As the cold weather rolls around again, people start to worry about what the next flu season will bring. However, while modern medicine is offering more ways than ever to prevent or treat the flu, including the flu shots and antiviral medications like oseltamavir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza), there are natural ways to do this as well which do not have the side effects of more traditional treatments. One of these natural ways is the use of honey, specifically Manuka honey, to help fight off the flu.
Recent Flu Research
A recent study published in the Archives of Medical Research, canine kidney cells were infected in a petrie dish with a common strain of the flu known as A/WSN/3 and were then exposed to several varieties of honey, including buckwheat, renge, asacia, kanro and manuka. The researchers were aware of the antiviral properties that honey has displayed in other research, so it came as no surprise that all five varieties continued to display significant antiviral activity. However, manuka honey emerged as the most potent in its antiviral properties and was able to effectively stop the virus in its tracks. This is believed to be because of the flavonoids, potent phytochemicals which have marked antimicrobial properties.
Apart from the flu, scientists have also studied the effects of manuka honey on treating more serious conditions like cancer. In one peer-reviewed study, researchers treated cancer cells with manuka honey in different concentrations for a 24- to 72-hour period and found that this form of honey was associated with decreased growth of colon, breast and skin cancer cells. While more research is going to be done to follow up on this, results certainly look promising.
Manuka Honey and Treatment of Other Conditions
There is almost no end to the variety of conditions that manuka honey can treat. Topically, it is excellent to help promote healing of wounds and to treat skin conditions as diverse as psoriasis, poison ivy and eczema – and, ironically, it will even help treat bee stings! Taken internally, it has been shown to help improve digestion and can help improve gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. It can also help manage diabetes, strengthen the immune system and reduce high cholesterol levels. Virtually all body systems benefit from including it in the diet.
So if you are interested in a natural therapy which will not only ward off the flu but protect you from other conditions ranging from the minor to the serious, try out a tablespoon of this remarkable honey in your tea daily. It is a small change to make but can reap big benefits. It can be a little harder to find than clover honey for instance, but should be available in most health food stores or even online.
More by Christine . S