Honey’s pH: Acidic or Alkaline?

Honey is a sweet, thick, sticky material created by honey bees as a result of regurgitation, enzyme activity, and water evaporation. Honey bees take flower nectar or honeydew (insect secretions) and use it as a raw material to make honey, which is subsequently stored in honeycombs (wax structures).

Apiculture is the practise of raising bees for the purpose of extracting honey.

Honey’s sweetness comes from monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and other sugars. Honey’s flavour and characteristics are derived from the other components.

Honey has been used by people for a number of reasons since prehistoric times.

Is honey alkaline or acidic? Honey is acidic, with a pH ranging from 3.4 to 6.1 for various varieties of honey and an average of 3.9. Honey’s acidic character is due to the presence of many types of organic acids, amino acids, aromatic acids, and aliphatic acids. Honey is occasionally utilised as a natural preservative and anti-bacterial agent due to its acidic nature.

Honey is acidic for a reason.

We already know that the pH scale spans from 1 to 14, with 7 indicating neutral compounds and anything below 7 indicating acidic substances.

Honey is an acidic material since its pH is less than 7.

Due to many environmental circumstances such as flowering species, honey bee species, and so on, the pH of honey varies from 3.4 to 6.1.

Honey has a pH of 3.9 on average.

Honey’s acidity can be demonstrated by a litmus test, in which it turns blue litmus red. Titration against sodium hydroxide, a metre, and a probe, among other things, are used to determine acidity.

Honey, on the other hand, changes its nature inside the human body and becomes alkaline, as the metabolites formed after honey digestion have a pH over 7.

Is raw honey alkaline or acidic?

Raw honey is acidic, exactly like processed honey, and the pH of raw honey is around 4.

Raw honey is honey that has not been handled, processed, pasteurised, or cooked in any way.

It is honey that has been harvested from beehives and has all of the natural vitamins, enzymes, nutrients, and important minerals.

What is the Composition of Honey?

Honey is mostly made up of carbohydrates (about 82%) and sugars (mainly monosaccharides (69%), disaccharides (around 9%), and oligosaccharides (4.2%)), with varying amounts of other carbohydrates.

Honey’s glycemic index varies from 31 to 78, depending on a variety of circumstances.

Honey varies in colour, flavour, aroma, and even composition depending on its source, such as the bee species or the flowering plants from which the nectar was obtained.

The following is an estimate of the percentages of various components in floral honey: Fructose (38%) Glucose (31%), Water (17%), Maltose (7%), Sucrose (1.5%), Higher sugars (1-2%), Miscellaneous (3.2%), and so forth.

The water content of the honey first obtained by the bees is roughly 70%. The bees, on the other hand, continue to fan the hives in order to lower the water content, which is eventually reduced to around 17%.

Honey’s low water content is responsible for its resistance to spoilage. Even honey samples recovered in Egyptian tombs that were 3000-years-old were determined to be well preserved and palatable.

Aside from these, enzymes like invertase, amylase, glucose oxidase, catalase, and acid phosphorylase are found in honey.

It contains B vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, selenium, and manganese are all minerals found in honey. The major antioxidant found in honey and bee propolis is pinocembrin, which belongs to the flavonoid family.

Honey, in addition to the above-mentioned components, has a wide range of acids in large quantities. Honey’s acidic nature is due to these acids, which increase its utility as a natural preservative.

Which of the following acids can be found in honey?

Bees and Their Chemistry

The presence of numerous organic acids, aromatic acids, aliphatic acids, and amino acids, which compose the essential components of honey, contribute to its acidic qualities, as we described in previous sections.

The quantity of different acids found in honey also varies depending on the honey’s source.

Honey is primarily gluconic acid, which is generated when glucose is broken down in the presence of the enzyme glucose oxidase.

Citric acid, acetic acid, butanoic acid, succinic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and formic acid are some of the other acids found in honey.

Pure Honey vs. Raw Honey

Pure honey is processed honey that has been heated, pasteurised, and treated after it has been extracted from raw or natural honey. It retains some raw honey characteristics, but it is not as effective as genuine honey obtained from beehives.

Raw honey, on the other hand, is the natural, unprocessed honey received from beehives after it has been filtered through a mesh or nylon cloth to eliminate contaminants such as beeswax or dead bees.

Raw honey comes in a variety of colours, including clear, opaque, milky, and varied tints of yellow and brown. It can be found as a liquid or semi-solid, and it can crystallise over time.

Raw honey’s inherent characteristics, such as important nutrients, minerals, enzymes, and other compounds, are unaltered because it is unprocessed and unpasteurized. It may also contain bee pollen, propolis, or honeycomb particles, which increase its nutritional value.

Raw honey has a plethora of health benefits. It’s a rapid source of energy, a prebiotic food that helps keep gut flora in check, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and more.

Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is high in vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, healthy fatty acids, and other nutrients.

Propolis is rich in phenolic compounds since it is made by bees from organic sources.

Raw honey, on the other hand, is fully unprocessed and untreated, and hence could be a source of infection in the human body.

Clostridium botulinum endospores can occasionally be found in raw honey, causing bacterial contamination.

In addition, bees are being damaged in a few rural regions around the world in an attempt to harvest raw honey, which is causing the bee population to drop.

Because bees are so important for pollination, they may pose a serious threat to future generations’ food sources.

Is Manuka Honey Alkaline or Acidic?

Here’s What Happened When I Washed My Face With Manuka Honey for a Week | SELF

Manuka honey is a unique honey kind produced in Australia and New Zealand. This is derived from bees that pollinate the Leptospermum scoparium bush, a native tea tree species.

Because of the presence of hydrogen peroxide, manuka honey is known for its anti-biotic and anti-bacterial effects.

Methylglyoxal, which is generated by the conversion of dihydroxyacetone, which is abundant in the nectar of manuka flowers, is another component that contributes to the antibacterial qualities of manuka honey.

The antibacterial action of manuka honey is proportional to the amount of methylglyoxal it contains.

Manuka honey is used to cure skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, as well as coughs and sore throats, and stomach problems.

I’ve also written a few additional articles about unusual foods such as baking soda, alcohol, coffee, and banana.

Manuka honey, like other types of honey, is acidic, with a pH range of 3.2 to 4.5.

Honey’s healing qualities are due to its acidic properties, which also limit the degradation of proteins and peptides that the body needs to restore itself.

Honey’s pH Scale

As previously stated, the components and acidity of honey are determined by the source from which the bees ate before making it.

The pH of honey generated from various pollen sources is listed in the table below.

The values, however, may vary based on the bee species.

Source of PollenpH value
Coffee4 ± 0.09
Polyflora3.84 ± 0.07
Lychee3.37 ± 0.08
Sunflower3.76 ± 0.08
Sesame3.57 ± 0.04
Longan3.87 ± 0.10
Manuka 3.85 ± 0.06 

Properties and Applications

The following are some of honey’s qualities and applications:

• Antibacterial qualities: Honey’s antibacterial effects are due to inhibins and glucose oxidase enzymes found in the honey.

They also protect the body from free radicals, which cause premature ageing, heart disease, and other ailments.

• Antioxidant: Polyphenol chemicals, as well as other vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin B, and enzymes like catalase and peroxidase, are responsible for honey’s anti-oxidant properties.

• Anti-inflammatory agent: Honey inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by downregulating inflammatory transcription factors. It also functions as an antiseptic.

• Digestive Aid: Honey aids digestion by reducing stomach acidity and boosting meal metabolism. It also aids in the treatment of a variety of gastric problems.

• Hydrating agent: Honey has been used to moisturise skin and hair for centuries. Honey is utilised in many beauty products because of this feature.

• Honey is also a natural stress reliever that aids with sleep.

• It’s also used to treat asthma, improve memory, control blood sugar levels, and reduce fatigue, among other things.

• Honey has a soothing effect on a sore throat and is also used to cure coughs. It’s also utilised in cough syrup manufacturing.


Honey has an acidic pH range of 3.4 to 6.1, with an average pH of 3.9.

Raw or unprocessed honey is acidic as well, and it contains several vital elements that are missing in processed honey.

Carbohydrates, sugars, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other substances make up honey. The percentages of these components vary from one sample to the next, depending on the pollen source and bee species.

Manuka honey is made by bees that feed on a native tea tree species in Australia and New Zealand. It’s known for its antimicrobial effects in particular.

Honey has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It also aids digestion, acts as an antioxidant, relieves stress, and soothes sore throats, among other things.

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Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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