What is Tualang honey?
We all know that honey is good for you and it has been eaten for thousands of years for its nutritional and therapeutic qualities. In recent times, the scientific community has started to look into the therapeutic value of honey and has focused largely on New Zealand’s manuka honey which has acquired a reputation for its curative properties.
Tualang honey is probably not as well-known as manuka but has recently come under the microscope with its many health benefits being examined. Tualang honey is harvested from the hives of wild honey bees on the Tualang trees native to the Malaysian jungle. While it may be relatively unfamiliar in the west, it has a long history of traditional use in Southeast Asia for a variety of health purposes.
Many of the health benefits of tualang honey can be attributed to its potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties. According to the published literature, tualang honey also exhibits anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antitumor activities. These varied therapeutic properties give tualang honey a wide variety of medicinal applications that have been studied fairly extensively.
A thorough review of the medicinal effects of tualang honey was published in 2013 (1) and this article will take a look at some of the medicinal benefits of this remarkable product.
Therapeutic Benefits of Tualang honey
1. Antioxidant Activity
Most honey is known to possess antioxidant activity but tualang honey is an especially rich source of antioxidants that include phenolic acids, flavonoids, amino acids and proteins. Indeed tualang honey compares favorably with other well-known therapeutic grade honeys such as manuka and Slovenian honeys.
Antioxidants are essential to good health; they protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals, help repair damaged cells and prevent future disease.
Comparative studies have shown that tualang honey has an extremely high phenolic and flavonoid content which gives it more than the normal antioxidant value of other honeys. Research has also demonstrated that tualang honey shielded the body from oxidative stress in diabetic rats. (2)
2. Antibacterial activity
Nearly all varieties of honey have antimicrobial effects but it is important to note that not all honey is equally effective. Manuka honey is especially famous for its antibacterial qualities but research has demonstrated that tualang honey is equally effective against several strains of bacteria.
Tualang honey protects against the growth of common skin bacteria as well as inhibiting the spread of dangerous strains such as streptococcus, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Some of these strains of bacteria are caused by hospital infections and have become drug resistant meaning that researchers have been looking for safe, alternative remedies to treat them.
Tualang honey has proven especially effective in preventing bacteria in burn wounds because of its high flavonoid and phenolic content. One study concluded that it could be used as an alternative wound dressing and by comparison it proved less sticky than manuka. (3)
Contrary to still popular belief, honey is not always bad for diabetic patients. Many people are concerned that the high sugar content of honeys will have adverse effects on diabetes but certain honey like tualang are high in fructose which is low on the glycemic index and is therefore recommended for sufferers of the disease. Studies conducted on diabetic rats demonstrated that in combination with hypoglycemic agents, tualang honey caused a significant reduction in blood sugar levels. (4)
Tualang honey has great potential in the treatment of certain forms of cancer and can help improve the effectiveness of more conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and oral medications. Studies have shown that because of its abundant flavonoid and phenolic acid content, tualang honey has a significant impact on breast cancer cells which compares favorably with the anticancer activity of tamoxifen. (5)
5. Wound healing
As I mentioned earlier in the article, tualang honey has antibacterial qualities that give it major wound healing potential. Tualang honey works on wounds and burns by easing the inflammation and fluid build-up in the wounded area while stimulating the growth of new cells.
A number of studies have been conducted into the wound healing abilities of tualang honey with the results proving largely positive. One study published in 2010 was conducted into the effects of tualang honey as a wound dressing in full thickness burn wounds that typically require skin graft surgery.
The results showed that wounds treated with tualang honey exhibited a very fast 32% decrease in wound size as early as the sixth day of treatment as well as a significant reduction on bacterial growth. (6)
6. Heart health
Animal studies have also indicated that tualang honey has the potential to keep your heart healthy and protect against cardiovascular disease. One very recent study published earlier this year concluded that tualang honey demonstrated protective effects in rats induced with myorcardial infraction. Its effect on heart health was attributed to improved antioxidant levels in the heart tissue as well as reduced lipid peroxidation levels. (7)
Other studies have also revealed that tualang honey may reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol levels which have a major impact on the heart’s health.
7. Postmenopausal symptoms
For the millions of women suffering from postmenopausal symptoms, tualang honey may provide a natural and safe alternative to conventional HRT treatments. Despite the many adverse effects caused by the menopause, many women are reluctant to undergo HRT therapy because of the wide range of potential adverse side effects.
A comprehensive study was conducted by the University of Science in Malaysia to examine the effects of tualang honey on a range of postmenopausal symptoms including hormonal deficiency and bone density. (8) Postmenopausal women treated with tualang honey experienced a reduction in menopausal symptoms and an in increase in their bone strength and mineral density.
Indeed the effect of tualang honey on bone density was comparable with the effects of HRT when taken at a dose of 20mg a day. Researchers found that a dose of 20mg a day was safe and concluded that tualang honey could be used to protect against bone weakening conditions without the risk of side effects.
8. Sperm count
Tualang honey has also demonstrated the ability to increase sperm count and also improve sperm motility in men. Experiments on rats have shown that tualang honey can help repair some of the toxic effects of tobacco smoke on sperm production as well as increasing testosterone levels.
One recent study published in 2009showed that tualang honey was as effective as Tribestan in improving sperm count parameter when consumed for a 12 week period. (9) Furthermore the study showed that the honey was safe and no adverse effects were reported.
How to enjoy tualang honey
With all of these amazing health benefits, I am sure that you are eager to try it out for yourself. Depending on where you live, tualang honey may be available in your local health food store or supermarket.
If you cannot find it locally, it is available online from a variety of websites. Like manuka honey, it does not come cheap but we feel the benefits make it well worth the money.
You can eat it directly or add a spoonful to sweeten your drinks, juices or add it to your smoothies to give it an even healthier kick.
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