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October 2015

As Smooth as Honey—The Historical Use of Honey as Topical Medication

Author Affiliations
  • 1Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(10):1102. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.1764

A supersaturated solution of glucose and fructose—while that may not sound like the description of a wonder drug, honey has been revered as a medication with powerful healing properties across a diverse group of cultures. Take this passage from the Quran in the chapter entitled “The Bee” (Surat a-Nahl): “And your Lord taught the honey bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men.”

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