Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something.
Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.
But outside of the laboratory, claims for honey’s healthfulness are unproven — except in the area of wound care and, to a lesser extent, cough suppression.
In the laboratory, honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices. But whether it does the same in people hasn’t been proven.