The many benefits and uses of honey
This product of the labor of bees is one of the most easily-recognized, well-loved, and widely used foods on Earth.
Depictions of humans harvesting honey from wild bees can be traced back over 15,000 years, while the ancient Egyptians documented their efforts at domesticating these intelligent creatures with beekeeping and harvesting honey around 4,500 years ago.
Over the course of history, it’s been revered for its delicious sweet taste, rich golden color, and a myriad of therapeutic uses.
While just about everyone has a handful of recipes that calls for the sweetness of honey, not many people today realize the benefits and properties of this superfood go well beyond deserts, sauces, and marinades.
In Hindu Ayurvedic medicine, honey has long been touted as a way to help positively influence all of the primitive forces within the body.
The Chinese have also looked to honey as a way to keep the body in balance since the days of the Xin dynasty around 200 B.C.E. All over the world—from Brazil to Nigeria, Finland to America, and every place in between—people have been using the sweet nectar of buzzing bees for so much more than just cooking.
Here’s a look at surprising—and surprisingly awesome—uses for the honey that’s sitting in your pantry right now.
Ancient Egyptian and Greek physicians stocked their medical compounds with honey 5,000 years ago. Today, you can take a lesson from these ancient medicine men by adding a bottle of honey to your first aid kit.
Honey’s antibiotic properties are well documented. But do you know that it can also substantially help reduce the time it takes a burn to heal?
Besides keeping your skin moist, honey will encourage the production of new skin cells, helping to prevent scarring. Antimicrobial and all natural, honey will help keep wound dressings and bandages from sticking, and can boost a burn’s healing time by up to four days.
So the next time you goof in the kitchen, head for the honey before you apply a bandage.
You know how it works: bees feed on pollen from local plants, then carry it back to the hive where they turn it into the delicious honey that eventually finds its way onto your plate. But do you know that the key to taming your seasonal allergies might just lie in that same system?
Ingesting regional, unprocessed honey may contain enough local pollen to help your body acclimate to the allergens in the air around you, helping to ease the sneezing, itchy eyes, and other uncomfortable symptoms of seasonal allergies. The secret is to keep it local—this is one home remedy that simply won’t work with generic supermarket honey. Check out local farmers markets or specialty stores for honey produced close to home, and you may soon find yourself breathing a little easier.
Natural Energy Booster
Honey is a great source of wholesome sweetness and carbohydrates. Natural sugars work wonders in helping to keep your “get up and go,” up and going.
Honey contains glucose, which is absorbed fairly quickly by the body, giving you a quick jolt of energy after consuming it. Think of a sugar rush, but without the ensuing crash. The fructose in honey is absorbed more slowly, providing sustained energy for a period of time.
It’s this combination that allows honey to keep your blood sugar levels constant over a longer period of time, as opposed to other types of sugars.
Consider swapping your morning cup of joe with a cup of tea sweetened with honey for an all natural energy boost to get your morning started off right. Or get your kids off to a good start by adding honey to their morning toast before sending them on their way.
There’s nothing quite like waking up after a night of overindulgence. The pounding head and churning stomach of a hangover can be brutal. You may find that along with drinking plenty of water, honey might just be your new best friend after a night out.
The natural sugars in honey are not only gentle on the stomach; they also help speed up oxidation of alcohol by the liver. And the faster your poor abused liver can work all of that alcohol out of your system, the better you’ll feel.
Try adding a couple of tablespoons of honey to plain yogurt and orange
juice for a smoothie that will help make your morning-after more bearable.
Soothe Sore Throats
One of honey’s better known health benefits is its ability to soothe sore throats. That’s because aside from easing the pain and rawness associated with an irritated throat, honey’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties can help combat certain bacteria that cause infection and throat pain in the first place, speeding up the healing process as it comforts.
Simply stir a few drops of lemon juice into a small glass of honey, then sip on the nectar throughout the day.
Holistic Skin Care
Organic, all-natural skin care products are extremely popular at high-end salons and spas right now. The reasoning is simple: the ingredients work, and won’t pollute your skin with harsh chemicals in the process. But why spend a fortune on holistic skin care, when you can easily make many of these products yourself—for a fraction of the cost.
For example, oily and acne-prone skin can benefit greatly from honey’s natural antibiotics and non-greasy moisture — especially when combined with the anti-fungal and astringent qualities of sage, and the freshness of green apple.
Try this easy facial mask once a week for clearer, smoother skin: Add a roughly chopped granny smith apple (skin on) to a food processor or blender with two sage leaves and two tablespoons of organic raw honey. Purée until smooth and apply to a clean, dry face and neck.
Leave on for about 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water before patting your face dry. Finish with a moisturizer made for oily or acne-prone skin.
Help for Insomnia
Having trouble falling asleep? Before resorting to over-the-counter sleeping pills, give this easy remedy a try: sweeten a cup of chamomile tea with two teaspoons of honey, add warm milk. Sip slowly, and let the yawning begin.