Clinical Review ABC of the upper gastrointestinal tract

Oesophagus: Heartburn

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 29 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:736

Oesophagus: Heartburn and Honey

Oesophagus ; Heartburn and Honey

We have read with interest the clinical review by John de
Caestecker in BMJ. Vol. 323, 29 September 2001, 736-739 (and BMJ south
Asia edition vol. 17 December 2001, 920-923)1. Alginates form viscous
raft on top of the gastric contents and this acts as a physical barrier to
prevent gastro oesophageal reflux.

Honey is widely used in Ayurveda and has medicinal values. We have
recently demonstrated that when 5ml honey is poured on the side wall of a
glass tube ( length –25 cm and internal diameter – 11mm) placed
vertically in a water bath (37c ) the time taken to traverse the tube was
more(compare to 5ml distilled water) and even after 3 min. 50 sec. ,
0.88 ml of honey remained in the glass tube, which formed a coating on
its inner wall2.
Thus honey which is 125.9 times more viscous than distilled water at 37c
may be helpful in preventing gastro oesophageal reflux as it can form a
coating on the Oesophageal mucosa. One of us (Math) has observed relief
from heartburn after intake of 5ml of honey. Honey being a viscous liquid
and a nutrient can be used easily to prevent gastro oesophageal reflux.

1. John de Caestecker Oesophagus; heartburn. BMJ.2001; 323, 736- 739
( 29 September ).
2. Math M.V. and Balasubramaniam.P. viscosity and flow of honey Indian
J. of Physiology and Pharmacology. 2001; 45 (5) supplement Abstract—Phy –

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 January 2002
Mahantayya V Math
Assistant Lecturer in Physiology
Prof. P. Balasubramaniam
MGM Medical College, Kamothe, Navi Mumbai, India - 410 209
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