Honey may be beneficial for patients with COVID-19 by boosting the immune system, improving comorbid conditions, and antiviral activities.
Honey and its compounds are drawing attention as a beneficial natural therapy because of its ability to lessen the possibility of acute inflammation through enhancing immune response. Several studies have proved its potential healing capability against numerous chronic diseases/conditions, including:
- bacterial, and fungal infections
- boosts the immune system
- heals wounds quickly by repairing damaged tissue
- pulmonary disorders
- cardiac disorders
- autophagy dysfunction
More importantly, honey has proved its positive effect on several enveloped viruses such as HIV, influenza virus, herpes simplex, and varicella-zoster virus. Honey may be beneficial for patients with COVID-19 which is caused by an enveloped virus SARS-CoV-2 by boosting the host’s immune system, improving comorbid conditions, and antiviral activities. A clinical trial of honey on COVID-19 patients is currently underway. (3)
Honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, meaning that routine daily honey intake might provide a protective measure because of the biocidal effect of hydrogen peroxide in honey could help to clean the throat from any virus particles. Besides H2O2, antimicrobial potency of honey is strongly correlated with its natural physicochemical properties such as osmolarity, pH, viscosity and thickness. Honey is characteristically acidic with a pH from 3.5 to 4.5 and this acidic pH maximizes it’s antimicrobial activity (Mandal and Mandal, 2011, Rao et al., 2010). The first barriers against any microbial infection are body secretions like sweat, saliva, mucus and gastric acid. Body secretions belong to the innate immune system and form chemical barriers to microbial invasion by infectious agents adhering to epithelial surfaces (Chaplin, 2010). Therefore, honey could imitate body secretions in developing an environment that is not conducive for microbes ‘survival, in addition to its unusual antimicrobial activity (Olaitan et al., 2007).Taken all together. The chemical biocidal properties as well as the physical properties of honey might help to disinfect or trap Covid-19 virus particles before passing to the lungs (Fig. 2). (2)
Current findings of Honey’s use in fighting COVID-19
A phase-3 clinical trial of natural honey for the treatment of COVID-19 has also been started as mentioned by the National Institute of Health . It is already proved that honey plays a potential role against several enveloped viruses. Besides, honey acts as an antagonist of platelet-activating factor (PAF) which is involved in COVID-19 [98,99]. Therefore, we can say that honey may have a protective/beneficial effect on COVID-19. A lot of studies have been done to prove that honey is a potential natural medicine that can fight against several chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension as well as autophagy.
Also, honey can heal wounds quickly by repairing damaged tissue, boosting up the immune system, and fight with the virus, bacteria as well as fungus. However, so far without some minor issues, there is no report of the serious harmful effect of honey on the human body. This review will be helpful to rethink the insights of possible potential therapeutic effects of honey in fighting against COVID-19 by strengthening the immune system, autophagy, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti-hypertensive as well as cardioprotective effects (Figure 2). However, basic research on the effect of honey on SARS-CoV-2 replication and/or host immune system need to be investigated by in vitro and in vivo studies.
Proven ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection
There are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection from the COVID-19 virus and reduce the risk of spreading it to others. The CDC recommends following these precautions:
- Avoid close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
- Keep distance between yourself and others (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters), when you’re in indoor public spaces if you’re not fully vaccinated. This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness. Keep in mind some people may have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they don’t have symptoms or don’t know they have COVID-19.
- Avoid crowds and indoor places that have poor air flow (ventilation).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces if you’re in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases, whether or not you’re vaccinated. The CDC recommends wearing the most protective mask possible that you’ll wear regularly, fits well and is comfortable.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue. Wash your hands right away.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, electronics and counters, regularly.
- Stay home from work, school and public areas and stay home in isolation if you’re sick, unless you’re going to get medical care. Avoid taking public transportation, taxis and ride-hailing services if you’re sick. (3)
2) Fighting against the second wave of COVID-19: Can honeybee products help protect against the pandemic? Yahya Al Naggar,a,b,⁎ John P. Giesy,c Mohamed M. Abdel-Daim,d,e Mohammad Javed Ansari,f Saad N. Al-Kahtani,g and Galal Yahyah,i https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832137/
Host cell and SARS-CoV-2 viral envelope (E), membrane (M), nucleocapsid (N), and spike (S) proteins (Source; https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/technical-documents/protocols/biology/ncov-coronavirus-proteins.html).
3) Prospects of honey in fighting against COVID-19: pharmacological insights and therapeutic promises.
Khandkar Shaharina Hossain,a,1 Md. Golzar Hossain,b,1 Akhi Moni,a Md. Mahbubur Rahman,a Umma Habiba Rahman,a Mohaimanul Alam,a Sushmita Kundu,a Md. Masudur Rahman,c Md. Abdul Hannan,a,d and Md Jamal Uddina,