Honey May Help Prevent and Treat Leukemia?

Angela, CNP

More exciting research is revealing that honey may help prevent and possibly treat leukemia. The anti-cancer benefits of honey have been established by several other studies and have shown promise against several different types of malignancies.  I reported about them here.

Hematologic malignancies (blood based cancers) constitute about 9% of all new cases of cancers each year.  So far, the conventional therapeutic and surgical approaches to cancer therapy have not been able to curtail the rising incidence of cancers, including blood based cancers like leukemia, worldwide. The last decade has witnessed great research interest in the biological activities of plant based compounds (which honey happens to contain) that include anticancer, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits.

A large number of anticancer agents combat cancer through cell cycle arrest (stopping the growth cycle of the cancer cell), induction of apoptosis (where the cell commits suicide) and differentiation, as well as through inhibition of cell growth and proliferation, or a combination of two or more of these mechanisms. Various plant based compounds from different sources, including honey and propolis, have been reported to be promising anticancer agents by acting through one of these mechanisms.

The review went on to state that honey, which has a long history of human consumption both for medicinal and nutritional uses, contains a variety of plant based compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, coumarins and tannins.

The authors of the review went on to say that they are advocates of more studies being conducted to determine the potential role of honey in both cancer prevention and chemotherapy in leukemia.

The full study can be found in the International Journal of Molecular Science, 2012 Nov 15;13(11):15054-73.

What Does This Mean For You?

Quite simply, this research review supports what I've been suggesting for quite some time - that raw, natural honey products belong in virtually everyone's diet as part of a comprehensive cancer and disease prevention program.   Honey has shown the ability to aid and prevent diabetes, heart disease and now cancer, among other things.  

I am sure to have one full teaspoon of raw honey daily and I make sure to feed my kids a teaspoon each day for general immune health.

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