Honey and Its Molecular Pharmacology: An Essay

Summya Rashid, Andleeb Khan, Aimen Firdous, Yusra Al Dhaheri, Adil Farooq Wali, Rehan Khan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Honey is a sugary, viscous fluid being used nearly 5500 years ago, since prehistoric times. In Sumerian tablet, the first inscribed evidence of honey was found in 2100-2000 B.C. Most olden civilizations like Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Mayans, and Babylonians, used honey mutually aimed at nutrition as well as for medicinal purposes. It exhibits numerous health- benefits which include anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic, and protective effects in respiration, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular, and nervous system. Based on origin, or its way of harvest and processing, honey can be categorized as blossom honey, honeydew or forest honey, monofloral, multifloral honey, raw honey, granulated honey, strained honey, ultra-filtered honey, ultrasonicated honey, chunk honey, comb honey, dried honey, whipped or creamed honey. The methods of extraction, processing, packaging, and preservation of honey alter the physical appearance of honey. Nevertheless, some elementary properties allied with honey contribute to it, regardless of the protocols used in the formation like content of H2O, matter configuration, and retention of water. Other physical structures and features of honey include taste, odor, color, heat, and crystallization. Depending on honey’s source, oldness, and storage/packing conditions, liquid honey may be either clear or no color, yellow, amber to dark amber, or black in color. Honey consists of pollen grains, water, waxes, vitamins, sugars, essential minerals, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, pigments, and pollen grains, and numerous phytochemicals with other 180 types of diverse complexes. Chemically, it consists of enzymes, organic acids, and phenolic acids with gluconic acid being the most abundant organic acid. Phenolic acids include non-flavonoids and flavonoids like isoflavones, flavones, anthocyanidins, flavanones, flavonols, chalcones, and enzymes include glucose oxidase, saccharase, catalase, and diastase and others, respectively. The effect of different constituents of honey obtained have been found to inhibit inflammation, oxidative stress, proliferation, metastasis, angiogenesis, and induce apoptosis. Also, honey has been found to regulate diabetes, cardiovascular and neuropharmacological diseases. However, more mechanism-based research needs to be done to promote the consumption of this healthy food in the general population, to promote a healthy lifestyle, and to regulate normal processes of life.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTherapeutic Applications of Honey and its Phytochemicals
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9789811573057
ISBN (Print)9789811573040
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular pharmacology
  • Honey
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Polyphenols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Chemistry


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