When we think of honey, the first thought is typically, “A healthy sweetener,” and that’s true enough. But there’s so much more to it. Honey can be beneficial in a multitude of ways, based on its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.
Consider the following amazing health benefits:
Allergies – Just a teaspoon a day of raw, local honey can decrease symptoms of allergies or prevent them altogether. In 2011, a study of 44 patients diagnosed with a birch pollen allergy who consumed either birch pollen honey or regular honey daily, experienced a 60% reduction in symptoms and twice as many days where they were without symptoms. Additionally, they had 70% fewer days with severe symptoms and a 50% decrease in the usage of antihistamines.
Arthritis and leg cramps – Likely, the alkalinizing effect of a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar, when used over a period of time, either internally or externally, has relieved the pain of arthritis. As this mix is anti-inflammatory, it increases circulation and, when rubbed on the legs before bed, can help prevent late night leg cramps.
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) – Combine equal parts warm water and honey then stir to mix well. Allow the mix to cool, then apply as an eye wash. Be aware that honey can sting a bit.
Cough and/or sore throat – Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey, and add a twist of lemon. Drink a bit of this mixture every two to three hours. A research study has determined that children who get a dose of honey cough less and sleep better than those who get cough medicine with dextromethorphan, the ingredient in most over-the-counter cough syrups.
Cuts, burns and other skin abrasions or wounds – Significant research has shown the benefits of using honey in wound management. Since it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it helps in healing, while additionally encouraging the body to use its own enzymes and moisture to re-hydrate, soften and remove dead tissue from wounds. The Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand continues to research these healing benefits and properties of honey. Spread honey liberally on wounds or burns, then leave it open to the air, it’s best (especially with burns) to not apply anything more than a very light gauze.
Diabetic sores – One of the only treatments that can help an unresponsive diabetic wound, apply honey directly to the sore and cover with light gauze.
Diaper rash – No matter how bad the rash, just a thin coating and then allowing the child to go diaper-less for a bit can clear it up in no time.
Digestion issues – Because of its balancing effect on digestion, honey is useful for relieving both diarrhea and constipation.
Immune support – Routine eating of raw, organic honey increases B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, two types of
white blood cells that improve immunity. These are also important in preventing against cancers, such a breast cancer. Read more about how your immune system affects breast health, here.
Insomnia – A spoonful of honey before bed can help support a peaceful night’s rest.
Nasal congestion – Add honey to a steam or simply spread it over the sinus area of the face. Sinus congestion will drain quickly.
Sinusitis – Add a teaspoon of honey to a cup of saline water and use it in a neti pot. Do not use a neti pot while congested. If congested, clear the congestion first.
Stomach ulcer – Honey inhibits the production of H. pylori, which is the culprit behind most ulcers; eat 2 to 3 ounces a day for three months for ulcer relief.
Although, according to the Honey Association, it’s been around for about 150 million years, we continue to learn more about the benefits of this sweet gift from the bees.