Did you know that honey has been used and consumed throughout recorded history for over 4000 years? We have the hardworking bee to thank for this precious gift. Bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey; this nectar contains almost 600 compounds, it may offer more than just flavor, research is finding that honey may provide a variety of health benefits as well.
1. Reduce cough and throat irritation:
Your mum was right – it’s a sound cough remedy. When it comes to easing the cough and sleep problems associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection, honey may be preferable to standard cough suppressants, particularly buckwheat honey. Combine a spoonful of honey with some freshly-squeezed lemon juice and drink at regular intervals. You can also mix the honey with lemon juice and a pinch of salt and gargle. (Please note that honey should not be given to babies under the age of 12 months.)
2. Honey is Anti-Cancer:
Honey does not cure cancer but what many people don’t think enough of or have overlooked is – honey possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties! Honey contains flavonoids, generally known as antioxidants, have powerful influences when entered into the body’s cells. When ingested, they immediately increase the antioxidant levels within cells.
3. Healthy skin
Milk and honey are often served together, since both of these ingredients help in creating smooth, beautiful skin. Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in milk and honey to preserve her youth and beauty. Honey’s antibacterial properties are also great for acne, eczema, psoriasis, wounds and burns. Read more at how to get perfect skin.
4. Digestive health
Honey is a well-known tonic for the digestive system, helpful in controlling a host of digestive complaints, from diarrhea and indigestion to gastroenteritis and stomach ulcers. It is rich in friendly bacteria which act as a probiotic and keep the digestive healthy. For the treatment of ulcers – take 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey on an empty stomach (half an hour before a meal) up to three times a day to provide pain relief and assist in healing.
Some honey proponents claim that regular consumption of locally harvested honey can help protect against allergies (such as hay fever). Why locally honey? The locally honey contains very tiny amounts of the pollen found in your area. These tiny amounts of pollen are not enough to trigger the allergic reaction when you ingest the locally honey, but they do help your body to build up a tolerance to the pollen.
6. Honey in Wound Management
The healing powers of honey are not overstated. There have been some cases in which people have reported positive effects of honey in treating wounds. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and therefore helps keep wounds clean and free from infection. Honey is also effective for cuts and burns – it reduces pain and swelling, and promotes healing. Simply dab some honey on the affected area.
7. Immunity System Builder
Amongst the many health benefits of honey, what is most impressive to me is that honey can be a powerful immune system booster. A study published in FASEB Journal found that honey can kill bacteria due to a protein called defensing-1, while other research found that Manuka honey kills bacteria by destroying key bacteria proteins. As a result, our body immunity is improved against many conditions, even potentially fatal ones like cancer or heart disease. Researchers also note that natural honey kills bacteria three times more effectively than artificial honey.
A note of caution: never give honey to children under one years of age because their immune systems are not developed enough to ward off infantile botulism, which is carried in honey spores. In addition, honey has a high caloric value (one tablespoon of honey has 64 calories), so don’t eat too much of it if you value your good health and want to maintain a healthy weight.