For this Wellness Wednesday feature, here’s what you need to know about honey, according to wellness expert and frequent Green Living magazine contributor, Ric Coggins.
One of the simplest and least expensive regimens I employed to eradicate cancer from my body was a daily inclusion of raw, unfiltered honey. This may seem counterintuitive given all of the evidence that a major ingredient in honey—sugar—debilitates the immune system and further serves as actual food for cancer cells. Instead, however, in the case of honey, the opposite seems to be true. Published studies thus far have shown that honey actually improves immune function. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and further, scavenges toxic-free radicals from our body.
The most recent studies on honey show it to have very specific anti-cancer properties in both cell cultures and in animal models. The exact mechanisms of these properties
include the induction of apoptosis, the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential, and cell cycle arrest…again, all anti-cancer properties.
Now, if these terms are not familiar to you, hope they never are. To those who have confronted cancer, they are unfortunately all too familiar.
To comprehend the usefulness of honey in warding off or even reversing cancer, we need to understand some of the various factors which cause cancer and understand that cancer development can occur 10-15 years after exposure to these risk factors.
Per a 2012 study, cancer risk factors can include the following.
• Personal low immune system status
• Underlying chronic infections
• Underlying chronic inflammation
• Chronic, non-healing ulcers
• Accumulation of toxic-free radicals
• Genetic inheritance
Honey offers a response to at least five of the six known risk
factors in that:
• Honey is a proven immune-booster;
• Honey has proven anti-microbial properties;
• Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory agent;
• Honey has shown to abate ulcerations and chronic, non-
• Honey is a scavenger of toxic-free radicals.
The outcome of a study that looked into the relationship between the rate of cancer incidence and honey intake, which was conducted in developing nations, suggested that people who consumed more honey had less cancer. While there of course could be many other factors involved, this is nonetheless very interesting.
So just exactly what is in honey that has been shown to protect us from cancer?
Well, for one, polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients attained by consuming certain plant-based foods. Polyphenols’ benefits are not limited to just resisting cancers, but they also have been shown to improve digestion, brain
function, and blood sugar levels, as well as protect against blood clots and heart disease.
Some of the polyphenols that honey offers include caffeic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant; chrysin, which can also reduce aromatase enzyme hormone production; caffeic acid phenyl esters (CAPE), which have been studied against glioblastoma; quercetin, which has been shown to be effective in cell culture studies against many cancer cell lines, including pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer,
colon cancer, and skin cancer; and apigenin, which has also been studied against many cancer types.
In general, you do not need to consume a particular type of honey to see benefits. Studies that have looked at manuka honey, bush honey, and generic honeys show that all varieties seem to be effective against cancer cells and in improving the immune status of the study participants. However, the darker the honey, the more positive plant chemicals (i.e., polyphenols) it had. So, I always look for darker honeys when I am shopping for honey.
Now, does this mean that just any honey is optimum for you? That answer is no, as much of the commercially processed “honey” you find on the store shelves has been adulterated with fructose syrup and high fructose syrup. Even worse, some of
those ingredients are coming from China, where few controls are in place to protect us from contaminants that China is known to have. Because of this, the best idea would be to buy your honey directly from a local beekeeper. It should be raw and unfiltered by my estimation. In addition to the health aspects, you are supporting local beekeepers—and that supports your local hive’s pollinators. It’s also known that local
honeys produced from local pollens have helped many folks who are prone to allergies either reduce or resolve entirely their allergic symptoms… without taking allergy drugs.
Because a bee’s normal travel radius is around two miles from their hive (and they have been tracked four to six miles), I am not sure there is really such a thing as organic honey, though it is offered in the marketplace. I just don’t know how they can be sure that bees did not harvest pollen from GMO plant flowers or plants sprayed with non-organic materials. For this reason, I tend to like desert honeys, thinking that there is less of a chance that the desert pollens are contaminated.
As for dosage, like most natural remedies, we are somewhat on our own to work that out. In my research, I found that studies done with a therapeutic dose of 4 tablespoons per day were particularly beneficial to the participants. In my own case, I
took 2 tablespoons per day… one before bed and one in the morning, and continue that dosage as a maintenance regimen to prevent any return of cancer.
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