Ever wondered what treasures this alluring golden and sweet liquid commonly known as honey holds for you? It is a solid treasure chest of great medicinal and nutritional importance waiting to be discovered by you. Its usage and consumption are as old as Egyptian tombs. The health benefits of honey have been mentioned in Islamic, Vedic, Roman, and Greek texts whereas its healing powers have been told by philosophers and scientists like Aristotle in 384 BC.
Who knew that honey has such a unique chemical composition which never lets it rot? It can remain without rotting for years. It is antibacterial, antiseptic, hygroscopic, and anti-inflammatory. Whether it is treating cuts and coughs or combating drunkenness and dandruff, honey takes the lead. With such exquisite qualities, it has been used as a medicinal remedy since ages. It has been recorded that honey has been used by various cultures like Romans, Greeks, and Muslims to treat eye and skin problems. Honey has been used as an offering to Gods and as a sweetener in drinks, but most importantly it has been used to treat different ailments whether it is just minor fixes or Cancer.
Modern science has also found using honey in chronic wound very useful. All the hype about honey having super powers scientifically is not untrue. Different variety of honey like raw honey offers different health benefits.
Among innumerable health benefits that can be reaped from honey, here are some key benefits to this goldmine of medicine and nutrition:
Honey helps to treat cuts and wounds:
Much research has been conducted to figure out the how honey could benefit in treating wounds. The Nursing Standard offers an explanation to the advantages of honey in treating wounds. Some of these are:
- It deodorizes malodorous wounds.
- It helps in gearing up the healing process in dormant wounds.
- Honey contains antimicrobial properties.
- Honey also helps in promoting moist wound healing.
- It makes the healing process faster by stimulating wound tissues.
- It helps in promoting autolytic debridement.
Manuka honey is a special kind of honey produced in New Zealand and is used to cure pressure sores and leg ulcers. Manuka Honey is believed to have stronger antibacterial quality than other honey making it effective for healing of wounds.
Topical application of honey is great from treating leg ulcers and wounds. Applying honey keeps the wounds sterile until healed and causes ulcers and infected wounds to become sterile in a week. Honey is known for its natural antiseptic quality warding off any infection and keeping the wound clean. The combination of drying effect of honey due to simple sugars it contains and its antibacterial quality makes it really effective. For first aid treatment of cuts, wounds, and burns honey acts as a natural cure since it promotes healing and absorbs moisture from the air.
Have you mildly cut or burnt yourself accidentally? Then put some honey on the area that’s affected. Honey minimizes swelling and pain along with facilitating healing.
Natural suppressant for coughs and sore throats:
Are you stuck with cough or sore throat that just doesn’t go away no matter what you do? Then the good news is that soothing sore throats and coughs are among honey’s best-known health benefits since it kills bacteria responsible for causing infection. According to some studies, honey is more effective in soothing coughs than a lot of cough syrups.
On one hand, the consistency of honey is thick which forms a layer on your throat and on the other hand, its sweet taste stimulates particular nerves making your throat less reactive to the impulse of a cough. Even professional singers often consume honey in order to soothe their throats right before they perform.Honey alleviates mild coughs and sore throats, particularly in young children. It acts as an immune system booster and keeps flu and cold away.
You can also combine 4 tablespoons lemon juice, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of honey to make a solution for gargling or simply take a tablespoon of honey to calm the inflammation.
Sobering agent for Hangovers:
Have you been drinking too much lately and got a hangover you couldn’t control? According to scientists, honey minimizes the toxic effects of a hangover greatly. Honey consists of natural sugars like fructose which makes the oxidation of alcohol by liver faster and eventually acts as a sobering agent. Honey also possesses antioxidant qualities which neutralize damaging effects of alcohol.
You can take 2 tablespoons of honey or apply some on bread and eat.
Good replacement for white sugar:
There have been lots of studies that prove white sugar to be unhealthy for the body and this is where honey comes in and plays the role of a perfect substitute. Studies show that choosing honey over sugar is much healthier. The chemical composition of honey is different from sugar. Honey consists of 40% fructose, 30% glucose and other 20% of other sugar along with dextrin which is a starchy fiber. This composition greatly assists in regulating sugar level in blood. As compared to white sugar, honey is far better for your health and a safer option.
Relief from sleeplessness:
Are you facing any problem sleeping? Yet another quality of raw honey is that it helps to put you comfortably to sleep without making you twist and turn in your bed. What honey does is it stimulates tryptophan to action which assists in making you sleepy.
A well-known honey and milk remedy could greatly help. Add a teaspoon of honey in hot milk and drink it or simply take 2 tablespoons of honey to help you sleep peacefully.
Beautiful healthy skin and scalp:
Thanks to the antibacterial properties of honey that is bound to make your skin beautiful and healthy since it traps moisture. It is effective especially for dry skin.
The legendary figure Cleopatra, known for her exceptional beauty used to bathe in honey and milk to maintain her youth and beauty. You can add a half cup of honey and one cup of milk in you bathing water and immerse yourself in it. If you want you can add any essential oil you like. Rose, lavender or jasmine are good options.
Suffering from acne? Applying raw honey and keeping it for 20 minutes before rinsing may help.
Honey is not only great for your skin but also for your scalp. Applying diluted honey on the affected areas helps to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Let the honey remain for about 3 hours and then wash if off with warm water. It will work wonders reducing scaling and itching in a week and not to mention minimizing hair fall.
Honey Prevents Cancer:
Did you know honey combats cancer? Honey consists of antioxidants and flavonoids that assist in minimizing the risk of heart disease as well as cancer. It contains anti-tumor and carcinogen preventing qualities due to which it keeps a check on tumor and cancer progression.
Honey as an energy booster
One tablespoon of raw honey= 64 calories (sodium free, cholesterol free and fat-free)
As stated, one tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories which is why you will find a lot of people using it as an immediate energy booster. On the contrary, one tablespoon of white sugar contains only 15 calories. Moreover, honey contains fructose and glucose which are far more easily digested than sugar molecules present in white sugar. Glucose in honey provides instant energy. The most sensitive stomach can also digest it easily.
Honey consumption is also recommended since it consists of minerals and vitamins as well although in small quantity. Some of it are:
- Calcium riboflavin
- pantothenic acid
Is the weather changing? Are you feeling weak and low? Raw honey contains phytonutrients which possess antiviral and antibacterial qualities strengthening your immune system and combating ailments. What you can do is take half a cup of hot water and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey. Give your immune system a boost with this drink.
We all know how irritating and painful bloating, gas or constipation could get. Owing to the mild laxative effect of honey, it can fight and minimize bloating, constipation and gas. This nature’s miracle also contains friendly bacteria like lactobacilli which assists in digestion, reduces allergies and strengthens the immune system.
As a powerful home remedy, you can make tea with lemon and honey.
Optimizes Athletic performance:
Owing to the combination of fructose and glucose, honey optimizes the performance of athletes by reducing muscle fatigue and increasing endurance levels. Blood absorbs glucose quickly giving off instant energy. Studies today have shown that compared to other sweeteners honey reduces the recovery time for athletes and keeps blood sugar level under control.
Honey also fights inflammation and increases antibodies which make it a good idea to consume one tablespoon of honey before working out. Olympic athletes in ancient times used to have figs and honey to optimize their performances.
Prevents low Red blood Cell count:
Consuming honey by mixing it with tepid water increases red blood cell (RBC) count in blood. Since this mixture enhances hemoglobin level in blood, it is bound to help the anemic condition. Anemia happens due to lack of iron in the blood which in turn jeopardizes the oxygen-carrying ability of blood causing breathlessness and fatigue and even depression at times. Honey reverses these effects by increasing RBCs in the blood.
Prevents low White Blood Cell count:
Due to chemotherapy, white blood cells (WBC) seem to drop considerably in patients. During an experiment, chemotherapy patients took 2 teaspoons of honey a day and the problem of low WBC count did not recur in 40% of the patients.
Minimizes Hay fever symptoms:
Are you hit by hay fever? Then eat your local area’s honey which is not mixed with honey belonging to some other areas. This will greatly minimize your hay fever symptoms and make your immune system stronger. The reason for using local honey only is that it will contain very little amount of pollen from your area. This much pollen does not cause any kind of allergic reaction but instead makes your body tolerant towards pollen.
Some valuable Honey Suggestions:
- If you are up for utilizing ALL the benefits of honey, then use raw and pure honey instead of refined honey. Raw honey consists of minerals, enzymes and vitamins that do not exist in refined honey.
- Honey which has darker color is believed to contain more antioxidants. If sealed properly, honey can last for a long time without rotting. After all, not-rotten-honey was discovered in pharaoh’s tombs in Egypt by archeologists.
- You think the honey you are using is crystallized? No need to throw it away. It has not rotten. It can change back to its liquid form by slowly heating it in a bowl that contains warm water. You can also leave it in the microwave for about 10 to 20 seconds.
- Infants less than one-year-old should never be given honey. Spores of botulism bacteria are present in honey which can cause infant botulism which is a serious reaction. Soil and dust contain these spores which then find their way to honey as well. This is not harmful for older children or adults. It is better not take risks with little infants whose defense mechanism is still building.
- Diabetic patients should be careful when consuming honey. Whether it is white sugar or honey, they both increase the level of sugar in the blood. Diabetic patients should have a controlled intake of honey.
- If you want to maintain a healthy weight and really love your good health, DO NOT eat too much honey because remember, it is a sugar. It contains high calories and can make your sugar high too. Anything consumed in excess is never healthy.
Modern Science today has confirmed many of the benefits of honey that our forefathers already knew. Now that you are aware of so many health benefits of honey, consume it responsibly!