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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth

Abdulwahid Ajibola134*, Joseph P Chamunorwa2 and Kennedy H Erlwanger3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ikenne campus 121002, Ogun State, Nigeria

2 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa

3 School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193, South Africa

4 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ikenne campus 121002, Ogun State, Nigeria

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:61  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-61

Published: 20 June 2012

Abstract

The use of natural honey (NH) as a nutraceutical agent is associated with nutritional benefits and therapeutic promises. NH is widely accepted as food and medicine by all generations, traditions and civilizations, both ancient and modern. The nutritional profiles, including its use in infant and children feeding reported in different literatures as well as health indices and biomarkers observed by various researchers are illustrated in this manuscript. The review documents folk medicine, experimentation with animal models, and orthodox medical practices shown by clinical trials. This covers virtually all human organs and body systems extensively studied by different workers. The sources and adverse effects of NH contamination, as well as the preventive methods are identified. This could promote the availability of residue free honey and a wholesome natural product for domestic consumption and international market. This could also help to prevent health problems associated with NH poisoning. In addition, apicultural practices and the economic importance of honey are well documented. This report also includes information about a relatively unknown and uncommon South American stingless bee species. We concluded this review by identifying important roles for Ethno-entomologists, other Scientists and Apiculturists in the development of stingless bees to boost honey production, consumption and economic earnings.

Keywords:
Apiculture; Economic importance; Ethno-entomologist; Folk medicine; Health indices; Honey; Metabolic syndrome; Nutraceutics; Stingless bee