the beneficial enzymes right out of it.

It seems redundant to pasturize the stuff anyway.  It is already antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal.  Nothing can grow in it.  That's the reason it is so good for treating wounds.   

I ran into quite a bit of misinformation when I was researching this topic.  One of those things was that honey contains hydrogen peroxide, which it does not.  Honey produces H2O2 when placed in the correct conditions, which are pH level of 5.5-8.0 and sodium.  Honey on its own can't spontaneously generate H2O2, so it isn't right to say that honey contains the molecule.  Where can you find this perfect storm of sodium and pH?  Wounds and mucous membranes. 

Please don't go snort a spoonful of peroxide as a substitute.  That's far too strong to put into your poor snotty fossa. The brilliant thing about honey is that it slowly releases the peroxide, so it's beneficial to you for several hours, not just immediately.

Another misconception is that only Manuka honey can be used for medicinal purposes.   Manuka honey is like super honey when it comes to treating wounds, and kills MRSA to boot, but any unpasturized honey can be used to treat wounds.

*Let's address all this business about people getting the brain eating amoeba from their neti pots, shall we? They were using tap water.  Fine to drink, BUT NOT FINE TO PUT UP YOUR NOSE.  Had they boiled their water or used distilled water, they would have been fine.  When you wash your neti pot in tap water, LET IT DRY COMPLETELY, and then let it sit for a little while to ensure that no bacteria survive on it's surfaces.

Honey, being anti-viral, anti-bacterial, AND anti-fungal, would probably keep those little brain eaters at bay.  However.  If you need to water your honey down a little bit before cleaning your nasal passages with it, use water that has been boiled (let it cool first please) or distilled.  The organisms shouldn't be able to live or reproduce in the honey, but hey--let's not take chances with this one, yes?


  1. Yer awful smart and interesting there, lady.

  2. So glad I found your blog! I've been treating my arthritic thumb joints (with my wife's help) for a bit more than a year and the results have been incredible. My approach has been more-or-less haphazard, though, so I plan to scrutinize your older posts and videos to see what can be improved.

    Also: had no idea that there could be systemic affects. Hmmm! Can I look forward to overall improvement in joint health if I'm more diligent about my apitherapy? Gotta tell you, at 60, anything that helps with the aches and pains without drugs is worth giving a try.

    Your new fan,


  3. Hi Mark! If you have regular osteo-arthritis, then stinging where it hurts should work pretty well for you. Bee venom does have systemic effects, but more for people with systemic conditions like RA and MS.

    When you sting, make sure to take LOTS of vitamin C the day before, the day of, and the day after. Like 2000-3000mg to support your adrenals.

    That said--I haven't done much research on osteo-arthritis and BVT because that isn't the kind of arthritis that I have. But from what I understand, it is WAY easier to treat osteo than RA because you're just using your body's own adrenal's corticosteroids to combat local inflammation and pain. I don't think that you have to sting on a daily basis (I have to do it every other day at least), and I don't think that you have to use lots of stings. One-three every once in a while should do it for you.

    Have you read Charles Mraz's book, Health and the Honeybee? That has some great starting info.

    Thanks for reading my blog!

  4. Karherine,

    Wow, thanks! You have packed about 10 times more than I knew about the subject into one small space -- you rock!

    I'm very fortunate to osteo rather than rheumatoid arthritis and have achieved meaningful relief from only four treatments over more than a year. My mother suffered terribly from RA and I so wish that we'd known about apitherapy while she was alive. I hope the very best for your continued improvement through the miracle of the bees.

    This may be out of left field but -- are you aware of the Melissa? She is what I've heard referred to as the "over-soul" of honey bees. Whenever we work with our hives, we take a moment to connect with the Melissa and ask her blessing on our work. Whatever else it does, it tends to calm *us* and we enjoy having more than a physical connection with our wee friends.