Honey: The Antibiotic Of The Future! Part 1


Islamic Medicine
Staff member
Honey: The Antibiotic Of The Future! Part 1

By Nora Belfedal

In the Qur'an, Allah says that in paradise will be "rivers of honey pure."

"Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought"(16:69).

Although honey's healing benefits were known to Muslims more than a thousand years ago, scientists are just now beginning to research it's amazing powers. Indeed, Peter Molan, biochemist at the University of Waikato (New Zealand) has - for the past 17 years - researched into the healing properties of honey and has shown scientifically that all honeys have varying degrees of such properties (Molan, p.1). Honey contains many minerals and vitamins beneficial to man. However, one of the most important properties seems to be its antibiotic action.

Each drop of honey contains many minerals (potassium, sodium, phosphate, copper, iron, calcium, manganese), enzymes, trace elements, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C, D, K), as well as beta-carotene. Honey also contains glucose, fructose and saccharine (70%) and is very preservative just by itself (billybee.com). Of course honey from a supermarket, which has been heated and filtered, may not be as therapeutic as one taken directly from the comb (Ifas, p.4).

Molan's favorite story about honey makes reference to a 20-year-old wound in a British woman. Bacteria had been festering in an abscess in her armpit for years, resisting all the antibiotics she had taken. Nothing seemed to help her and she could barely use her arm. In August 1999, she heard about honey's healing effects and convinced her doctors to put some in her dressing. At that point they were willing to try anything and were not very hopeful that anything would work. However, they were quite surprised when one month later the wound finally healed and the woman could use her arm again.

Since then, honeys have been tested on the different species of bacteria responsible for wound infection (Molan, p.2). The State Medical Society of Wisconsin announced," It is only a matter of time before antibiotics lose their effectiveness because their overuse creates ever-stronger germs."

Thus, we may have to go back to the to the old fashioned remedy. However, "old fashioned", is not as bad as it sounds. Effectively, the potency of honey was found to be superior to all types of antibiotics. Two years ago, Australia approved honey as a medicine and began selling it in pharmacies (Whichman, p.1).

Honey is now known for its antibiotic, antioxidant and antiviral capabilities. In fact, honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is believed to be the main reason for its anti-microbial activity. If one wants to use it as a dressing, the best way is to use sterilized honey. However, the only way to sterilize honey without destroying its antibacterial agents is through gamma-irradiations. Honey is also used for sore throats, colds, heartburn, fever blisters, cuts, acne, skin disorders, ulcers, stomach inflammations and cataracts… and its flavor excites the appetite (The National Honey Board).

The advantage of the honey used externally is that during the healing process the re-growth of the sick part of the body is enhanced by honey's moisturizing properties. Molan explains the mechanism of this process:

  1. The nectar, being made of glucose and fructose, is very attracted by water. When put on a wound, it absorbs water and body fluids, taking and destroying bacteria and inhibiting their growth too.
  2. Raw honey contains glucose oxidase, an enzyme that produces a mild antiseptic when mixed with a bit of water. This enzyme is destroyed by heat and pasteurization. That is why it cannot be found in commercial honeys (Molan, p.3)
Of course raw, unprocessed honey, which is usually darker, has the most medicinal and nutritional value and is even the most flavorful. Particularly active, Manuka Honey from New Zealand has all the healing antibacterial properties of other honeys, with some additional components. "All honey is not created equal, however certain types such as "active" Manuka from New Zealand and perhaps Honeydew from Central Europe are more effective for infections," says Molan (Molan, p.2).

While the healing properties of honey may be news to modern science, Prophet Mohammad (saws) commented on its value 1400 years ago. Indeed, once a man came to the Prophet and said, "My brother has got loose motions." The Prophet said to him, "Let him drink honey (Bukhari)." Furthermore, the work of Molan has provided substantial evidence that honey holds promise in the treatment of peptic ulcers and upper gastroenteritis disorders. Despite its high acid concentration, the nectar is very digestible and tones the kidneys.

The Prophet (saws) also said, "If there is any healing in your medicines, then it is in cupping, a gulp of honey or branding with fire (cauterization) that suits the ailment, but I don't like to be (cauterized) branded with fire." Indeed, honey also nourishes, regulates and purifies blood circulation. Its fructose is the only natural inert sugar and it goes straight into the blood, nourishing nerves and providing the brain with extra energy.

In case of first-degree burns, "the raw wild flower honey formed a flexible protective barrier which prevents infections, absorbs pus and reduced pain, irritation and odor" writes Leigh Broadhurst (Healthwellexchange.com). A Romanian doctor stated that he tried honey on cataract patients, and 2002 of his 2094 patients recovered completely (Islamweb.net).

Another function has been found for honey too: an Oklahoma allergist has said that raw honey is an excellent treatment for 90% of all allergies. A person who is suffering from an allergy to a certain plant should eat honey made from this plant (Reallyrawhoney.com).

Honey can also help heal Tinea, for it has anti-fungal activities; but not many species of fungi have been tested. Mycoses are quite difficult to treat, for they need both anti-fungal and antibacterial treatment. However, Manuka honey showed that its hydrogen peroxide factors inhibit the growth of fungi. Although, the concentration of honey needed to treat Mycoses is higher than that needed to treat bacteria (Molan, p.3).

However, paradoxical, sweet honey can also protect the teeth. Its anti-microbial activity has been tested on several species of dental plaque bacteria. A study shows that honey has been proven to sharply reduce acid production, thus killing the bacteria responsible for dental caries. Researchers believe that it also makes a difference in fighting inflammatory infections of the gums (Cbshealthwatch.com).

One Companion of the Prophet reported, "In our holy battles, we used to get honey (Bukhari)." According to what we now know, this was a logical choice for travelers and soldiers, as honey is a supersaturated sugar and is easy to digest because of the monosaccharides; it is also a superior antibiotic. The natural carbohydrates contained within honey, when combined with proteins, help maintain a good glycaemia - which is important for recovering after a hard-days efforts. By maintaining a good glucose level, honey also maintains a good insulin level and helps people to avoid hypoglycemia. Some studies showed that this nectar could thus boost endurance performance in athletes (Cbshealthwatch.com).

However, although honey is a very safe and natural remedy, it should not be given to infants under one year-old. Honey is a source of bacteria spores that product a toxin which can cause infant botulism, even though it is rare (a risk of botulism exists in the ingestion of any uncooked food!). Botulism is a rare disease that affects the nervous system and can lead to palsy. Nevertheless, it can still be use as a dressing for burns and cuts (Manukahoneyusa.com).

"And your Lord taught the honey bee…" (16:68). This verse explains the excessive production of the bees. They have been taught to produce not only for themselves but also for human beings! The excellent organization within the hive is also proof of this "teaching."

So, honey should be the first choice in cases of health problems as it is natural and has a high nutrient value; it does not have the side effects of drugs and is more affordable than most other kinds of therapy.


Molan, Peter, MD. "Honey Research."

Sahih Bukhari. "Book of Medicine."

Ifas. "APIS Newspaper." University of Florida. August 2000.

The National Honey Board.

Whichman, Julie. "Honey." Health Watch. Vol 21:12. March16 2000.



University of Waikato Honey Research Unit




Islamic Medicine
Staff member
Honey: The Antibiotic Of The Future! Part 2: Bee Pollen

Honey: The Antibiotic Of The Future! Part 2: Bee Pollen

By Nora Belfedal

Ali (raa) once said, " The Muslim is like the bee who eats only good things and only good things come from them."

Last week we learned about the benefits of honey. This week we will explore other bee products.

Bee pollen:

Pollen is the ultra-fine powder that makes up the male element of a flower. Honeybees, who collect it, pass by poor pollen and collect only that which is nutritious and healthy. Some experts even say that the bee chooses " by instinct " those good flowers. This can be explained by the verse, "And your Lord taught the bee…" (16:68).

Bee pollen contains all the elements humans need in a form easily assimilated by the body. For this reason, bee pollen is called "the perfect food". Indeed, it contains all the minerals (14), vitamins (13), trace minerals, proteins, amino acids (15), enzymes, co-enzymes (over 5,000) and hormones known to man and probably many more known only to Allah (Pollen Power, p.3).

Pollen is a prime source of proteins, which cause elevation of the gamma globulins of the body and increase its immune defense reactions. Known as a "Fountain of Youth", it has linoleic acid, which is the only fatty acid for the nutrition of the hair and skin, and which slows the aging process and increases capillary strength. "Drs. Louveave and E.L. Mand of France report that experiments showed that Honey Bee Pollen can reverse the aging, darkening, wrinkling and blemishing of the skin" (New Horizons, p.1).

Bee pollen is also very helpful for fatigue (psychological or physical), immune system deficiencies, anemia, sleep disorders, diabetes, cholesterol, diarrhea, constipation, prostate disorders, and rheumatism. Cartson Wade said, "Bee Pollen is a natural way to improve metabolism and help control and take weight off." He recommends eating pollen before meals for those who want to lose weight or eating it after meals to increase weight (Pollen Power, p.3)

Many cases of stress and nervous disorders also respond to this miracle food because of the high concentration of micronutrients, particularly zinc and selenium. A stressed body needs an enormous amount of vitamins, especially vitamins B and C. If the body does not have them regularly, it can cause long-term damage to the glandular system. This can be solved or avoided by taking bee pollen that is easily and quickly assimilated. For this reason, bee pollen is actually used by many athletes to increase energy, endurance and performance.

In addition, the Women's Clinic at the University of Vienna, Austria, led by Hermuss, found that bee pollen could also be an effective complimentary treatment for cancer. They gave a bee pollen supplement to women who have cancer and found that they suffered fewer side effects from their radiation therapy. In another study at the University Hospital of Wales, a trial on 60 men showed that pollen extract is an effective treatment for prostate enlargement and that it increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy. However, unlike chemotherapy, pollen does not attack the tumor but stimulates the immune response (National Honey Board, p.2).


Bees make propolis from the resinous sap of the trees. They use it to protect their hive from viruses and bacteria. For humans it is an excellent antibiotic, eliminate toxins and pollutants and helps stop the dependence on drugs. It is very rich in flavonoids and in acids like phenolic, caffeic, cinnamic etc. Rao, of the American Health Foundation in NY, reported that caffeic acid helps prevent colon cancer (Challem, p.2).

Propolis has also been found to prevent the growth of bacteria, especially those strains responsible for surgical infections and pneumonia. Other scientific researches have shown that propolis inhibit the activity of bacteria causing dental caries and protects against several other species of bacteria. It may also act on blood pressure, stomach ulcers and sexual strength too (Challem, p.2).

Propolis works as many antibiotics drugs do. Effectively, it inhibits the bacterial cell division and destroys their protective envelop-like cytoplasm. However, unlike antibiotics, bee propolis works not only against viruses but it also prevents their reproduction, thanks to its cinnamic acids. A study published in the Journal of Ethno-pharmacology (Challem, p.1) showed that the antioxidant properties of propolis have the same function as vitamin E, which is very important for skin treatments and degenerative diseases like, cancer, diabetes, senility, and strokes (Challem, p.1).

Royal Jelly:

Royal Jelly is sometimes difficult to find because of its high demand and difficulty of manufacture. This white gelatinous substance is secreted by the salivary glands of worker bees. It is the food for the queen bee, who is the only bee in the hive that lives for several years (worker bees only live for a few weeks). Royal Jelly, which is synthesized during the digestion of bee pollen, is a mixture of various proteins and water and has a reputation of maintaining youthfulness in people as well as bees.

"… there issues from within their bodies [the bees] a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for mankind. Verily in this is a sign for those who give thought" (16:68-69).

The collagen of bee propolis helps moisturize the skin and soothe dermatitis. Royal Jelly also contains B vitamins - especially B5 - which eases stressed nerves; amino acids; and minerals such as calcium, zinc, potassium, iron and manganese. Royal Jelly is also rich in pantothenic acid - part of a B vitamin complex, which may enable it to treat some bone disorders and assist many metabolic processes (Barret, p.3).

Some studies have shown that it has more benefits when injected. Royal Jelly possesses an excellent and powerful antibacterial protein called royalisin, which has proven to protect against several species of bacteria. Royal Jelly may also have effects on tumors. In a study on mice done in Japan, it also appeared that Royal Jelly reduced and inhibited the tumor. The mice treated with Royal Jelly lived longer than the ones who were not treated with Royal Jelly (Challem, p.4).

However, although this product is miraculous, it should not be consumed by people who have asthma or anaphylaxis without the advice of a doctor. This is because some products made of Royal Jelly and other herbs, such as BeeAlive and BeeSweet, have been the objects of condemnation for false claim by the federal court (Rhoades, p.1).

Bee products, especially honey, are usually considered only as food. However, it is time to include them in our medicine and daily diets. Scientists of our time are now accepting this "old remedy" which was already beautifully mentioned in the Holy Quran and in the Sunnah, 14 hundred years ago! We should finally embrace it as well.

"Honey is a remedy for every illness and the Quran is a remedy for all illnesses of the mind, therefore I [The Prophet] recommend to you both remedies the Quran and honey" (Bukhari).


Ali, Yusuf. "Quran."

Barret, Stephen, MD. "Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly and Propolis"

Bukhari. "Book of Medicine." Sahih Bukhari.

Challem, Jack. "Medical Journals Document Importance of Bee Propolis and Honey." The Nutrition Reporter. 1995.

National Honey Board. "The Natural Advantage." National Honeybee News. July 2000.

New Horizons. "The World's Only Perfect Food."

Pollen Power. "Pollen Power." 1999.

Rhoades, John Neil. "Asthma." About.com guide