Honey Health Benefits and Uses in Medicine

  • Hana Scepankova
  • Jorge A. Saraiva
  • Letícia M. EstevinhoEmail author


In order to promote human health, the interest in the use of natural food products with functional properties has increased. Honey has potential biological activities with health promoting properties, such as antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Due to its natural antioxidants, including mostly phenolic compounds, honey has the capacity to serve as an important source of antioxidants in human nutrition, and thus can exhibit beneficial effects on human health such as anti-mutagenic, antitumor and cardiovascular protection. Moreover, the low glycemic index makes honey suitable for diabetic patients. Regarding the existence of many in vitro and in vivo studies, effectiveness of honey in many of its medical uses is due to its antibacterial activity that is capable of inhibiting Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including multidrug resistant strains, and some species of fungi and viruses. In addition, different honeys have been shown to decrease inflammatory response and are thus potentially useful for anti-inflammatory treatment. Recently, honey is being extensively applied in wound therapy as an alternative to more expensive and advanced wound products. There is evidence that honey can heal partial thickness burns and post-operative infected wounds more quickly and effectively than conventional treatments. This chapter provides a general overview on the functional properties of honey related to human health.


Antioxidant capacity Antibacterial activity Anti-inflammatory capacity Wound healing activity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hana Scepankova
    • 1
  • Jorge A. Saraiva
    • 1
  • Letícia M. Estevinho
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryQOPNA, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de SantiagoAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Agricultural College of BragançaPolytechnic Institute of BragançaBragançaPortugal
  3. 3.Centre of Molecular and Environmental BiologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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