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Clover honey is popular due to its sweet, mildly floral taste.

Unlike other common sweeteners like table sugar, it’s rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may benefit your health.

This article reviews the uses, nutrition, and health benefits of clover honey.

Clover honey is a thick, sweet syrup made by honeybees that collect the nectar of clover plants. It’s mild in taste and light in color, making it a popular choice among honey enthusiasts.

Clover plants are very common, weather-hardy, and a preferred nectar source for honeybees, which is why clover honey is widely available (1, 2).

Clover honey has a more complex flavor than table sugar, and many people use it to sweeten tea, coffee, and desserts.

Additionally, due to an increasing interest in healthier alternatives to sugar, food manufacturers are offering more honey-sweetened foods and drinks (3).

Clover honey is also commonly used in cold and cough medicines and home remedies due to its unique health-promoting properties, including its antibacterial qualities and soothing effect on sore throats (4).


Clover honey is a popular, widely available type of honey. It’s used as a sweetener and as a natural remedy for coughs and colds.

Clover honey is high in sugar but also provides some nutrients.

One tablespoon (21 grams) of clover honey contains (5):

  • Calories: 60 calories
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams

This type of honey is mostly carbs in the form of natural sugars. However, it also offers small amounts of different vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc (6).

What’s more, it’s rich in antioxidant compounds that can benefit your health (7).


Clover honey mostly consists of natural sugars but contains different vitamins and minerals as well. It also packs health-boosting antioxidants.

Clover honey offers several potential health benefits.

Antiviral and antibacterial potential

Clover and other types of honey have antiviral and antibacterial effects.

In a study comparing the antibacterial capacity of 16 different types of honey, the clover variety had the strongest antibacterial action against harmful Staphylococcus aureus cells — equivalent to a 2.2 mg dose of the antibiotic kanamycin (8).

In addition, it’s an effective antibacterial dressing for wounds, such as burns and scratches, as bacteria cannot develop resistance to honey (9).

In one 3-month study in which clover honey was used as a dressing for 30 different diabetic foot wounds, 43% of wounds healed completely, and another 43% were significantly reduced in size and bacteria count (10).

Clover honey may be a potent antiviral as well.

One test-tube study found that applying a 5% clover honey solution to skin cells infected with the chickenpox virus significantly decreased the virus’s survival rate (11).

Keep in mind that fresh, raw honey may have stronger antibacterial properties than varieties that have been pasteurized or stored for a long period (12).

Rich in antioxidants

Clover honey is packed with antioxidants, which are compounds that can prevent or reduce cellular damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. This may lower your risk of diseases (7, 13, 14, 15).

In a rat study, clover honey extract reversed liver damage caused by free radicals, likely due to the extract’s antioxidant capacity (16).

Clover honey is particularly high in anti-inflammatory flavanol and phenolic acid antioxidants. Flavanols may improve heart and lung health, whereas phenolic acids strengthen your central nervous system (17, 18, 19).

Fewer downsides than table sugar

Though honey is mostly sugar, it has several unique benefits that make it a better choice than table sugar or other sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Some studies indicate that honey may be better for heart health and weight control than table sugar (20, 21, 22).

In a 6-week study in 60 people consuming either 70 grams of honey or table sugar daily, people in the honey group had lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels (23).

In addition, a study in 80 children observed that a single dose of honey caused a smaller blood sugar response than an equal dose of table sugar — including in participants with type 1 diabetes (24).

However, though honey is healthier than table sugar, it’s still considered an added sugar and should be limited.

Diets high in added sugars — no matter the type — are associated with obesity and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers (25, 26, 27).

For optimal health, less than 5% of your daily calories should come from added sugars (28).


Some studies indicate that clover honey is antiviral and antibacterial. It’s also rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Yet, though it may be healthier than table sugar, it’s still an added sugar and should be consumed in moderation.

The nutrient content, flavor, and color of honey depend on the type of nectar from which it is made, as well as processing and storage time.

Alongside clover honey, other light-colored and mild-tasting types include alfalfa, orange blossom, and wildflower honey. These varieties are similar in antioxidant content (29).

However, buckwheat and manuka honey, which are often used medicinally, are much darker in color and richer in flavor, which could be a result of their higher mineral and antioxidant content (29, 30, 31).

Manuka honey, made from a plant native to New Zealand, is also prized for its powerful medicinal potential (32, 33).

Though it has more antioxidants than clover honey, one test-tube study found that 5% solutions of manuka and clover honey, respectively, were equally effective at stopping the spread of the chickenpox virus (11).

Nonetheless, if you’re using honey for medicinal purposes, you may want to choose a darker variety, such as buckwheat or manuka.

Raw honey

Unpasteurized and unfiltered raw honey of any kind is a healthy choice for many people, as it’s richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than pasteurized varieties (12, 34, 35).

It also contains pollen, which may offer benefits, such as stimulating your immune system, decreasing inflammation, and protecting your liver from free radical damage (36).

Raw honey, including from clover plants, can be purchased online and in stores. What’s more, locally harvested raw honey is available at many farmers’ markets.

Note that you should not eat raw honey if your immune system is compromised. Additionally, honey products should not be given to children under the age of one year due to the risk of serious illness (37, 38).


Clover honey is one of several light-colored and mild-tasting types of honey. Darker varieties, such as buckwheat and manuka, are richer in antioxidants. Raw honey — including raw clover honey — may be more beneficial than processed honey.

Clover honey is a popular, light-colored, mild-tasting honey variety that provides various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

It may offer powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Though it’s slightly healthier than table sugar, it should be used in moderation.