Is Eating Honey Good for Psoriasis?

February 10, 2024

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Psoriasis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition causing itchy, painful plaques on the skin. It affects over 8 million Americans. While no definitive cure exists, various treatments aim to ease psoriasis severity and discomfort. Alongside conventional methods, certain natural remedies also demonstrate potential for aiding symptom management. One such remedy garnering attention is honey – both traditional and manuka honey varieties. Here we analyze evidence on honey’s efficacy for psoriasis, particularly powerful manuka honey derived from the manuka bush in New Zealand.

An Overview of Honey and Psoriasis

Honey’s use as a natural healing agent traces back millennia, with records of ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans utilizing it for wounds and diseases. Honey possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit certain skin conditions. Here we explore the potential mechanisms behind honey as a psoriasis aid:

  • Antibacterial Effects: Honey demonstrates significant antibacterial action against bacteria potentially worsening psoriatic plaques and symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: Compounds within honey exhibit inflammation-reducing qualities that may ease systemic inflammation driving flares.
  • Immune-Modulating Effects: Certain elements in raw honey can modulate overactive immune responses behind psoriasis pathology.
  • Moisturizing & Healing Properties: Honey is moisturizing, promoting skin healing and plaque softening.

These healing attributes indicate honey’s potential for reducing psoriatic inflammation, infection risk, immune dysfunction and skin irritation. Both oral consumption and topical use demonstrate benefits. But could manuka honey with its unique properties offer particular advantages?

What Makes Manuka Honey Different?

Manuka honey derives entirely from New Zealand’s manuka bush. It boasts a few key distinctions:

  • Higher Antibacterial Strength: Manuka honey has heightened antibacterial potency from compounds like methylglyoxal that standard honeys lack.
  • Added Healing Compounds: It contains heightened wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components.
  • Certified Quality: Genuine manuka honey comes rated by UMF score, indicating antibacterial and healing efficacy.

With such elevated healing properties, manuka honey shows particular promise for skin disorders like psoriasis involving infection risks and inflammation. Early evidence analyzing its psoriasis benefits appears positive.

Emerging Research on Manuka Honey for Psoriasis

Though still in early stages, initial studies analyzing manuka honey for psoriasis demonstrate encouraging results:

  • In one study, a manuka honey ointment significantly improved psoriasis symptoms, with reduced scaling and redness.
  • Participants in another study experienced decreased psoriatic plaque thickness and lowered inflammation markers with manuka honey use.
  • Early lab studies also show manuka honey limits psoriatic cell growth, suggesting disease-modifying potential.

Though larger scale human trials are still needed, these initial outcomes indicate manuka honey could relieve psoriasis patients via multiple mechanisms.

Other Psoriasis Diet Options Alongside Honey

While no definitive dietary cure exists for psoriasis, evidence shows certain foods can help minimize flare severity. Some anti-psoriasis options to pair with honey include:

  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables – Foods high in antioxidants like berries, leafy greens and tomatoes can reduce inflammatory damage driving flares.
  • Fatty fish high in omega-3s – Fish like salmon and sardines supply skin-soothing omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Herbal teas – Anti-inflammatory teas like green tea, chamomile and turmeric tea help reduce inflammation and irritation.
  • Probiotic foods – Probiotic yogurt, kefir, kimchi and kombucha counterbalance inflammatory gut bacteria.
  • Spices like turmeric and ginger – These antioxidant, anti-inflammatory spices ease systemic inflammation and skin redness.

A diet high in natural anti-inflammatory foods makes a useful accompaniment to honey and manuka honey use for optimal psoriasis relief. Monitoring personal flare triggers also remains key.

Using Honey in Practice: Dosage, Risks & Considerations

Though generally well-tolerated, some considerations apply when using honey for psoriasis:

  • Dosage: No standard dosage exists. However, 1-3 teaspoons of honey daily demonstrates benefits anecdotally and in trials.
  • Risks: Raw honey can rarely cause botulism in infants under 12 months. Those allergic to bees or pollen should use caution.
  • Quality: Raw, organic, unprocessed honey offers more antioxidants versus filtered commercial products. Manuka honey should have a UMF rating above 10+.
  • Response Variability: Individual reactions vary with natural products. Tracking symptoms helps determine efficacy.

Overall, adding small regular amounts of quality raw honey or manuka honey may aid psoriasis outcomes for many, with minimal risks. Combining with moisturizing creams boosts topical benefits. But working with healthcare providers and monitoring reactions remains vital.

FAQs: Honey, Manuka Honey & Psoriasis

Could eating honey improve my psoriasis symptoms?

Potentially yes – raw honey’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties could help minimize factors driving flares when consumed. But larger studies are still needed.

What are the specific benefits of manuka honey for psoriasis?

Manuka honey contains heightened antibacterial, wound-healing and anti-inflammatory compounds that show particular promise for easing psoriasis plaque and irritation in early studies.

Is manuka honey clearly better than regular honey for psoriasis?

Early small studies demonstrate manuka honey’s superior efficacy. But more research is required to truly compare outcomes. However, manuka does contain more active medicinal compounds.

Can you be allergic to manuka honey?

Yes, those allergic to regular honey, beeswax or pollen should use caution and spot test manuka honey first. Reactions are rare when quality honey is used.

How often should you eat honey to help psoriasis symptoms?

No standard frequency exists, but 1-3 teaspoons of raw honey daily alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle routines appears beneficial for many psoriasis sufferers.

The Takeaway: A Promising Future for Honey-Based Psoriasis Care

While still investigative, the accumulating research highlights honey – especially manuka honey – as a promising future psoriasis treatment. Via antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing actions, adding honey alongside conventional methods could amplify relief for some psoriasis patients. The quality and medicinal grade do appear to matter, with manuka honey showing remarkable potential thus far. Of course, consulting doctors first and monitoring reactions is key with any new regimen. But when used sensibly alongside healthy lifestyle choices, honey and manuka honey could offer much-needed symptom relief for those battling chronic psoriatic discomfort.

Key Takeaways

  • Raw honey has antibacterial, wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease psoriasis discomfort.
  • Manuka honey contains additional medicinal compounds that demonstrate particular efficacy against psoriasis in early studies.
  • Alongside medications, honey and manuka honey could provide supplemental support for reducing psoriasis scaling, inflammation and infection risk.
  • Individual reactions vary to natural products – tracking flare-ups and symptoms remains vital with honey use.
  • When used safely and sensibly, incorporating honey alongside healthy lifestyle and diet choices may support psoriasis management.
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