Health Guide


What is it?

Honey is used as a dietary supplement as well as a food product. Honey is used to treat bacterial infections, periodontal (gum) disease, Hansen's disease (leprosy), leg ulcers, parasite infections, to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers, and to increase the immune system. It is also used on the skin for burns, wounds, eczema, and gangrene.

Other names for Honey include: Manuka Honey and Pasture Honey.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Honey you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Honey. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Before taking Honey, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not use Honey in children 1 year of age or younger (6)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Diarrhea (7)
  • Upset stomach and throwing up can occur with certain honey preparations (8)
  • Allergic reactions in sensitive people (8)
  • A stinging feeling when applied to the skin (9)
  • Botulism has occurred in infants fed honey (6,10)


1. Subrahmanyam M: A prospective randomized clinical and histological study of superficial burn wound healing with honey and silver sulfadiazine. Burns 1998; 24: 157-161.

2. Hejase MJ, Simonin JE, Bihrle R et al: Genital Fournier's gangrene: experience with 38 patients. Urology 1996; 47: 734-739.

3. Efem SEE: Recent advances in the management of Fournier's gangrene: preliminary observations. Surgery 1993; 113: 200-204.

4. Al-Waili NS & Saloom KY: Effects of topical honey on post-operative wound infections due to gram positive and gram negative bacteria following caesarean sections and hysterectomies. Eur J Med Res 1999; 4: 126-130.

5. Vardi A, Barzilay A & Linder N: Local application of honey for the treatment of neonatal postoperative wound infection. Acta Paediatr 1998; 87: 429-432.

6. DeCentorbi OP, Centorbi HJ, Demo N et al: Infant botulism during a one year period in San Luis, Argentina. Zent bl Bakterio 1998; 287: 61-66.

7. Ladas SD, Haritos DN & Raptis SA: Honey may have a laxative effect on normal subjects because of incomplete fructose absorption. Am J Clin Nutr 1995; 62: 1212-1215.

8. Mirkin G: Side effects of raw honey. JAMA 1991; 266(19): 2766.

9. Wood B, Rademaker M & Molan: Manuka honey, a low cost leg ulcer dressing. N Zealand Med J 1997; 110(1040): 107.

10. Spika JS, Shaffer N, Hargrett-Bean N et al: Risk factors for infant botulism in the United States. AJDC 1989; 143: 828-832.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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