Honey is often considered a beneficial food for asthma and bronchitis patients. However, some patients with allergic asthma may have the opposite effect. If you have asthma, we recommend that you determine whether you are allergic to honey before using it for therapeutic purposes. Honey strengthens your immune system and provides protection against respiratory infections, colds, and influenza which increase the severity of asthma. Adding honey to your daily diet will help to alleviate irritating symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and pinching in the chest. Honey contains substances that soften mucus in the throat.
What Is Asthma
Asthma is an airways hypersensitivity to environmental factors. There is swelling in the airways and the membrane called the mucosa that lays the airways. This swelling interferes with airflow from time to time, causing respiratory distress. These periods are called asthma attacks.
Allergic asthma occurs, especially in spring and summer. Allergic rhinitis, which affects approximately 20-25 percent of the population and is common in women, can cause asthma if left untreated. Allergies are caused by an abnormal response of the nose against small particles in the air, called allergens. In some people, these particles can cause allergic asthma in the lungs and allergic conjunctivitis in the eyes. Environmental factors and genetic predisposition play a major role in the development of allergies.
Asthma manifests itself in attacks caused by obstruction of the airways. Symptoms of asthma are usually; cough, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma symptoms, which help to diagnose asthma, are being recurrent, appearing at night and in the morning, being exposed to some allergen substances or being triggered after exercise. These symptoms do not occur between attacks and asthma patients feel good in these periods. The diagnosis of asthma is made by detailed patient history, examination findings, and pulmonary function tests. General asthma symptoms are as follows;
- Cough (usually dry and in crises, may wake you up at night.)
- Chest congestion
- Whistling while breathing
- Shortness of breath
Honey for Asthma Treatment
Honey has been used as a natural remedy in cultures throughout the world for centuries. It has antioxidant properties that fight against inflammation and increase immunity. Many people take honey to soothe the sore throat and the cough. Honey is also a home remedy for allergy symptoms. Asthma and allergies are related conditions, but there are some important differences. If you are allergic to things like pollen and dust in the environment, your body produces antibodies in response. These antibodies cause the production of chemicals such as histamines. It is what causes congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, itching, coughing, and other allergic reactions.
The same antibodies can trigger an asthma attack. However, unlike allergies, asthma is a deep-seated problem in the lungs and upper respiratory tract. It is a more serious health problem than environmental allergies. Even mild effort can lead to asthma attacks in some people. Untreated asthma can be life-threatening.
How Does Honey Treat Asthma?
Honey seems to be most useful as a night cough suppressant. Night asthma can cause coughing, wheezing and chest tension. These symptoms can disturb your sleep. Researchers recommend taking 2 teaspoons of honey before going to bed. The sweetness of honey is believed to trigger your salivary glands to produce more saliva. This can lubricate your airways and alleviate your cough. Honey can also reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes (lung airways) and help break down mucus, which makes it difficult for you to breathe.
1 teaspoon of honey mixed with 8 drops of hot water to consume two or three times a day. Be careful not to make the water too hot. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of honey and take it just before bedtime. Honey and cinnamon can help remove phlegm from the throat and give your immune system a boost. Squeeze 1/2 lemon juice into a glass of warm water and add 1 teaspoon of honey. Lemon juice has antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system and can help clear the mucus.
What Research Say
The therapeutic value of honey in the treatment of asthma and in many other conditions has been subjected to several studies by researchers. In one study, honey was compared to dextromethorphan, the main substance in most cough suppressants. Honey was good for reducing the severity and frequency of night cough.
Another study observed the effect of honey and the effect of several other “non-traditional treatments” on asthma. The study found that none of the non-conventional treatments tested did help participants with asthma. In an animal study, aerosolized honey was tested as an asthma treatment in rabbits. The study had positive results, but it still needs to be tested on people. A large clinical study may provide a better understanding of whether honey is an appropriate treatment. However, such a study has not been done yet.
Things to Keep in Mind
One of the biggest concerns about using honey is the risk of allergic reactions. If you have an allergic reaction to bee stings or bee pollen, you should probably avoid honey. Honey allergy can cause symptoms such as:
- difficulty swallowing
- swelling under the skin
- difficulty breathing
For the majority of people, honey consumed in small to medium doses is safe. If you have a heart condition or digestive condition, you should talk to your doctor before trying honey. The same applies if you are taking antibiotics or medications for your heart or nervous system. Honey should not be given to children under 12 months. The risk of botulism in infants is extremely serious. Also, if you have diabetes, remember that honey can cause an increase in your blood sugar.
Important Lifestyle Changes to Get Rid of Asthma
- Exercise regularly.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid exposure to allergens by staying inside if the number of allergens outside is high.
- Use your air conditioner so you can keep your home cool without opening windows.
- Replace the filter frequently in air conditioners, cleaners or humidifiers.
- Clean your house as much as possible and free of allergens.
- Follow your doctor’s advice as to when to take your medication.
- Make sure you know how to prevent asthma attacks and how to keep breathing constantly.
What Are the Other Benefits of Honey to Human Health
- Vitamins, minerals and other substances found in honey
You can meet the many vitamins, minerals, and amino acids your body needs by consuming honey. Chemical and biological research methods have been found that honey contains various vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K. In addition, there are many minerals in honey such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Another reason why honey is a source of healing is that it contains many amino acids and enzymes that the body needs.
- Protects against flu and colds and suppresses natural coughs
If you are stuck with a cough you can’t stop, studies show that honey is more beneficial than many soothing non-prescription cough syrup. The intense consistency of honey will cover your throat and soothe the nerve endings that make you more susceptible to cough; besides, it will also protect you from the simple flu and cold you catch in winter. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that honey should be used as natural cough medicine. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends the use of honey for the treatment of cough.
- Helps strengthen the immune system
Consuming honey on a daily basis helps to strengthen your immune system and fight diseases. It helps to increase your antioxidant (Phenolic compounds and Flavonoids contained in) levels. Depending on the type of honey consumed, eating honey with a high polyphenolic concentration (usually dark) is associated with reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Antioxidants reduce the effectiveness of so-called free radicals, which pass through our body through other nutrients or other means, thus reducing your risk of cancer. It also helps combat infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
- Helps treat wounds, infections, and burns
Honey was recommended by the World Health Forum in 1981 to treat wounds and infections. Applying a thin layer of honey to a small burn or wound will suppress the sensation of pain, sterilize the area, and have an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, the antibacterial properties of honey (such as hydrogen peroxide-oxygenated water) also prevent the burn from becoming infected and help to heal smoother with less crust. Gently apply with a cotton swab and cover with a bandage. However, honey is only suitable for small wounds and burns where you will apply antibiotic ointment. Infected visible wound and burn treatments should be evaluated by a medical professional. In an article published in the Scientific World Journal, researchers provided data confirming that natural honey is as effective as Eusol antiseptics (an antiseptic solution prepared with calcium chloride and boric acid) in reducing wound infections.
- Helps maintain digestive system
Honey helps reduce the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause inflammation, acid reflux and stomach burns. Recent research has shown that honey can reduce the undesirable effects of gastric acid by covering the esophagus and stomach and reducing the upstream flow of undigested nutrients.
- Reduces diarrhea time
According to research on honey, it was observed that honey reduces the severity and duration of diarrhea. It also increases potassium and water intake, which is particularly useful when diarrhea occurs. In addition, honey blocks the effects of pathogens that commonly cause diarrhea.
- Helps to solve problems such as sleep disorders and depression
Honey helps to relax the body for sleep and facilitates the movement of the tryptophan, which helps people stay asleep. Honey is a natural sugar that allows tryptophan to enter the brain easily. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce. This amino acid plays an important role in the production of serotonin hormone. Serotonin is the basic requirement for mood regulation and sleep. Complaints of depression and insomnia that a person will be exposed to without the appropriate amount of serotonin hormone will increase.
- The relationship of honey with cosmetics
Honey has antibacterial properties and is used for removing acne and blackheads without irritating your skin. Also ideal for sensitive skin. Honey facial masks help prevent acne, acne formation, and bacteria accumulation while helping the existing acne to heal in less time. In addition, it captures moisture to make the skin softer. Warm the honey gently for fluidity and apply it to your skin as a mask, rinse your face with warm water for about ten minutes. In this way, your skin will be cleaned with a mask that does not contain harsh chemicals.
- Nature’s main energy enhancer
Honey is a great source of natural carbohydrates that provide strength and energy to our body and is known to be effective in increasing the performance and endurance of athletes instantly. Natural sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise. The glucose in honey is absorbed quickly by the body and provides an immediate increase in energy, while fructose is absorbed more slowly by the body, providing you with the energy you need during the day. Honey has a low glycemic index (especially honeydew honey, pine honey, cedar honey, etc.), therefore blood sugar levels have been found to increase much less than other sugar types.
- The relationship between honey and diabetes and removing the added sugar to your diet
The naturally sweet taste of honey makes it an ideal alternative to artificial sugar in your diet. The artificial sugar you eat and drink does not provide nutritional benefit and provides you with extra calories. This leads to weight gain, as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. You can add honey to foods and beverages to sweeten your nutrients without the negative impact of artificial sugar on health. If you are already suffering from diabetes, we recommend that you consume honeydew honey (Pine honey, Cedar honey, etc.) in consultation with your doctor. It has been found that honey has a low glycemic index, and blood sugar levels increase much less than other sugar types. Because secretory honey types contain 15% less natural sugar than flower honey types. However, although it is natural, it is recommended that diabetics still should pay attention to honey consumption.