Thursday, February 14, 2013

Honey And Cinnamon As A Cure-All

I will be adding to this post.

While honey combined with cinnamon in a honey lightening recipe can be great, there is disturbing information on the Internet, I was sent in an email, that the combination can be a cure-all for medical applications. You should be very careful of what you read, that could prevent you from seeking or continuing with proper, qualified medical care. Research adverse effects and the dosing of any botanical from reputable sources to discuss with your qualified medical professional before self-medicating. 

honey cinnamon medicinal use clinically proven validated "0" Claims for = FRAUD

"Unlocking the secrets of mānuka honey
"established ... precursor for ... active antibacterial agent methylglyoxal (MGO) comes from the nectar of mānuka trees; but ... currently little information ... what factors govern the conversion of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) into MGO during the maturation process ... also no published information ... accounts for ... variation of DHA content of nectar observed in small scale studies of the trees ... which may give rise to observed variation in the honey." Still a good way to go yet!

manuka honey benefits clinically proven
Claims for = Fraud 

Ceylon cinnamon benefits proven
Claims for = Fraud 

"The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels", 2016
"manuka honey ... potential" 

"Health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a summary of the current evidence", Ceylon Medical Journal, 2016, the pdf is free to download
"available ... evidence suggests .. healing properties ... most studies have been conducted using animal models ... Future studies ... necessary to determine whether ... effects ... reproducible in humans, their public health implications ... safety" = UNPROVEN!

National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health 
"Cinnamon", updated 2016, color and bolding added by me, 
"Studies done in people don’t support using cinnamon for any health condition ... Cassia cinnamon contains varying amounts of a chemical called coumarin, which might cause or worsen liver disease."

"The glycaemic outcomes of Cinnamon, a review of the experimental evidence and clinical trials", 2015
"inconclusive ... long-term trials ... establish ... efficacy ... safety ... cinnamon .. needed"

"The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels", 2016
"manuka honey..potential..further investigation is needed" = UNPROVEN

Added November 23. 2015, Updated June 11, 2016
(EUFIC) European Food Information Council 
"Honey" 2014"honey appears to offer certain health benefits ... need for further human research data" = UNPROVEN

Added September 20, 2015

"The manuka honey scandal", 2014, bolding added by me
"According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there is no legal definition of the "activity" or "total activity" of manuka honey ... "activity" can fade between the time of testing by producers and use by consumers.""

Added September 22, 2015

Includes manuka honey, 2014, color and bolding added by me
"Reading a New Zealand Honey Label"
"Currently, no honey producers have met ... legislative requirements to include “health claims” on honey sold as food ... claims such as “aids digestion” or “soothes sore throats” are not allowed ... Medical grade honey ... shown to be effective for topical use (use on skin) due to its anti-bacterial properties ... no scientifically substantiated evidence ... these anti-bacterial properties are effective when honey is eaten/drunk. Honey sold as food cannot carry any of these claims ... In the past, some grading systems have been based on properties associated with honey when topically applied. Such grading systems are not allowed."

Added October 11, 2015 

"Important Changes to the Definition of Medicines and Medical Devices Effective 1 July 2014", color and bolding added by me

"examples ... selected for inclusion in the table ... illustrative of product types that will change categorisation from 1 July 2014 or product types that lie close to the medicine / medical device interface ... Manuka honey dressings provided the action of the honey is not described as being an antibiotic / antibacterial

"Honey and Honey Based Products - Food Standards Exemption", 2015, color and bolding added by me

"The existing prohibition on therapeutic claims still applies and is not affected by this notice. As such, applications to use statements such as “Anti-bacterial”, “Non-Peroxide Activity”, “Total Peroxide Activity”, “Peroxide Activity”, “Total Activity” and “Active” will not be approved. ... This notice applies to food businesses which process honey or honey based products for export."

Added September 21, 2015 

"Honey isn’t as healthy as we think", 2015, color and bolding added by me

"researchers gave subjects daily doses of each of three sweeteners - honey, cane sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener - for two weeks at a time ... then compared measures of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in the 55 subjects ... researchers found that the three sweeteners basically have the same impacts"

The study (above) abstract, 2015, some bolding added by me
"Consumption of Honey, Sucrose, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup Produces Similar Metabolic Effects in Glucose-Tolerant and -Intolerant Individuals1,2
"Conclusions: Daily intake of 50 g carbohydrate from honey, sucrose, or HFCS55 for 14 d resulted in similar effects on measures of glycemia, lipid metabolism, and inflammation."
1 Supported by a grant from the National Honey Board and by the USDA Agricultural Research Service ... 2 Author disclosures: SK Raatz, LK Johnson, and MJ Picklo, no conflicts of interest ... funding sponsor had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results."

"WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children", 2015, color and bolding added by me

"new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake ... further reduction to below 5% or ... 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits ... Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

"Apples And Bananas Dominate But Too Many Children Get Fruit From Juice", 2015, color and bolding added by me, @forbes 

“Juice is not sating and lacks the fiber and nutrition of whole fruits. Juice is primarily water with a great deal of free sugar ... is more fairly compared with soda, than the fruit it once came from.” ... “Liquid calories from juices ... shown to decrease satiety cues ... may contribute to excessive calorie intake in children,” explained Laura Gearman, a pediatric registered dietitian at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.Excessive intakes over an extended period of time will lead to weight gain and contribute to obesity in children.

I concentrated on the epilepsy information for this blog post, as an example. Snopes disappointed me on this one.

There are cassia cinnamon cautions. This information is also in my honey lightening blog post, along with this post (That should have read "to not get too much coumarin". Cardamom safety information can be found here.)

The truth, 2013
"traditionalChinese herbal remedies known by the Japanese names saiko-keishi-to and sho-saiko-to have also been suggested for epilepsy ... supporting evidence for their use remains highly preliminary. ... Both of these combination treatments consist of bupleurum, peony root, pinellia root, cassia bark, .... but the proportions vary."

See also, a journal article that no doubt complicates it all, with conspicuously missing references for the cancer research mentioned, let alone where the dosing information came from for honey and cinnamon. 

Tabloid journalism, the source1995! Scroll down, to view the entire article. Personally, I like the demons article, not! The publication is referred to in several articles online, including Snopes but I like to see more for myself. Doing so gives me a better perspective on any source. 

There is nothing mentioned about epilepsy in the original article, which is about honey and cinnamon. The bone and stomach cancer "research" reported in the journal article is not "recent". I am not sure how reading more of the tabloid will affect those who took the article seriously. The original article is more conservatively worded than subsequent versions and regarding cancer, cautions that "patients should consult their doctors first". In defense of the tabloid, cautions are included.

Update February 16, 2013

There is nothing like a remake or rehash it seems, these days. This time, no cautions are included, the tabloid online, 2012. What about that "recent" cancer "research" is said? Yes, the old information (referred to as "recent" in the 1995 version) is repeated and it is new again or "recent" now. 

What is alarming about all of this to me is that this information is still appearing all over the Internet, often with no source credited and as if there are references for the "research" mentioned. I found no such references anywhere, not even close, to the "research" referred to on cancer. The online tabloid is still what it was in print and that is fanciful. 

Can honey or cinnamon do some of the things mentioned? Yes and No. Honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age because of the possibility of botulism, 2011. See also this information, 2013. Current information on botulism can also be found on PubMed Health. Honey has been scientifically researched and has been "validated" for some types of wound treatment and more, with manuka honey being the best choice for medicinal purposes, according to the research. However, See below at the end of this post - updated 2015, more and better research is needed for the claims made.

There are differences in honeys sold for medical applications, according to an interview with Professor Molan, 2012. More information about claims made for manuka honey, by Professor Molan can be found here, 2012 and here. Current scientific research results on cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon can be found on MedlinePlus.

My mother gave me honey and lemon juice mixed in water to drink for a sore throat, when I was a child. I am not sure it helped but it caused no harm. The honey was used as a sweetener, in my opinion but it can be soothing for such a purpose. There was more lemon juice than honey in the mix, as I recall. I used a manuka honey topically, to help heal a minor infection in one of my toes. It worked. My toe infection was not serious enough to see a doctor for and may have been self-limiting! I also used it the same way, to help heal a more serious skin infection, near one eye. It helped. However, I was taking oral antibiotics for that too, so I cannot attest to the honey working. The manuka honey I used is from New Zealand and has a UMF rating. 

Honey combined with cinnamon is not a cure for hair loss, mixed with olive oil or not. 

Significant hair loss has a number of causes and that requires seeing a doctor or dermatologist or both first, to determine what the problem may be, before self-medicating is done, that can delay needed medical treatment. Avoiding vegetable oil scalp massage may be helpful too. Hair loss can also be caused by certain medications. That is why reporting all adverse medication effects to your doctor or dermatologist is important.

I do understand how desperate and terrified people can be when there are serious medical issues. However, qualified medical care is best to be able to deal with them in their earliest stages. Their are some alternative treatments that can be used with conventional medicine. That is why consulting with a qualified medical practitioner, who is open to your questions and can give you sound opinions, based on the most current, actual medical information is important. 

Regarding propolis and its anticancer properties, that information has not been scientifically validated yet either. See propolis on MedlinePlus, for current scientific information, which is supported here, 2012 and in other recent research studies, the abstracts of which are available to view online, on PubMedSimilar abstracts can be found on PubMed, for honey, cinnamon and various other botanicals tested in cancer research. More and good quality studies are required before conclusions can be made as to the effectiveness of the choices studied, although some study results are 

Added June 11 and 14, 2015 - See also 

"The antibacterial activity of honey and its role in treating diseases", by Professor Molan, 2012, color and bolding added by me
"Honey is effective ... in localised contact with bacteria, not after infection has penetrated into the blood-stream"

And more information on honey from the Mayo Clinic, 2015 

Bottom line regarding health claims evidence - more and better research is needed for all claims listed!

"The truth about 'miracle foods' -- from chia seeds to coconut oil", 2015, color and bolding added by me, 
"Manuka Honey ... A medical-grade version ... is used in sterile wrappings. As with most honeys it has hydrogen peroxide, which gives it its antibiotic qualities. It also has methylglyoxal, an antibacterial component, in much higher quantities than found in other honeys. Studies have suggested that manuka honey might help to ease symptoms of infections ... coughs ... not clear whether the honey is having an antimicrobial effect or whether it is just soothing like all syrups. Any of the claims for eating manuka honey, all of which have been rejected by regulators, are vague. Any health benefits must be balanced against the very high quantities of sugar compared with the very small amounts of these proposed active compounds." 

In case there is any doubt - neither honey, nor cinnamon - any honey/cinnamon - is a "cure-all", and has never been proven to be so!