Neurological Effects of Honey: Current and Future Prospects
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2014;2014:958721
Honey is the only insect-derived natural product with therapeutic, traditional, spiritual, nutritional, cosmetic, and industrial value. In addition to having excellent nutritional value, honey is a good source of physiologically active natural compounds, such as polyphenols. Unfortunately, there are very few current research projects investigating the nootropic and neuropharmacological effects of honey, and these are still in their early stages.
Raw honey possesses nootropic effects, such as memory-enhancing effects, as well as neuropharmacological activities, such as anxiolytic, antinociceptive, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant activities. Research suggests that the polyphenol constituents of honey can quench biological reactive oxygen species and counter oxidative stress while restoring the cellular antioxidant defense system. Honey polyphenols are also directly involved in apoptotic activities while attenuating microglia-induced neuroinflammation. Honey polyphenols are useful in improving memory deficits and can act at the molecular level.
Therefore, the ultimate biochemical impact of honey on specific neurodegenerative diseases, apoptosis, necrosis, neuroinflammation, synaptic plasticity, and behavior-modulating neural circuitry should be evaluated with appropriate mechanistic approaches using biochemical and molecular tools.