Is Unpasteurized Honey Good Against Arthritis?

Is Unpasteurized Honey Good Against Arthritis?

It is true that honey can make it easier to drink green tea, which is good for your health, but can also help you keep your joints healthy? According to government statistics, one in five American adults (or 51.9 million people) have been diagnosed with arthritis. It is estimated that by the year 2030, as our population will continue to age, 67 million adult Americans will have this disease.

Although there is evidence that bee venom can be a powerful anti-inflammatory treatment for those suffering from arthritis, there is little evidence to suggest that honey has the same effect.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease in which one or more joints become inflamed and painful. It includes the decomposition of the cartilage, which cushions the joints and acts as an absorber of impacts when you apply pressure to them when performing your daily tasks. Without adequate cartilage, you may experience symptoms such as:

• Pain • Inflammation • Lack of sensitivity (especially in the morning) • Limited mobility • Reddening of the skin around the joint • Heat around the joint

Common causes of arthritis include:

• General bone wear that occurs over time or with age (osteoarthritis) • Broken bones • Viral or bacterial infections • An autoimmune disease or one in which the immune system has become damaged confused and has attacked healthy tissues (rheumatoid arthritis)

Joint pain can be managed if the real cause is treated. Anyway, the symptoms may return or persist for long periods of time, and probably have to be controlled for the rest of your life. There is not a single general treatment for arthritis. Sometimes, a combination of medical, physical and alternative treatments is necessary in order to properly control the symptoms.

Honey: an alternative treatment?

For centuries, honey has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments and illnesses, from burns and wounds to colds and flu. Some chemical compounds in honey called phenolic compounds have been shown to be effective antibiotics and antioxidants.

Unpasteurized honey is the raw substance, fresh from the hive, which is not treated or processed before reaching the stores or farmers' market in your area. As it contains environmental substances in which it was created, its composition varies according to the region of the world in which you are, so that the activity of these phenolic compounds can also vary.


The antimicrobial properties of raw honey have been proven in many studies and critiques, and researchers continue to look for other potential health benefits.

For example, a Danish study published in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration compared the healing properties of bandages soaked in honey with those soaked in silver for the treatment of malignant (cancerous) wounds. The study found a marked improvement in both groups in terms of the size of the wounds, the degree of hygiene, smell and pain, although most of the participants found that the bands soaked in honey had a significant impact on the size of the wounds and your hygiene

Researchers at the Straub Clinic and Hospital in Honolulu studied the effectiveness of various altenative treatments (including dosing an elixir with vinegar and honey) when treating arthritis. Anyway, this particular study was unable to determine anything conclusive, due to the small number of participants, which included only 51 patients.

Other research shows that raw honey and products related to bees such as poison, royal jelly (a bees secretion) and propolis, a beehive sealer made by bees, can be effective in treating many skin diseases, as well as menopausal symptoms and the chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Although there is evidence that bee venom can be a powerful anti-inflammatory treatment for those suffering from arthritis, there is little evidence to suggest that honey has the same effect.

The conclusion

From the nutritional point of view, honey can be a substantial sweetener. A little honey is enough for your tea or to be poured over a bit of yogurt or a fruit, and acts as an excellent substitute for sugar and other sweeteners. Anyway, a spoonful contains 64 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates, so enjoy it in moderation so that your overall diet is healthy.

Although it has health benefits, be careful when giving raw honey to young children without pasteurizing. Keep in mind that honey should not be given to children less than 12 months old because of the risk of allergic reactions, as it may contain Clostridium botulinum spores and toxins.

As always, be sure to check the information with your doctor if you are interested in making significant changes in your diet or lifestyle to manage your pain control of arthritis. Your doctor can help you customize a comprehensive treatment plan that suits your specific needs.

About the author

Eilender is a university professor and writer on health sciences who lives in New Jersey.

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