The digestive system is a complex biological structure that your body needs to function properly. If any one part of the system malfunctions, you can develop problems ranging from heartburn and ulcers to life-threatening diseases. Despite anecdotal evidence and laboratory studies that suggest honey aids digestion, clinical studies do not show any supporting evidence, according to a study published in "The British Journal of Nutrition." Consult a physician before you begin any home remedy.
The process of digestion carries food through the long, entwining digestive tract while other organs break food down into molecules your body can use for fuel. Your liver and pancreas produce digestive fluids, your gallbladder is used for storage, your nervous system triggers the whole process and your circulatory system relays cellular signals and carries the molecular machinery needed to process and deliver energy to your organs, muscles and brain.
Ayurveda is an ancient medicine that originated in India and is practiced by some U.S. citizens today, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Ayurvedic discipline involves eliminating impurities, treating symptoms of disease, improving resistance, lowering stress and increasing inner balance. Ayurvedic practitioners often prescribe herbs with honey, because honey is believed to aid digestion.
One 1994 study, published in "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine," found that ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria were sensitive to solutions of New Zealand manuka honey. A clinical study reported in the April 2010 edition of "The British Journal of Nutrition," however, concluded that manuka honey was not effective against H. pylori in healthy individuals. Researchers commented that no beneficial effects on intestinal bacteria were witnessed after the test group ate about 1 1/3 tbsp. of manuka honey every day for 30 days.
Honey contains fructose which can cause diarrhea in some sensitive individuals and people with irritable bowel syndrome when large doses are consumed, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Fructose intolerance is a common condition in which the bowel does not absorb fructose well. Hereditary fructose intolerance is a rare, genetic liver disorder that may be fatal.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Your Digestive System and How It Works
- MayoClinic.com: Indigestion
- "The British Journal of Nutrition"; Demonstrating the Safety of Manuka Honey UMF 20+in a Human Clinical Trial With Healthy Individuals; Wallace et al; April 2010
- "Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine"; H. Pylori and Manuka Honey; Somal N, et al; 1994
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Irritable Bowel Syndrome