Bees are my best friends. I have tons of them in my yard and it makes me so happy to see them buzzing about, working tirelessly to bring me my absolute favorite thing in the whole world: honey. Oh honey; that golden, sweet, sticky deliciousness that has been boasted about since ancient times. For me, it’s a daily necessity. Not only for my taste buds, but also for my skin. Here are some amazing ways honey promotes health and wellbeing.
Because honey is made from pollen, having a few teaspoons of local, organic honey a day is a great way to combat seasonal allergies. Small amounts of pollen get into your system and build resistance to hay fever.
Honey is a natural sweetener, and although it contains more grams of sugar per serving than white sugar, it’s also sweeter than sugar, so you end up needing less. It is also full of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, potassium, folate, calcium, vitamin B-6, and iron. That makes it a very healthy alternative to white sugar and sugar substitutes. Honey also has a lower glycemic index than sugar.
Honey is a humectant, so it attracts moisture and holds it tight to your skin. It’s also an excellent antimicrobial. I use it everyday in my face wash and toner, and once a week to condition my hair. It’s antibacterial properties make it a great acne treatment as well, and has been rumored to reduce wrinkles. When I have troublesome dry spots on my face, I put a thin layer of honey on it and let it sit anywhere from 5 – 45 minutes. It’s almost magic!
Honey’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties make it an excellent wound-healer for scrapes, burns, bedsores etc., and has been used for centuries all over the world for this very purpose. In fact, it’s been found that those with large abscesses who are resistant to antibiotics make a fast, full recovery when honey is applied topically. It also promotes healthy tissue and muscle growth due to its humectant qualities, and when it comes to changing the dressing of a wound, it’s practically painless since it prevents drying of the skin. When it comes to sunburns, it’s quite an amazing thing! Coupled with an apple cider vinegar rinse, applying a thin layer to the burned area and letting it sit for 45 minutes calms the pain and brings moisture to the skin, promoting healing.
Honey quiets a cough and soothes a sore throat. A study done at Penn State showed that honey was a more effective and safer treatment for colds and coughs in children than over the counter drugs. Growing up, when my dad had a bad cough or sore throat, my mom would make him a Hot Toddy. And for us kids she would make “virgin” hot toddies with honey, lemon juice, and hot water. This is still the treatment I go to when my husband or I are feeling under the weather. Honey soothes on contact, promotes healing, and tastes like comfort.
Honey eases tummy troubles such as gas and indigestion, and has even been shown to sooth the colon when administered as an enema. For an upset tummy, mix one tablespoon of honey with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in hot water, and drink. I drink this every morning (along with lemon juice) to help move along my digestive track.
Because of its antioxidants, honey is an anti-cancer substance that helps your body to fight free radicals, and prevents the breakdown of collagen. It isn’t a cure-all, but it is a great way to prevent disease.
Honey promotes sleep by supplying enough glycogen to the liver to decrease the amount of too-early-in-the-morning adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones. It also helps the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
It’s yummy. Nothing can beat the sweet, sweet flavor of honey on toast, in tea, mixed with peanut butter or yogurt, as a dip for chicken and cheese, or drizzled on popcorn! Honey has been a staple in my house my whole life. There are a million ways to add this sticky substance to your diet, and your body will thank you for it!
Buying real honey
When buying honey, be sure to only purchase raw honey. The reason is that raw honey has not been heated, or it has been heated at very low temperatures to preserve the integrity of the nutritional content and all those fabulous antibacterial properties. When honey is heated at high temperatures, it kills all that good stuff and leaves you with sticky sweetness without much nutritional benefit. Plus, raw honey tastes better! In one study it was found that a large number of popular honey brands contained 0% pollen, meaning the honey was completely depleted of everything but sugar. To avoid this scam, be sure to buy honey that is raw organic, or True Source Certified (It will have a little bee icon on the bottle). I hope you’re as inspired as I am to partake in the sweet, sweet substance that has been highly cherished since Biblical times. A land flowing with raw milk and raw honey? Yes, please.
*Children under 12 months don’t have the microorganisms in their intestines to protect them from a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum that honey sometimes contains. By the time they’re 1 year old, their digestive system will have matured enough to be able to handle honey, and reap the healthful benefits. So save that sticky treat for their first birthday!