Plant medicine for the treatment of bone-related diseases, focus on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, an East West Perspective:


(Images references in Refs section)

Plant medicine for the treatment of bone-related diseases, focus on osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, an East West Perspective:

Western Definitions:

What is Osteoporosis?

The consistent break-down of porous bone mass leading to increased risk of fractures.  This can be caused by diet, prolonged exposure to chemicals, genetics, sickness, lack of exercise, etc.

What is Osteoarthritis?

The wear down of protective cartilage between joints.  This can be caused by prolonged repetitive movement(s), diet, genetics, general ‘wear & tear’, trauma, etc.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective: Relates the onset of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis to an energy imbalance in the Liver (Blood), Spleen, and/or Kidneys, individually or together.

  • Liver is the main organ, being the major blood filtration system in the body, that brings nourishment in the form of Blood to the tendons/bones/ligaments.
  • Spleen, being the major organ of digestion, defines the quality of Blood that is produced because of food/drink we ingest.
  • Kidney, the main organ of Jing/Essence/born-with vitality, maintenance and quality of Jing is the foundation to the production of quality bone marrow.

Osteoporosis Research:

“We conclude that Chinese herbs substantially increased BMD (bone mass density) of the lumbar spine compared to placebo or anti-osteoporotic drugs as indicated in the current clinical reports on osteoporosis treatment.” (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

Curculigo orchioides (CO, common/Chinese name golden eye-grass, weevil-wort, xian mao)-“CO ethanol extract has a definite protective effect on bone loss in ovariectomized rats by inhibiting bone resorption and increasing serum phosphorus and calcium levels, without affecting bone formation [33]. In traditional Chinese medicine, CO rhizomes are considered to have the effects of maintaining healthy energy and nourishing the liver and kidneys.” (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

Herba epimedii (common/Chinese name Epimedium, horny goat weed, Xian Ling Pi/ Yin Yang Huo)-  “contains a plenty of Isoflavone [37]. Isoflavone is also one of the determined substance in most of the recipes. Pharmacological studies, either on murine models of osteoporosis or in vitro, have provided some convincing evidence of positive effects of soya and isoflavones on bone health.” (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

Common Onion– “Rutin, the glycosylated form of quercetin, is abundant in onion… The vitro trails showed that rutin consumption increased femoral strength and trabecular bone density by decreasing bone resorption, although cortical bone density was unchanged.” (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

Puerariae radix (common/Chinese name Kudzu root, Ge Gen)- “reversed the bone loss induced by castration, with femur BMD and trabecular number increasing… along with its bone-sparing effect.” (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

Other significant plants/herbs in this systematic review: (Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. 2013)

*systematic reviews are considered one of the top ‘golden’ standards in research, as it weans out insignificant or ‘outliner’ studies

  • Eucommia bark
  • Ligustrum lucidum
  • Rhizoma Drynariae
  • Achyranthes bidentate
  • Cibotium barometz (wolly fern)

Red sage root– “The review highlights the anti-osteoporotic potential of Salvia miltiorrhiza in clinical applications and the potential of the herb to provide potent compounds targeting specific pathways in bone resorption and bone formation.” (Guo, Yubo, et al. 2014)

Soy– “There are several mechanisms for anti-osteoporosis effects. Estrogen-like effects, especially soy phytoestrogenic compounds and other herbal compounds and formulations, can enhance bone formation markers, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity, while decreasing bone resorption biomarkers. Therefore, they can be used as complementary medicine for osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal older women.” (Habibi Ghahfarrokhi, Shahrzad, and Roya Reisi, 2019)

“We observed the release of markers and anti-inflammatory mediators after treatment with plants, which accelerated the recovery process of bone repair.” & “this study demonstrated that the use of plant extracts stimulates bone repair, increasing osteogenesis, the rate of calcification, and the formation and mineralization of bone callus, accelerating the process of new bone formation on the fracture region. Possibly, these effects are related to anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power of these extracts.” (Miranda, Lyvia Lopes, et al. 2019)


Osteoarthritis (OA) Research:

“Although the effect size was small, the meta-analysis revealed that rosehip powder does reduce pain and results in a statistically significant reduction in the use of analgesics.” (Mobasheri, Ali. 2012)

Pure form Turmeric for prevention– “three major curcuminoids was found to be efficacious in preventing joint inflammation when treatment was started before, but not after, the onset of joint inflammation.” (Mobasheri, Ali. 2012)

Resveratrol found in grapes, berries, and peanuts– “These results suggest the use of resveratrol as an herbal medicine for treatment of OA.” (Mobasheri, Ali. 2012)

Resveratrol combined with turmeric– “On the basis of these results, we have proposed that combining these natural compounds may be a more useful strategy in developing herbal medicines than using the individual compounds alone.” (Mobasheri, Ali. 2012)

GCSB-5 (Shinbaro®; Green Cross Corp., Yongin, Korea) is a medicine prepared from six herbs,

“The result of this study supports that GCSB-5 is comparable to Celecoxib in terms of the efficacy and safety for the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee joint.” (Park, Yong-Geun, et al. 2013)

  1. Siler root (Ledebouriellae Radix)
  2. Achyranthes root (Achyranthis Radix)
  3. Acanthopanax bark (Acanthopanacis Cortex)
  4. Chain fern rhizome (Cibotii Rhizoma)
  5. Soya bean (Glycine Semen)
  6. Eucommia bark (Eucommiae Cortex)

Kidney-Tonifying and Blood-activating Chinese herbs (KTBAMs) – “KTBAMs appear to be as effective as NSAIDs and seem to have an add-on effect to NSAIDs for the treatment of KOA (Knee Osteoarthritis).” (Huang, Hetao, et al. 2019) *Table 2 for herbs

Table 2:   (Huang, Hetao, et al. 2019)

Top 20 Chinese herbs and efficacy based on frequency of usage in the 38 study prescriptions.

Kidney-tonifying herbs
Achyranthes Root Radix achyranthis bidentatae Niuxi 24
Prepared Radix Rehmanniae Radix rehmanniae preparata Shudihuang 18
Malaytea Scurfpea Fruit Fructus psoraleae Buguzhi 14
Eucommia bark Cortex eucommia Duzhong 13
Chinese Taxillus Twig Herba taxilli Sangjisheng 13
Drynaria Fortunei Rhizoma drynariae Gusuibu 13
Epimedium herb Herba epimedii Yinyanghuo 10
Common Macrocarpium Fruit Fructus corni Shanzhuyu 7
Prepared common Monkshood Daughter Root Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata Fuzi 7
Blood-activating herbs
Achyranthes Root Radix achyranthis bidentatae Niuxi 24
Chinese Angelica Radix angelicae sinensis Danggui 20
Suberect Spatholobus Stem Caulis spatholobi Jixueteng 14
Danshen Root Radix salviae miltiorrhizae Danshen 11
Szechwan Lovage Rhizome Rhizoma chuanxiong Chuanxiong 10
Pain relief
Doubleteeth Pubescent Angelica Root Radix angelicae pubescentis Duhuo 10
Clematis Root Radix clematidis Weilingxian 10
White Peony Root Radix paeoniae alba Baishao 9
Common Flowering Quince Fruit Fructus chaenomelis Mugua 9
Licorice Root Radix glycyrrhizae Gancao 16
Astragalus Radix astragalus Huangqi 10
Wolfiporia Extensa Poria cocos Fuling 7


Image references:


Herbs and bottles- © 2017 WAKUNAGA OF AMERICA CO., LTD.

  • Wang, Zhi-qian, et al. “Chinese herbal medicine for osteoporosis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trails.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
  • Guo, Yubo, et al. “Salvia miltiorrhiza: an ancient Chinese herbal medicine as a source for anti-osteoporotic drugs.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 155.3 (2014): 1401-1416.
  • Habibi Ghahfarrokhi, Shahrzad, and Roya Reisi. “Effects of medicinal herbs on osteoporosis: a systematic review based on clinical trials.” Journal of Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences (2019).
  • Miranda, Lyvia Lopes, et al. “Plant Extracts in the Bone Repair Process: A Systematic Review.” Mediators of inflammation 2019 (2019).
  • Mobasheri, Ali. “Intersection of inflammation and herbal medicine in the treatment of osteoarthritis.” Current rheumatology reports 14.6 (2012): 604-616.
  • Park, Yong-Geun, et al. “A prospective, randomized, double-blind, multicenter comparative study on the safety and efficacy of Celecoxib and GCSB-5, dried extracts of six herbs, for the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee joint.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 149.3 (2013): 816-824.
  • Huang, Hetao, et al. “Are Kidney-Tonifying and Blood-Activating Medicinal Herbs Better than NSAIDs for Knee Osteoarthritis? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2019 (2019).


This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment.


Neem Blog: “The Village Pharmacy” (Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)


(Image credit in Ref section)

Neem “The Village Pharmacy” (Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)

Part: bark, leaves, seed, seed kernel, fruit, flowers

Taste: astringent, bitter, pungent

Latin name: Azadiracta indica

Western medicine/research: constituents (not an exhaustive list); Nimbidin (extracted from the oil of seed kernels); tetranortriterpenes, including nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidinin, nimbolide and nimbidic acid, gedunin, azadirachtin, mahmoodin, gallic acid*, gallocatechin*, epicatechin* (*extracted from bark) (Biswas, Kausik, et al. 2002)

Actions: Table 1. Some bioactive compounds from neem (Biswas, Kausik, et al. 2002)

Neem Compound Biological activity
Nimbindin (seed oil) Anti-inflammatory, Antiarthritic, Antipyretic, Hypoglycaemic, Anti-gastric ulcer, Spermicidal,  Antifungal, Antibacterial, Diuretic,
Sodium nimbidate Anti-inflammatory
Nimbin (seed oil) Spermicidal
Nimbolide (seed oil) Antibacterial, antimalarial
Gedunin (seed oil) Antifungal, anti-malarial
Azadirachtin (seed) Anti-marlarial
Mahmoodin (seed oil) Antibacterial
Gallic acid, epicatechin and catechin (bark) Anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory
Margolone, margolonone, isomargolonone (bark) Antibacterial
Cyclic trisulphide, cyclic tetrasulphide (leaf) Antifungal
Polysaccharides Anti-inflammatory
Polysaccharides GIa, GIb (bark) Anti-tumor
NB-II peptidoglycan (bark) Immunomodulatory

*Research was not exhaustive, there are many studies on Neem and its medicinal properties/varying formulations/applications

Neem seed research:

“neem seed extract when diluted 1:10 with shampoo … It was shown that a broad range of pests and parasites, such as house dust mites, poultry mites, harvest mites, Ixodes and Rhipicephalus ticks, cat fleas (adults, larvae), bed bugs (all stages), head lice and mallophaga, cockroaches (genera Blatta, Blattella, Gomphadorhina), raptor bugs (Triatoma), and even food-attacking beetle (Tenebrio molitor) might be controlled with this extract” (Schmahl, Günter, et al. 2010)

“neem-based shampoo blocked the aeropyles of the eggs, thus preventing the embryos of both races of lice from accessing oxygen and from releasing carbon dioxide. Thus, this product offers a complete cure from head lice upon a single treatment” (Mehlhorn, Heinz, et al. 2011)

“Nimbidin and nimbolide from seed oil show antifungal, antimalarial and antibacterial activity including inhibition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“The mechanism of action of neem oil appears to be non-hormonal, probably mediated through its spermicidal effect and may have less side effects than steroidal contraceptives” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

*For use on psoriasis-  “It can be concluded that systemic and topical administration required for better management of Psoriasis” (Morya, G. C. K., V. Vinita, and R. Bahadur. 2017)

*For use on psoriasis- “inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase by nimbidin, a secondary metabolite present in A. indica essential oil” (Zuccotti, E., et al. 2018)

*Oil from seed kernels – “From this crude principle some tetranortriterpenes, including nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidinin, nimbolide and nimbidic acid have been isolated. These have been shown to exert antimalarial activity by inhibiting the growth of Plasmodium falciparum. Nimbolide also shows antibacterial activity against S. aureus and S. coagulase.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

*Oil from seed kernels– “In vivo studies showed that intravaginal application of neem oil prior to coitus can prevent pregnancy. Antifertility effect of neem oil has also been studied and suggested to be a novel method of contraception” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

Neem leaf research:

“In this study, we have shown that the aqueous extracts of neem leaf exhibited highest antimicrobial activity compared with the bark and seed” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“The phytochemical and biological experiments performed during the current study confirm the antioxidant and antibacterial properties of neem leaves” (Pandey, Garima, K. K. Verma, and Munna Singh, 2014)

The aqueous extract of leaf also possesses potent immune-stimulant activity as evidenced by both humoral and cell-mediated responses” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Aqueous extract of neem leaves significantly decreases blood sugar level and prevents adrenaline as well as glucose-induced hyperglycaemia” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“In HIV/AIDS patients, a 12-week oral administration of acetone water neem leaf extract (IRAB) had a significant influence in vivo on CD4 cells (which HIV reduces) without any adverse effects in the patients” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

*Flower/leaf – “Hot water extract of the flower and leaf is taken orally as an anti-hysteric remedy, and used externally to treat wound.” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

*Flower– “dried flower is taken orally for diabetes” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem bark research:

“Margolone, margolonone and isomargolonone are tri-cyclic diterpenoids isolated from stem bark are shown to exhibit antibacterial activity” (Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy, 2013)

“tannins from the bark contain gallic acid, (+) gallocatechin, (–) epicatechin, (+) catechin and epigallocatechin, of which gallic acid (1), (–) epicatechin (2) and catechin (3) are primarily responsible for inhibiting the generation of chemiluminescence by activated human olymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN)12, indicating that these compounds inhibit oxidative burst of PMN during inflammation.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Hot water extract of the bark is taken orally by the adult female as a tonic and emmenagogue” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem fruit research:

“Some active ingredient (Phytosterols) were isolated from the lipophilic fraction of neem fruit, exhibit antiulcer activity in stress induced gastric lesion.52In Ayurveda it is used in piles, intestinal worm, urinary disorder, epistaxis, phegm, diabetes, wound and leprosy.” (Maithani, Alok, et al. 2011)

“Hot water extract of dried fruit is used for piles and externally for skin disease and ulcers” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)

Neem general uses: (not an exhaustive list) Acne/pimples, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, athletes foot, boils/carbuncles, canker sores, cellulitis, corns/calluses, diaper rash, herpes/coldsores, impetigo, ringworm, rosacea, scabies (“NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow 2015)

Cautions:  oil is not to be orally ingested, “can act as a mild contraceptive” (“NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow 2015)

Preparation/dosage: (not an exhaustive list)  neem seed oil, neem seed kernel oil, water-extracted leaf formulations, creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, pesticide formulations, ethanol-extracted leaf/bark formulations (*dosage dependant on formulation applied and intended use)

“Neem personal care products derived from seed, oil and leaf include; Skin care – including eczema cream, antiseptic cream, and nail care; hair care – shampoo, and hair oils; oral hygiene – toothpaste and neem twigs; therapeutic – loose Neem leaves – tea, vegetarian capsules, powders; household products – soaps, insect repellent (spray and lotion), and candles.” (Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. 2012)


(Image credit in Ref section)

Ayurvedic Medicine:

Ayurvedic name:  Nimba, “the village pharmacy”

Energy:  Cooling

Tastes:  bitter, astringent, pungent

Effects on Dosha: Decrease Pitta and Kapha (bitter taste), increases Vata

Traditional use:  purification of ama (toxins) especially of the skin, parasites, irritation and skin ailments, vomiting, diabetes, jaundice, arthritis (“The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)

Cautions:  with tissue deficiency and cold temperatures, but is considered safe with mild adverse effects

Preparations/dosage:  Tea, application of crushed leaf on to skin irritations, eye solution, twigs used for toothbrushes  (“The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, 2008)




Neem flowers:

Neem seed and leaves: ©2020 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Neem full tree:  © 2018 Asian Journal by SW Media Group

  • Biswas, Kausik, et al. “Biological activities and medicinal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica).” CURRENT SCIENCE-BANGALORE- 82.11 (2002): 1336-1345.
  • Schmahl, Günter, et al. “The efficacy of neem seed extracts (Tre-san®, MiteStop®) on a broad spectrum of pests and parasites.” Parasitology research 107.2 (2010): 261-269.
  • Mehlhorn, Heinz, et al. “Ovicidal effects of a neem seed extract preparation on eggs of body and head lice.” Parasitology research 109.5 (2011): 1299-1302.
  • Lokanatha, O., S. Mamatha, and Damodar Reddy. “Antimicrobial activity of Azadirachta Indica (neem) leaf, bark and seed extracts.” International Journal of Research in Phytochemistry and Pharmacology 3.1 (2013): 1-4.
  • Pandey, Garima, K. K. Verma, and Munna Singh. “Evaluation of phytochemical, antibacterial and free radical scavenging properties of Azadirachta indica (neem) leaves.” Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci 6.2 (2014): 444-447.
  • Maithani, Alok, et al. “Azadirachta indica (neem) leaf: A review.” Journal of Pharmacy Research 4.6 (2011): 1824-1827.
  • Hashmat, Imam, Hussain Azad, and Ajij Ahmed. “Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss)-A nature’s drugstore: an overview.” Int Res J Biol Sci 1.6 (2012): 76-79.
  • Morya, G. C. K., V. Vinita, and R. Bahadur. “Clinical Study on Evaluation of the Effect of Neem, Tulsi and Henna on Psoriasis. Med Aromat Plants (Los Angeles) 6: 304. doi: 10.4172/2167-0412.1000304 Page 2 of 5 Med Aromat Plants (Los Angeles), an open access journal ISSN: 2167-0412 Volume 6• Issue 5• 1000304.” Vishamagni 3.10 (2017): 3.
  • Zuccotti, E., et al. “Nutritional strategies for psoriasis: current scientific evidence in clinical trials.” Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 22.23 (2018): 8537-51.
  • “NEEM, Nature’s Healing Gift to Humanity”, Klaus Ferlow, Neem Research, Mission BC Canada, p.69-79 2015.
  • “The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs”, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa & Michael Tierra, Neem, Lotus Press Twin Lakes WI p.162 2008.

Honey! Western research and Traditional usage



What is honey?  Nectar procured from flowers is then stored in a special ‘stomach’ or ‘crop’, brought back to the hive, and transferred to other bees (through regurgitation).  Whilst in the crop, the nectar mixes with enzymes. When transferred to the honeycomb cells, the nectar/enzyme mix is then fanned by bee wings to evaporate residual water, then encased with beeswax in the honeycomb and stored for future use.

What is honey’s chemical composition?  Honey is made up mainly of carbohydrates, specifically monosaccharides (single-sugar units) and glucose (specific single-sugar which creates energy molecules in the body), disaccharides (double-sugar units), oligosaccharides (multiple sugar units), as well as, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants (specific and unique to honey/bee pollen is pinocembrin), and organic acids

(J, Loveridge 2001).

Western Research: (not an exhaustive list)


“All bacterial species tested were susceptible to different combinations of bactericidal factors in honey, indicating that these bacteria were killed via distinct mechanisms. This clearly demonstrates the importance of the multifactorial nature of honey for its potent, broad-spectrum bactericidal activity.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. 2010)

“We have demonstrated for the first time that honey contains an antimicrobial peptide, bee defensin-1, and that this peptide substantially contributes to the bactericidal activity.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. 2010)

“Microbial resistance to honey has never been reported, which makes it a very promising topical antimicrobial agent against the infection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., MDR S. maltophilia) and in the treatment of chronic wound infections” (Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal, 2011)

“high sugar concentration, hydrogen peroxide, and the low pH are well‐known antibacterial factors in honey and more recently, methylglyoxal and the antimicrobial peptide bee defensin‐1 were identified as important antibacterial compounds in honey.” (Kwakman, Paulus HS, and Sebastian AJ Zaat, 2012)

“When ingested, honey also promotes healing and shows antibacterial action by decreasing prostaglandin levels, elevating nitric oxide levels, and exerting prebiotic effects. These factors play a major role in controlling inflammation and promoting microbial control and healing processes.” (Al-Waili, Noori S., et al. 2011)

“The accelerative effect of honey in the wound, ulcer and skin burn healing process is related to its physical properties of hygroscopicity, hypertonicity, lower pH, and complex chemical composition” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)


“honey has anticancer effect through its interference with multiple cell-signaling pathways, such as inducing apoptosis, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic pathways. Honey modulates the body immune system.” (Ahmed, Sarfraz, and Nor Hayati Othman, 2013)

“Some simple and polyphenols found in honey, namely, caffeic acid (CA), caffeic acid phenyl esters (CAPE), chrysin (CR), galangin (GA), quercetin (QU), kaempferol (KP), acacetin (AC), pinocembrin (PC), pinobanksin (PB), and apigenin (AP), have evolved as promising pharmacological agents in prevention and treatment of cancer” (Othman, Nor Hayati, 2012)

“Honey has showed antineoplastic activity in experimental bladder cancer treatment” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


“Although a possible application of honey and its active compounds as drugs against cancer is still far away from clinical practice, scientific results highlight that they could be used as immune booster for patients undergoing chemotherapy.” (Badolato, Mariateresa, et al, 2017)

“Honey has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune boosting property attributed to the high sugar concentration and the resulting osmotic effect, low PH and acidity, and hydrogen peroxide.” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“findings indicated that honey glycoproteins and glycopeptides significantly interfere with molecules of the innate immune system” (Mesaik, M. Ahmed, et al. 2015)

Digestive system

“Honey has prebiotic effects, increasing the population of bacterial microflora important for the health of gastrointestinal tract.” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“Oral administration of honey to treat and protect against gastrointestinal infection such as gastritis, duodenitis and gastric ulceration caused by bacteria and rotavirus has been reported” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)

“honey decreased the duration of diarrhea in cases of bacterial gastroenteritis as compared to group using sugar in replacement fluid.  In rehydration fluid, honey adds potassium and water uptake without increasing sodium uptake. It also helps to repair the damaged intestinal mucosa, stimulates the growth of new tissues and work as an anti-inflammatory agent (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


“Studies have shown that honey consistently produces a lower glycemic effect when compared to glucose and sucrose in normal volunteers and type I diabetics” (Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta, 2016)

“long periods of honey intake seem to reduce fasting glucose levels in humans, suggesting that honey consumption influences plasma glucose regulation, mainly through a normo- or hypoglycemic effect. Therefore, honey may be proposed as a nutritional dietary supplement for healthy individuals and for those suffering from alterations in glycemic regulation” (Cortés, Manuel E., Pilar Vigil, and Gloria Montenegro, 2011)

“it was found that honey stimulates insulin secretion, decrease blood glucose levels, elevates hemoglobin concentration and improves lipid profile” (Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi, 2013)


AR (Allergic Rhinitis) “Honey ingestion at a high dose (1g/kg body weight) improves the overall and individual symptoms of AR, and it could serve as a complementary therapy for AR.” (Asha’ari, Zamzil Amin, et al, 2013)

BPH (Birch Pollen Honey) “The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that BPH could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.” (Saarinen, K., J. Jantunen, and T. Haahtela, 2011)

“The results of this systematic review have demonstrated that honey is effective in alleviating nasal allergy symptoms in numerous mediums including nasal spray as well as oral intake when produced in the geographic area in which the patient population resides.” (Ditzel, Arielle N. 2019)


Traditional Use: (not an exhaustive list)

Ayurvedic: (Madhu = Sanskrit for honey)  for insomnia, weak digestion, cough, eye care (cataracts), gum/teeth care, wound healing, anemia, heart conditions, used for Kapha imbalance (reduces Kapha) and should be avoided by Pitta types (too heating).

Traditional Chinese Medicine: (Feng mi = honey) nourishes the yin (prevent dryness), effecting the Lungs, Spleen, Large intestine, and Stomach Organs, herbs are cooked in honey to increase yin effects, reduce toxicity (used for aconite poisoning), or to stimulate a specific organ system (specific to Spleen/Stomach, tonifying), as well as restore qi.  Also used as a laxative, emollient for the skin, to bind herbal powders in formulations, aid in taste in formulations, and as a demulcent on inflamed mucous membranes like gums.

Other cultures:  wound healing, embalming the dead, gout treatment, for nervous disorders, fevers, oxymels (honey and vinegar combo) for pain, hydromel (water and honey combo) for thirst, baldness, cough, laxative, as a healthy drink, and TB infections.

Some of my herbal-skin products contain honey for its amazing healing properties.  Some products are outlined on my website here, but a full, and seasonal, selection can be found every Wednesday at the Roberts Creek Farm Gate Eco Market, Roberts Creek Sunshine Coast BC, from 130 to 6pm (times subject to change, add RC_Farm_Gate_Eco_Market to Instagram to follow posts on times and vendor info)


  • Joel Loveridge, 2001, “The Chemistry of Bees”, School of Chemistry Bristol UK.
  • Kwakman, Paulus HS, et al. “How honey kills bacteria.” The FASEB Journal 24.7 (2010): 2576-2582.
  • Mandal, Manisha Deb, and Shyamapada Mandal. “Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 1.2 (2011): 154.
  • Kwakman, Paulus HS, and Sebastian AJ Zaat. “Antibacterial components of honey.” IUBMB life 64.1 (2012): 48-55.
  • Al-Waili, Noori S., et al. “Honey and microbial infections: a review supporting the use of honey for microbial control.” Journal of medicinal food 14.10 (2011): 1079-1096.
  • Abeshu, Motuma Adimasu, and Bekesho Geleta. “Medicinal uses of honey.” Biology and Medicine 8.2 (2016): 1.
  • Mesaik, M. Ahmed, et al. “Characterization of immunomodulatory activities of honey glycoproteins and glycopeptides.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 63.1 (2015): 177-184.
  • Ahmed, Sarfraz, and Nor Hayati Othman. “Honey as a potential natural anticancer agent: a review of its mechanisms.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
  • Othman, Nor Hayati. “Honey and cancer: sustainable inverse relationship particularly for developing nations—a review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012).
  • Eteraf-Oskouei, Tahereh, and Moslem Najafi. “Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 16.6 (2013): 731.
  • Badolato, Mariateresa, et al. “From the hive: Honey, a novel weapon against cancer.” European journal of medicinal chemistry 142 (2017): 290-299.
  • Cortés, Manuel E., Pilar Vigil, and Gloria Montenegro. “The medicinal value of honey: a review on its benefits to human health, with a special focus on its effects on glycemic regulation.” Ciencia e investigación agraria: revista latinoamericana de ciencias de la agricultura 38.2 (2011): 303-317.
  • Asha’ari, Zamzil Amin, et al. “Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis: evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.” Annals of Saudi medicine 33.5 (2013): 469-475.
  • Saarinen, K., J. Jantunen, and T. Haahtela. “Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy–a randomized controlled pilot study.” International archives of allergy and immunology 155.2 (2011): 160-166.
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