As I’m sure we have all heard, Honey is an exceptionally sweet remmedy for many ailments. But what can Honey really do for us? I wanted to dig a little bit deeper into Honey’s scientific super powers and the contribution to its vastly renowned health benefits for the whole body inside and out.
The healthy natural sweetener offers many nutritional benefits depending on its variety.(Consume honey Moderately and reap the numerous health benefits of this liquid gold)
Honey has been valued as a natural sweetener long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. Honey production flourished in ancient Greece and Sicily, for instance, while animals– bears, badgers, and more – have long raided honeybee hives, risking stings for the sweet reward.
Honey is a truly a remarkable substance, and the way it made makes it even more extraordinary. This blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids is unlike any other sweetener on the planet. And while honey is high in fructose, it has many health benefits when used in moderation.
How Honey Is Made (Fascinating!)
This might give you an even bigger appreciation for honey and the little bee’s that make it. Did you know it takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey.
Once the nectar is gathered, the bee stores it in its extra stomach where it mixes with enzymes, and then passes it (via regurgitation) to another bee’s mouth. This process is repeated until the nectar becomes partially digested and is then deposited into a honeycomb.WOW! Right? Seem’s like a lot of work. Well, yes. It is. This is part of what makes Honey so exceptional.
Honeybees will then fan the liquid nectar with their little wings, helping the water to evaporate and create the thick substance we all know as “honey.” This honeycomb is then sealed with a liquid secretion from the bee’s abdomen, which hardens into beeswax.
“Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.”
There are more than 300 kinds of honey in the US, each with a unique color and flavor that is dependent upon the nectar source. Lighter colored honey’s, such as those made from orange blossoms, tend to be milder in flavor while darker-colored honey’s, like those made from wildflowers, tend to have a more robust flavor.
Honey Facts You Might Not Know
Honey, particularly in its raw form, offers unique health benefits that you might not be aware of. Among them…
- Honey Makes Excellent Cough “Medicine”
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film.
Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children.
2.Honey Can Treat Wounds
Honey was a conventional therapy in fighting infection up until the early 20th century, at which time its use slowly vanished with the advent of penicillin. Now the use of honey in wound care is regaining popularity, as researchers are determining exactly how honey can help fight serious skin infections.
Honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidants activities that make it ideal for treating wounds. In the US, Derma Sciences uses Manuka Honey for their Medihoney wound and burn dressings.
Manuka honey (which is what I use) is made with pollen gathered from the flowers of the Manuka bush (a medicinal plant), and clinical trials have found this type of honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including resistant varieties such as:
Compared to other types of honey, Manuka has an extra ingredient with antimicrobial qualities, called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). It is so called because no one has yet been able to discover the unique substance involved that gives it its extraordinary antibacterial activity.
Honey releases hydrogen peroxide through an enzymatic process, which explains its general antiseptic qualities, but active Manuka honey contains “something else” that makes it far superior to other types of honey when it comes to killing off bacteria.
That being said, research shows that any type of unprocessed honey helped wounds and ulcers heal.
3. Honey Improves Your Scalp
Honey diluted with a bit of warm water was shown to significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that causes dandruff and itching. After applying the solution every other day for four weeks, “all of the patients responded markedly.” According to the researchers:
“Itching was relieved and scaling was disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within 2 weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss.”
4. Help Boost Your Energy
A healthy, whole-food diet and proper sleep is the best recipe for boundless energy, but if you’re looking for a quick energy boost, such as before or after a workout, honey can suffice. This is particularly true for athletes looking for a “time-released fuel” to provide energy over a longer duration.
5. Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Locally produced honey, which will contain pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Theoretically, this can activate your immune system and over time can build up your natural immunity against it.
The typical recommendation is to take about a teaspoon-full of locally produced honey per day, starting a few months PRIOR to the pollen season, to allow your system to build up immunity. And the key here is local.
This approach only works because it has pollen of local plants you may be allergic to. Honey from other parts of the country simply won’t work. While research on this has yielded conflicting results, one study found that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:
- 60 percent reduction in symptoms
- Twice as many asymptomatic days
- 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms
- 50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines
Interestingly enough, there were few differences between the two honey groups (those who took regular honey, versus those who took honey that contained birch pollen.) However, the birch pollen honey group used less histamines than those who used regular honey. The authors concluded:
“Patients who pre-seasonally used birch pollen honey had significantly better control of their symptoms than did those on conventional medication only, and they had marginally better control compared to those on regular honey. The results should be regarded as preliminary, but they indicate that birch pollen honey could serve as a complementary therapy for birch pollen allergy.”
3 DIY Honey Home Remedies
Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal addition to moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. Along with its antimicrobial properties, honey makes a wonderful addition to homemade personal care products. The National Honey Board has a few you can try out for yourself:
1.Honey Hair Conditioner: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup olive oil. Work a small amount through your hair until coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as normal and rinse.
2.Honey Body Moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin.
3.Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 6 ½ tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your face gently and rinse with warm water.
The Organic Consumers Association has also published this simple honey lemon cough syrup that’s useful to keep on hand during the winter months:
Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.
This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for a 25 lb. child and 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.
Is Honey a Healthy Natural Sweetener? What you might not know and how to Avoid Fake Honey!
As far as natural sweeteners go, honey does have a place. The main thing to remember when it comes to honey is that not all honey is created equal. The antibacterial activity in some honey is 100 times more potent than in others, while processed refined honey will lack many of these beneficial properties altogether. Your average domestic “Grade A” type honey found in the grocery store is likely highly processed.
It’s also been found that more than 75 percent of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this “fake” honey is made in China. Some of these brokers will even create bogus country of origin papers. All 60 jars of “honey” tested by Food Safety News (FSN) came back negative for pollen, which is a clear sign of ultra-processing.According to FSN:
“The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies. The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others have also ruled that without pollen, there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.”
In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:
- 76 percent of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen
- 77 percent of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen
- 100 percent of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen
The good news is all of the samples from farmers markets, co-ops, and natural stores like Trader Joe’s had the full, proper compliment of pollen, as did organic brands from common grocery stores. When choosing honey, be sure it is raw, unfiltered, and 100% pure, from a trusted source.
Honey Should Be Consumed Only in Moderation
Honey has many healthy attributes, but it is also high in fructose, averaging Approx.53 percent. Each teaspoon of honey has nearly four grams of fructose, which means it can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance and wreak havoc on your body if consumed in excess. So when consuming honey, carefully add the total grams of fructose (including fruits) that you consume each day, and stay below 25 grams of total fructose per day.
Keep in mind, though, that if you have insulin resistance (i.e. if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight) you’d be better off avoiding all sweeteners, including honey, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity and worsen your insulin resistance. If you’re healthy, however, eating raw honey in moderation could provide many of the benefits listed above.
If your kids are finding hard to cope with the physical strain from the buzzing activities at school, prepare them a honey drink, some sandwiches with honey, butter and ham to make sure they have enough energy to sustain through the day. And for optimal sleep and recovery cycle at night, give your child a spoonful of honey before sleep on a daily basis. They may not care a bit about the health benefits of honey now, but will be grateful and love what you do for them when they grow up!
Immunity System Builder
Among the many health benefits of honey, what is most impressive to me is that honey can be a powerful immune system booster. It’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease. Start every brand new day with this cleansing tonic if you want to see this health benefit of honey: before breakfast, mix a spoonful of honey and lemon juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it.
Honey is Anti-Cancer!
Can honey help fight cancer? What many people don’t think enough of or have overlooked is – honey possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties! There are now more and more studies pointing to the potential role of honey in the prevention and the progression of tumor and cancer.
A Great Source Of Vitamins & Minerals:
It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins and minerals and their quantity depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. If you check the vitamin and mineral content in regular sugar from any other source, you will find it to be completely absent or insignificant.
A Great Source for Hair & Skin Benefits:
Honey’s often thought of as a healthier sweetener, but you might be surprised to learn that this ingredient has tons of skin and hair benefits, too. Made by the alchemy of bees collecting nectar, pollen, and resins from flowers, honey can help moisturize, fight aging, and fight bacteria. Plus, it’s loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and healing compounds.
Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air into the skin and ensures it’s retained it in the layers where it’s needed most for penetrating, long-lasting hydration.
Try it: Spread one teaspoon of raw honey on clean, dry skin, and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The enzymes in raw honey clarify skin and keep pores clear and clean. Plus, when mixed the antibacterial properties of honey and jojoba or coconut oil also prevent bacterial buildup that can lead to skin imbalances and breakouts. AMAZING!
Try it: Stir one tablespoon raw honey with two tablespoons jojoba oil or coconut oil until the mixture is spreadable consistency. Apply to clean, dry skin, and massage gently in a circular motion, avoiding your eye area. Rinse with warm water.
Honey contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that thwart bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Its anti-inflammatory properties will calm redness and irritation.
Try it: Apply a dab of raw honey to affected areas, and sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
The enzymes and nutrients in raw honey give dull hair shine without weighing it down. Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft to condition and smooth the cuticle and give your strands the luster you crave.
Try it: Mix one tablespoon raw honey with two tablespoons coconut oil. Apply thoroughly to the bottom two-thirds of damp hair, starting at the ends and working up. Let sit for 20 minutes, and rinse well.
The humectant properties of honey help regulate and retain moisture in hair, plus honey is said to strengthen hair follicles for healthy growth.
Try it: Mix one teaspoon honey with a dime-sized amount of your favorite shampoo. Wash and lather as normal, and rinse well.
Honey is so versatile you can try adding your favorite ingredients to it for a real hair boosting treat!
Now that you know the many benefits of honey, how will you use it to improve your everyday life? Share some of your “I LOVE Honey” tips,tricks, and recipes with us!