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prof. L.B. Lazebnik

V.I. Kasyanenko

Moscow, CNII gastroenterology


Honey and stomach acid production


Honey is an excellent food which can be used as medicament for many diseases of gastrointestinal tract, esp. gastrointestinal ulcers and chronic gastritis with abnormal or insufficient secretion of acid. 

The property of honey to influence stomach secretions has been widely recognized, but we haven’t found any information in literature to confirm this effect. Therefore, we decided to investigate it ourselves. For this purpose we used a stomach interior pH meter with computer system “Gastroxan-5”. We applied a probe with three electrodes – the first one set at the exit (antrum) of a stomach, the second in the second third (the body) and the third at the upper part (subcardial portion). During the first 20 minutes we measured primary (starting) pH value of the stomach. If it was higher than normal we gave the patients a warm solution of honey (50 g of honey in 100ml of warm water 35-40°C) and if it was lower than usual we gave them cold solution (50g of honey in 100ml of 13-15°C water). Then we measured: the time of the beginning of a reaction (from the moment of taking honey solution to the beginning of rise or fall of acidity), the duration of honey solution effect (from the beginning of rise or fall of acidity to the return to the beginning level) and the difference between maximal/minimal and the beginning level of acidity. 

At 26 out of 34 patients (76.4%) with increased stomach secretion at the beginning, who were given warm honey solution, alkaline effect was noticed (reducing of acidity level); 8 of them retained hyperacidity, which is related to the individual acid production. 

As for the patients with lowered acidity who were given cold honey solution, a stimulating effect (increasing acidity) was noticed at 12 out of 16 persons (75%). Four patients did not have any changes, which might be connected with real acid insufficiency.  

The alkaline effect of the warm honey solution lasted 45 ± 3.6 minutes, which (according to E, J, Selezneva’s information) outruns almagel (28.9 min.), remagel (32.5 min.) and gets close to megalak (45 min.) and malox (56 min.) in their antacid characteristics. The time to the beginning of a reaction to the warm honey solution was 10.7±1.4 minutes, and the difference between acidity levels was 6.5±0.3 on pH scale. 

In the control group of patients with the increased beginning acidity, who were measured alkaline effect of the warm honey solution, no effect was noticed in a test with warm water (100ml of 35-40°C water without honey) which was repeated the next day. 

The stimulating effect of the cold honey solution (38.1±10.6 minutes) lasted a bit less than the alkaline effect of the warm solution (P> 0.05).  The time of the beginning of stimulating acidity was 3.9±0.8 minutes on the average. Compared to the beginning of warm honey solution effect, this reaction came faster (P<0.05). The minimal span on pH scale (the difference between the beginning and stimulated acidity) was 3.6±0.4, and it was lower than the pH span of the warm solution.  

All this has proven that honey solutions have strong alkaline (warm solution) or stimulating effect (cold solution). These characteristics appear individually, but they are recognized in almost 75% of the cases. 

We can recommend patients with lowered stomach acidity to take cold honey solution (50g of honey in 100ml of water at 13-15°C, immediately before meals, three times a day) instead of chemically based drugs. As for increased acidity, warm honey solution (50g of honey in 100ml of water at 35-40°C) is to be applied 1-1.5 hours after meals (after breakfast and lunch, since food itself has the function of neutralizing the acid) and one hour before sleeping, since honey has sedative effect.


Taken from  “Pcelovodstvo” 8/03

(Trans. to English by Oliver Mihajlović)