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Honey is a thick, sweet fluid produced by bees from plant nectars. It is commonly used as a sweetener in food, but should be avoided in infants.

Some chemicals in honey might kill certain bacteria and fungus. When applied to the skin, honey might serve as a barrier to moisture and keep skin from sticking to wound dressings. It might also provide nutrients and chemicals that speed wound healing. But honey can become contaminated with germs during production. Although rare, some infants have gotten botulism from taking honey by mouth.

People commonly use honey for burns, wound healing, swelling and sores inside the mouth, and cough. It is also used for many other conditions but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses. There is also no good evidence to support using honey for COVID-19.

Don't confuse honey with bee pollen, bee venom, or royal jelly, which are other types of bee products.

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When taken by mouth: Honey is likely safe for most adults. But when honey is produced from the nectar of rhododendrons, it is likely unsafe. This type of honey contains a toxin that may cause heart problems, low blood pressure, and chest pain.

When applied to the skin or on the inside of the mouth: Honey is likely safe for most adults.

When applied into the eye: It is possibly safe to use specific eye drops containing manuka honey (Optimel Manuka Plus Eye Drops; Melcare, Biomedical Pty Ltd). These eye drops are usually applied into the eyes 2-3 times daily for up to 4 weeks.

When applied into the nose: Diluted manuka honey solution is possibly safe for most adults when sprayed into the nose for up to 2 weeks.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Honey is likely safe when taken in food amounts. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if it is safe to use honey in medicinal amounts when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to the amounts found in foods.

Children: Honey is likely safe when taken by mouth in children who are at least one year old. Honey is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth by children less than 12 months old. Do not use honey in infants under 12 months old. Botulism poisoning is a risk at this age. But this is not a danger for older children or adults.

Diabetes: Using large amounts of honey might increase blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Honey contains sugar and should be used in moderation.

Pollen allergies: Avoid honey if you are allergic to pollen. Honey, which is made from pollen, may cause allergic reactions.

There are no known interactions with medications. Before taking this product, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Honey might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Honey has most often been used by adults in doses of 35-75 grams by mouth daily for 1-4 weeks. It's been applied to the skin directly and in creams, dressings, and gauzes. Honey has also been applied to the eye in the form of eye creams, gels, and drops. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

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