Table of Contents
- Why Honey
- The Process of Making Honey
- Helps with Allergies
- Energy Booster
- Memory Booster
- Cough Suppressant
- Helps with Sleeping
- Helps with Dandruff
- Helps with Scrapes and Burns
- Helps with Herpes
- Can be Used as a Moisturizer
- Helps Soothe Acid Reflux
- Boosts the Immune System
- Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer
- Honey for Hangovers
- Helps with Acne
- Increases Sex Drive
- Treats Sinus Issues
- Treats Yeast Infections
- Helps with Gum Disease
- Is a Natural Sweetener, but Beware of Lame Honey
- Helps with Eczema
- Helps with Cholesterol
- Use Honey in Moderation
If you’re not taking full advantage of the nutritional and medicinal properties of honey, it’s time to begin doing so because honey is a remarkable healing agent for all sorts of ailments. People have been using honey for its antibacterial and antifungal properties since the ancient times. In fact, the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians documented the healing properties of honey as early as Aristotle’s mention of it in 384 BC. Even King Solomon of the Bible said, “My son, eat thou honey, for it is good.” Honey is certainly an old product that has won over the hearts of many in the natural healing niche. Honey is the way to go not just to replace sugar, but to add nutrition and wellness to your life. At its basic makeup, one tablespoon of honey is about 64 calories and has no fat or cholesterol. It includes vitamins, trace enzymes, amino acids, and minerals like calcium, iron, sodium chlorine, magnesium, phosphate, and potassium. Because of its bend toward the acidic PH level (3.2 to 4.5), it helps reduce bacteria growth and the antioxidant properties help it wipe out some free radicals. It is perhaps one of the best sweeteners on the planet and we all know that we could use less processed sugar!
The Process of Making Honey
You’d be surprised to know the effort that goes into making honey as it’s not just your run-of-the-mill kind of process. Bee experts assert that to make one pound of honey, it takes approximately 60,000 bees traveling to possibly 2 million flowers (around 55,000 miles) to extract enough nectar. That’s a lot of teamwork and it takes a lot of time! Did you know that bees have an extra stomach that they store the nectar in? Yes, these lucky bees get to have two stomachs to ingest their favorite food – pollen. In the extra stomach, the nectar from the pollen they gather mixes with enzymes, which the bee regurgitates (vomits) right into another bee’s mouth. Sounds gross, but it’s actually very natural and not as dirty as it sounds. This process keeps repeating until the nectar is partially digested. It then gets stored in a honeycomb and the bees use their wings to fan the liquid nectar to make it thicker. Afterward, a liquid which seals the nectar is secreted from the bee’s abdomen and the nectar is hardened into beeswax. If you haven’t taken a look at a bunch of bees hovering in and around a honeycomb, it’s actually very interesting!
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of honey so that more and more people will take advantage of this natural healing and health aid. It is important to note right up front that you should not give honey to an infant because their immune and digestive systems are still developing. Should the honey have botulism in it, their little bodies aren’t quite ready to fight it off like that of a child or adult.
Helps with Allergies
Because of honey’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is able to help reduce allergy symptoms. It acts as a natural vaccine because it contains little amounts of pollen. Do you suffer with a runny nose and itchy eyes when allergy season hits? Are you constantly popping Benadryl or using Nasonex nasal spray? If so, honey will do you a world of good. Once your body gets a small taste of the honey’s pollen, it will produce antibodies that will take care of that pollen, which means that your body will build up a defense against that allergy, over time. It’s like your immune system gets a tiny hint of that pollen you’re allergic to and goes into attack mode. Because it’s just a little bit of pollen, your immune system successfully attacks and kills it, building up immunity to it at the same time. Pretty amazing, huh? It is important to ingest honey that is from your local region as this is the honey that will contain pollen spores from the local flowers. By taking a little bit of honey daily (a teaspoon is recommended), your body will build up a natural immunity to the allergens that would normally make you crazy with allergy symptoms. Keep in mind that you should begin taking honey two to three months before allergy season to give your body time to build that immunity. To obtain local honey, hit the farmers market, a co-op, or a natural health food store near you.
Ever feel like lying your head down on your desk at work after lunch because you’re feeling completely zapped? How about trouble getting moving in the morning? Yes, our energy can surely fluctuate, so anytime we can utilize a natural energy booster, it’s certainly a win-win. Because of its high carbohydrate load, honey is a wonderful source of unprocessed sugar energy. The glucose and fructose hit the bloodstream quickly, which gives you the boost you need to get moving. It’s a great way to start off a long exercise regimen. Otherwise, include it with your breakfast every morning to give you the boost you need. A great idea is to add a spoonful to a cup of hot tea, as well as cutting back on your coffee consumption; too much coffee does not really give you an energy boost. You can also make some iced tea for the afternoon and sweeten it with a tablespoon of honey. Heck, you might as well just carry a little jar with you to have on hand. Just take one to two tablespoons of raw honey per day and keep it moving.
As we age, we want to keep our memory sharp, so consuming foods that will give the memory a boost is recommended. Antioxidants are fabulous for feeding the cells of your brain the food it needs to thrive. You’ll find that there are plenty of antioxidants in honey, which can help keep your brain in tip-top shape. In fact, research shows that honey may help postmenopausal women’s memory stay sharp by simply taking one spoonful each day. Adding a teaspoon to a cup of tea each day is an easy and refreshing way to meet that quota. Honey also helps the brain absorb calcium, which helps with memory as well. Taking good care of your brain via consuming proper nutrition can decrease your chances of contending with dementia down the road.
With the common cold being so prevalent, especially during winter months, it’s a great idea to have honey handy as it helps reduce a cough. Sure, you can take over-the-counter cough syrups, but are you willing to ingest ingredients that are harsh on your immune system? Not every ingredient in cough syrup screams health for your body, but honey is an old-fashioned cough remedy that is jam-packed with health benefits. The honey coats the throat and keeps it calm by soothing the nerve endings that protect the throat. Some doctors believe that two tablespoons of honey are just as effective as cough suppressants. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) gives credence to honey as a demulcent (something that relieves irritation or inflammation), which helps alleviate a cough due to the honey acting as a protective film over the throat. Here is a great recipe for a honey lemon cough syrup that will surely help you out should you acquire a cough:
Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
You’ll need one lemon and some raw, unprocessed honey. Look for such at a farmer’s market, co-op, or natural health food store in your locality. Lemons are great at killing bacteria and, along with honey, soothing your throat. To make this cough syrup, simply get a small pan out and heat a pint of raw honey at a low heat level. Do not overheat honey, as this will alter its medicinal properties. Afterwards, get a second pan and boil the whole lemon for a few minutes. This will kill bacteria that may be on the lemon skin and soften the lemon. Once the lemon cools, slice it and add it to the warm honey on the stove. Simmer this concoction for one hour and then strain the lemon pieces from the honey mixture. Cool the honey, put it in a bottle, and refrigerate. It can be kept for about two months.
If you have a cough, take 1 tablespoon up to 4 times a day. Children between 25 and 50 pounds can be given half a teaspoon. Do not give honey to infants under a year old as the honey irritates their digestive systems.
Helps with Sleeping
A good bit of the population has trouble falling or staying asleep, which can cause extreme fatigue and crankiness. Instead of instantly resorting to sleep aids, think about natural remedies for the situation. When those restless nights come, honey can certainly come to your rescue. Here is a brief synopsis of the science behind why honey may help you fall asleep faster. The sweetness of honey causes your insulin levels to rise, which in turn releases the neurotransmitter serotonin. Then, the body converts serotonin to melatonin – a chemical that helps your body sleep. In addition to serotonin, amino acids are found in honey, which contribute to the production of the amino acid tryptophan. When tryptophan gets to the brain, it is converted into serotonin and, eventually, melatonin, so you have even more of it to help you sleep better. Now that you understand that, go ahead and have a teaspoon of honey each evening as you wind down. A couple of wonderful ways to do this is to add it to some chamomile tea or make yourself a glass of Golden Milk – an Ayurveda recipe that uses turmeric, honey, almond milk, and pepper to help reduce inflammation and calm the body for a good night’s rest. Do some research on this ancient medicinal drink; you’ll find a plethora of helpful information on its benefits.
Helps with Dandruff
Have an itchy scalp? Got dandruff issues? Walking around scratching your scalp can be fairly embarrassing. The good news is that researchers have found that when you apply a diluted solution of honey and water to the scalp and leave it on for a few hours, your scalp will get back to its healthy self in no time. In fact, some people report that skin lesions completely heal after just a couple weeks of this remedy; others say that they saw an improvement in avoiding hair loss as well. Honey works so well with scalp issues because of its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. So feel free to lather up your head with some local honey and receive this deep type of conditioning for the scalp so that you won’t have to worry about dry, flaky scalp any longer. You can even use honey if you don’t have any scalp issues; it will simply moisturize and give your hair a wonderful conditioning.
Helps with Scrapes and Burns
Because of its natural antibiotic nature, honey can help soothe and treat wounds and burns. Got a scrape or wound? Simply apply honey and it will help disinfect the wound from some serious bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In fact, honey was used as an infection-fighting therapy for many years until penicillin came on the scene in the early 20th century. Many turned to penicillin and the use of honey to treat infection waned. Now, with so many people interested in getting back to natural remedies, honey has become much more popular for treating such cases. A great honey for treating wounds and burns is Manuka honey which is made from the pollen from Manuka bush flowers. One of my favorite Manuka honey is Wedderspoon 100% Raw Premium Manuka Honey which you can buy on Amazon. There have been clinical studies done on this type of honey and it has been found that over 250 clinical strains of bacteria are treated by Manuka honey. It has a special ingredient that makes it much more powerful than the other honey types. No one knows exactly what the ingredient is, so it’s simply called the “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF). Even if you cannot obtain Manuka honey, any raw, unprocessed honey can help wounds and burns heal quickly. Children love this type of remedy for their scrapes or burns because it does not sting them like hydrogen peroxide. Offer them a small taste of the honey before applying it as they will learn that honey is super good for their bodies and hopefully continue to consume it throughout life.
Helps with Herpes
Dealing with herpes breakouts can surely be frustrating and sometimes the over-the-counter medications simply don’t work the way people would like them to. Not to mention, many people don’t like to purchase herpes medication as they feel ashamed of their condition. Those that contend with herpes will be relieved to hear that honey can help with symptoms of herpes because if applied on sores, it draws fluid away from them. Furthermore, because honey has a high sugar value, it keeps microorganism growth to a minimum. The nectar from the bees includes the enzyme glucose oxidase, which helps when the honey is applied to your wound because a little bit of hydrogen peroxide is released, cleansing the wound. If you contend with herpes breakouts, do give honey a try to see if you get some relief and if the sores heal quicker. Honey can be a safe, affordable healing agent that will certainly save you from spending big money on prescription or over-the-counter medicines that oftentimes come with side effects or toxic ingredients.
Can be Used as a Moisturizer
For those who like DIY home remedies, honey is a fantastic ingredient that will help restore moisture to your hands, feet, and entire body. Since honey retains moisture quite well, you can add it to shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizers for wonderful results. Here are several DIY honey home recipes you can use today:
Honey Body Moisturizer:
- Combine 5 TBS honey, 2 TBS rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a bottle and shake
- Use this moisturizer as often as you’d like
Honey Hair Conditioner:
- Combine ½ cup honey with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Apply this to your hair and work it in well
- Use a shower cap to cover your hair for 30 minutes and then shampoo as you would normally
Honey Almond Exfoliating Scrub:
- Combine 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, and 6 TBS crushed almonds
- Apply to your face gently, rubbing it around, and rinse with warm water
Helps Soothe Acid Reflux
Honey has been known to help prevent Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and soothe acid reflux and heartburn. The best type of honey to use for this is Manuka honey from New Zealand, but if you cannot purchase it, any raw, unprocessed honey will do. There is quite a bit of research indicating that honey can help reduce symptoms associated with acid reflux and it can aid in healing the esophagus. Perhaps not backed by as much evidence, but some say that honey will also heal H. pylori infections in the stomach, which are oftentimes the culprit for stomach ulcers. What occurs when you consume honey is that it lines the esophagus, which helps heal inflammation or damage; this will ultimately help reduce GERD symptoms. Some say that honey also helps keep digestion going smoothly because it contains certain enzymes that give the digestive system a boost. If you’re contending with acid reflux, consume one teaspoon before each major meal and consider adding it to a cup of warm tea before bed. Do not give honey to an infant as their digestive systems are not fully developed yet and can make the infant very sick if, by chance, the honey has botulism in it.
Boosts the Immune System
The immune system is very important for good health because it wards off sickness and disease. In a fast-paced world where many people complain of chronic stress, being able to use a natural substance to boost your immune system is a godsend. If your immune system is running low, you’ll feel zapped and be more susceptible to sickness. The good news is that regular consumption of honey can give your immune system a wonderful boost because it has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. It can also help cleanse and build up your digestive system, which is essential for optimal health. Here is a fabulous daily cleansing drink for you to try and give your body the boost it needs:
- Get a warm glass of water and add ½ the juice from a lemon and a teaspoon of honey.
- Mix it well and drink.
- Do this each day in the morning or evening within a short period of time; you should notice that you’re feeling more energetic and perhaps even less stressed.
Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer
Yes, honey is another food that can help prevent or fight cancer because it has carcinogen-preventing properties and can help fight the growth of existing tumors. Perhaps you’ve heard how cancer actually feeds on sugar, but honey does not have the same properties as sugar. Honey has wonderful flavonoids and phenolic compounds that make it a superfood and give it anti-metastatic properties that can fight tumors and cancer. More specifically, honey includes the phenolic compounds: gallic acid, chrysin, elegiac acid, p-Coumaric acid, syringic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid; all are thought to contribute to the healing of the cells of the body. The evidence of honey helping with the prevention and healing of cancer cells is growing and much more research needs to be done, but the initial findings are promising. Regular consumption of raw, unprocessed honey can certainly be an easy and affordable way to give your body the boost it needs to ward off sickness.
Honey for Hangovers
Ah, waking up with a hangover is one of the worst feelings, right? Even when you resolve to just “have a few”, sometimes you throw back more than your liver can handle and wake up feeling less than fine. You throw a pillow over your head and vow to never drink that much again and try to go back to sleep. You might even have to call in sick for work. Yes, hangovers bite, but there are some things you can do to help make that hangover go away fast and consuming honey is one of them. How does it help? Honey helps your liver speed up the oxidation of the alcohol, which helps get the toxins out of your body faster. That headache you feel is caused by the liver’s inability to process all of the toxins from the drinks you quickly consumed. It takes time, but honey can help speed up that process. Drinking lots of water is another great way to get over hangovers faster. Here is a great recipe for the hangover blues:
Hangover Blues Smoothie
When you’ve got the hangover blues, feel free to use honey to help you get to feeling back to normal. There’s nothing worse than trying to tackle the day with a pounding headache and nausea. Simply add 1 tablespoon of honey to 2 cups of orange juice and 1 cup of Greek yogurt or Kefir. Blend these ingredients until smooth and drink up.
Helps with Acne
No one likes to contend with acne. Whether you’re an adolescent or an adult, if you’re struggling with acne, consider adding honey to your diet and applying it to affected areas. It contains humectants that moisturize your skin and have the ability to kill the bacteria that is causing your acne. There are several ways you can use honey to help reduce acne. A great way to fight acne is to apply raw, unprocessed honey to the areas on your body that are prone to it; these areas usually being the face, chest, or back. Leave the honey on for about 30 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Another great recipe is adding cinnamon to honey and applying it to the affected area or ingesting it daily.
Simply dissolve a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to 8 oz. of hot or boiling water. Simmer for about 30 minutes and then add 1 teaspoon of honey. Drink this in the morning about 30 minutes before breakfast. You should see some results and feel better in general within a few weeks.
Increases Sex Drive
Low libido? That’s no fun. The good news is that honey is a natural aphrodisiac and regular consumption can give your libido the boost it deserves! Researchers say that honey helps men produce more testosterone; as for women, it helps with estrogen levels. It’s been long known that honey can help give people more arousal in the bedroom, yet many are not taking advantage of such an easy remedy for low libido. The Vikings totally believed that honey boosted fertility. Long ago, the Chinese tied a goblet of wine, honey, and a red thread together; those getting married would sip on such to toast to their deep love and union. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, told patients to take honey to increase sex drive. Haven’t you seen sensual pictures depicting lovers eating honey and having a blissful time? Yes, you’ll even find Indian brides giving honey to the grooms as a gesture of sweetness. Today you’ll oftentimes find people giving jars of honey as wedding gifts and as favors, as it’s become somewhat of a nice tradition.
Treats Sinus Issues
When your sinuses are inflamed, it can cause a host of annoying symptoms. It’s estimated that about 31 million people have sinus issue flare-ups and spend plenty of money on medicine for such. If you’ve ever had a raging sinus episode where all you wanted to do was knock yourself out and sleep, you’ll appreciate the good news that honey may help with such issues. Yes, simply begin ingesting ½ to 1 teaspoon of honey each day or evening before bed and within several months you may notice a decrease of symptoms associated with inflamed sinuses. Some researchers assert that there is something in the honey that kills off the bacteria than can cause sinus infections. If this is the case, you could skip taking antibiotics, which will save money and be better for your body.
Treats Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are actually quite common can be an immense bother for women. There are various reasons why women get such infections, whether it’s from menstruation, taking antibiotics, sensitivity to soap, bad hygiene, and so on. Symptoms can range from vaginal itchiness to a white discharge with odor from the vagina. When the acidic nature of the vagina gets out of balance, Candida albicans thrives in such an environment, causing the yeast infection. Now, many women already know that taking Lactobacillus acidophilus helps, but many do not realize that honey may be quite helpful too. Yes, the flavonoids in honey help keep Candida albicans at bay in a majority of women who try honey as a home remedy. You can mix honey with plain yogurt and use it topically around the vagina area once or twice per day to see if it takes care of the yeast infection. A good ratio to mix together is 2 tablespoons of raw, unprocessed honey to 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt. If you don’t want to mix it with yogurt, you can simply use raw honey. Clean your vagina area well and then apply the mixture to the area surrounding the vagina and push some of it up into the vagina with your fingers. Let it set for about 10 minutes and then wash. It’s a good idea to do this twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. Manuka honey is probably your best bet, as it has a higher antibacterial strength to it.
Helps with Gum Disease
Because honey is a good antimicrobial substance, it can help fight gum disease despite its sugar content. Researchers state that there is an enzyme in honey that is responsible for creating hydrogen peroxide. This peroxide is what gives honey the antimicrobial quality, decreasing the growth of plaque bacteria and limiting the amount of acid. Bet you never thought you’d hear that honey can be compared to your mouthwash. Yes, Manuka honey has a super anti-bacterial quality to it and because it has the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), it is extra potent. Simply dilute honey and use it as a mouthwash or make a toothpaste out of it and brush your teeth. You can also brush your teeth with your toothpaste and then rub the honey onto the teeth afterwards.
Is a Natural Sweetener, but Beware of Lame Honey
Yes, honey is a great natural sweetener, but beware of people or producers that process honey and strip it of much of its antibacterial properties. If you’re purchasing Grade A honey at your local super market, chances are it has been highly processed. In fact, some say that ¾ of the honey found in grocery stores has been so processed, that it has lost just about all of its nutritional benefits. Much of this so-called honey originates in China and there is no sign of pollen even in the jars, which means they have been ultra-processed. So if you’re shopping at stores like Harris Teeter, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and even Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, beware. A wonderful place to purchase raw, unfiltered local honey is from your farmers market, or from Amazon.
Helps with Eczema
For those of you who suffer from eczema, honey is a natural treatment that may give you the relief you are seeking. Eczema is a skin condition that involved the skin’s outer layer becoming inflamed. If you’re struggling with eczema, your skin is probably a bit dry and flaky. In fact, some patches may look like little scales. It is thought that the reason some people get eczema is an overactive immune system and it can be mild, moderate, or severe. For some, it can be an embarrassing condition and can sometimes become painful. If the skin becomes raw from scratching, a bacterial infection could develop. A wonderful home remedy for such is using a mixture of honey, cinnamon, and lime juice. Simply add a teaspoon of honey to a glass of warm water and then add the juice from half a lemon. Stir this and drink daily. You can also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to this mixture if you don’t mind the bitter taste of the vinegar. Besides being good for eczema, apple cider vinegar is great for a whole host of ailments and conditions. You can apply honey to the affected areas of the skin a few times each day to see if it helps clear up the bad spots. Give it several weeks before you make any conclusions.
Helps with Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels do matter, so finding easy solutions for lowering cholesterol is what we all like to do. Cholesterol is necessary in the body to help you digest fat, but too much of it isn’t good for the health. Health experts recommend intaking about 1,000 mg of cholesterol per day. With the body already producing some cholesterol, it’s essential to watch how much meat, eggs, dairy products, and other high-cholesterol foods we consume. By eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and drinking plenty of water, your cholesterol levels should be alright. But if you are contending with higher levels of cholesterol, consider adding a tablespoon of honey to your diet each day. Honey has zero cholesterol and has plenty of great nutrients like calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. Also, honey has antioxidants in it, which help bind free radicals in the body. Here is a great recipe to add to your daily regimen that will help lower your cholesterol:
- 1 teaspoon honey
- juice of half a lemon
- couple dashes of powdered cinnamon
- simply mix together in a warm glass of water and consume once a day
Use Honey in Moderation
Although honey is super good for you, use it in moderation due to its level of fructose. One teaspoon of honey can have almost 4 grams of fructose, which, if taken in high quantities, can mess with those who have diabetes or a pre-existing insulin resistant condition. It’s recommended to stay below 25 grams of fructose each day. Although it is a natural remedy for many things, you must be careful to consume a little bit of honey each day or use it topically as necessary. Take note of how you feel after doing this regularly for several months. Many people who begin using honey regularly, note how much more energy they have. A great deal of people praise honey for its medicinal effects. If you’re not sure how to incorporate honey into your life regularly, use some of the ideas listed here. Purchasing a book about honey that lists natural home remedies for all sorts of ailments and illnesses is another option. Some may work for you and some may not, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried something organic and natural instead of hitting the pharmacy for medicine. When Mother Earth provides such amazing and natural home remedies, it’s important to take note and take advantage of them. There are literally hundreds of natural cures for all sorts of ailments. Take some time and make a commitment to try various remedies for you and your family. Honey is quite affordable and regularly available in most communities. Again, be sure to purchase your honey from the locals, whether it’s at the farmers market, local co-op, or local natural health food store. You’ll come to love honey more and more as you incorporate it into your life regularly.