The concept of drinking honey with warm water isn’t alien to any of us. It has been advertised for years as a miraculous drink. We have come across ads that promote drinking honey and warm water for weight loss and fighting infections. Many popular Ayurvedic cough tonics are also based on honey. Is there any truth to these claims? Keep reading to find out.
Honey has several benefits for your health (1). This sweet and thick elixir is naturally produced by honey bees. It is commonly used as a substitute for sugar and also has many therapeutic uses for the skin, like treating wounds and burns.
There are many benefits of drinking honey with warm water. However, it is essential to note that it is the purest and unfiltered form of honey that has the most therapeutic potential (2).
The benefits of honey are:
- Honey exhibits powerful healing properties when applied topically and can speed up the healing of wounds and burns on the skin. These activities are mainly due to the antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of honey (3), (4).
- It can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers. Foot ulcers are open sores that are one of the common complications that surface with diabetes, and honey can help in their healing (5).
- The topical application of honey can also help with acne.
Now, let us find out why it is good to have honey with warm water.
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Honey With Warm Water?
Honey is often recommended to be consumed with warm water due to the following reasons:
1. Honey Is Antimicrobial
The antibacterial properties of honey can protect the body from infectious diseases(spesis) (6).
2. It Can Help With Cough
Honey can reduce the frequency and severity of cough in children. It can be given in a dose of 2.5 ml to children older than one year (7). However, it should not be given to a child who is below one year due to the risk of botulism.
3. It Can Improve The Quality Of Sleep
Honey can also improve the quality of sleep in children with upper respiratory infections like cough (8).
4. Honey May Help Promote Digestion
It exhibits a positive effect on the gut bacteria and helps in keeping your digestive system healthy and balanced (9). Honey can also inhibit the genotoxic and harmful effects of mycotoxins when used as a substitute for processed sugar (10).
5. It May Aid Weight Loss
Substituting sugar with honey may help in weight loss in the long run (11).
6. It Can Provide Relief From Hangover
Scientific studies show that honey can reduce blood alcohol concentration in intoxicated mice (12). For best results, mix honey with half a cup of orange juice and yogurt (13).
Note: Most of these studies have been done on animals. Hence, more studies on humans are warranted to substantiate these claims.
These are the proven therapeutic uses of honey. Mentioned below are a few anecdotal claims with no scientific evidence to back them:
- Honey helps in flushing out toxins.
- Honey can improve acne when applied topically.
- It melts fat.
- It improves cognitive function.
While these are popular claims, we don’t know how true they are and cannot rely on them entirely. Some individuals need to limit their intake of honey due to its possible side effects.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Taking Honey With Warm Water?
Honey is a natural ingredient that is completely safe to be ingested most of the time. But though it is a better alternative to processed sugar, you need to consume honey in moderation if you have diabetes or acne-prone skin (14), (15).
Children under one year should not be given honey as it increases the risk of botulism (16).
What is the best time to take honey with warm water to reap the maximum benefits?
Can Honey And Warm Water Be Taken At Night Before Sleeping?
You can take honey with warm water at any time of the day. You can take this concoction at night for a sound sleep. This is especially if you or your kids have a nocturnal cold or flu (8).
While it is relatively safe to feed honey to your child, you need to consider their age to avoid complications.
Can Honey Be Given To Children?
Yes, honey can be given to children. This is because the consumption of honey was found to help reduce the severity of symptoms in children with upper respiratory infections and coughs.
However, do not give honey to children below one year as it can increase their risk of contracting botulism (16). Botulism is a rare type of poisoning triggered by a kind of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum).
This leads us to another common question – do you have to take honey only with warm water, or can you use cold water?
Is It Good To Take Honey With Cold Water?
While it is usually recommended to take honey with warm water to aid digestion, it is completely fine to take it with cold water as well. Fruit juice or plain water mixed with honey is a much healthier alternative to other artificially sweetened beverages.
However, honey shouldn’t be boiled or taken with piping hot water. Consuming heated honey can have deleterious effects on one’s health due to the formation of toxic compounds during the heating process (17).
Here’s how you can consume it. Mix a teaspoon or two of honey with a glass of warm water and have it in the morning to kick start your digestion. You can also refrigerate a glass of water mixed with honey and drink it after a tiring day at work.
Drinking honey with warm water can help soothe cough and upper respiratory tract infections, promote sleep, improve digestion, aid weight loss, and relieve hangovers.
However, since most of the benefits are derived from animal studies, more research is required to establish similar benefits for humans. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider before incorporating honey into your daily regimen.
- Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research, Pharmacognosy Research, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The effect of standard heat and filtration processing procedures on antimicrobial activity and hydrogen peroxide levels in honey, Frontiers In Microbiology, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Topical Application of Honey for Burn Wound Treatment – an Overview, Annals Of Burns And Fire Disaster, US National Library Of Medicine.
- Evidence for Clinical Use of Honey in Wound Healing as an Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory Anti-oxidant and Anti-viral Agent: A Review, Pharmaceutical Products, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Management of diabetic foot by natural honey. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Antimicrobial properties of honey. American Journal of Therapeutics, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Honey for treatment of cough in children, Canadian Family Physician, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effect of honey in improving the gut microbial balance, Oxford Academic.
- Effect of dietary honey on intestinal microflora and toxicity of mycotoxins in mice, BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats. Nutrition Research, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Honey reduces blood alcohol concentration but not affects the level of serum MDA and GSH-Px activity in intoxicated male mice models, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s Honey – A review, Ayu, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Infant botulism: advice on avoiding feeding honey to babies and other possible risk factors. Community Practice, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Toxic compounds in honey, Journal of Applied Toxicology, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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