Honey is a sweet thick syrup obtained from the honeycomb of bees. It is a staple found in most kitchens around the world.
Everyone knows that honey is a healthier alternative for sugar, but did you know that it is also packed with numerous health benefits? In fact, the use of honey to treat ailments have been traced back to several centuries ago!
In this article, we will unfold the unusual health benefits of honey, backed by science!
25 Health Benefits of Honey
1. Heals Wounds Rapidly
One of the most popular medicinal uses of honey is for rapid wound healing. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that honey accelerates healing of postoperative wounds with minimal scarring.
But how does a sweet sorghum like honey do this? Honey contains a glucose oxidase enzyme. It is essential for the production of hydrogen peroxide, which is a very potent antimicrobial compound. The acidity of honey also helps in killing bacteria that interfere with the wound healing process. As a result, wounds are able to heal faster, and the rate of infection decreases.
2. Soothes Throat Irritation and Cough
Infections of the throat can be caused by viruses, sinus infections, allergies, and smoking. Honey is great to use against the common cold, and can be used to alleviate coughs and irritated throats. Buckwheat honey in particular is beneficial for soothing infected throats.
One study shows that a dose of honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant medication.
3. Immunity Booster
If you think that only Vitamin C can help boost your immune system, think again! According to recent research, honey does it better. This naturally occurring sweetener can stimulate your immune system to fight against infections. It aids in the production of B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes, which are your body’s highly specialized defender cells.
Studies show that honey helps in the generation of cytokine, which are cell signalers. They signal to your immune system when to fight off invading infections.
4. Improves Your Skin
Did you know that honey is also good for your skin? Recent studies prove that the therapeutic effects of honey are the key to having a glowing complexion.
A mixture of honey and turmeric can be a natural and affordable alternative to your daily skin products. Moreover, adverse effects are next to nothing. Honey is gentle on almost every skin type.
5. Lowers Blood Sugars
You might be skeptical as to how honey can lower blood sugars and prevent spikes since it is a sweetener.
An article published in 2014 shows that honey increases insulin levels in the blood while reducing serum glucose and fructosamine. Honey is also found to decrease levels of triglycerides and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), while increasing your good cholesterol (HDL).
The article also explains that using honey in combination with anti-diabetic drugs yields more effective results. Respondents in this study experienced improvement in glycemic control and better antioxidant defenses. Since honey controls sugar spikes in your blood, it also helps to prevent macrovascular complications.
You should still limit the amounts of honey you have per day due to its high sugar content, but you don’t need to completely deprive yourself of it either. It’s just a matter of choosing the right sweetener.
6. Helps You Sleep
These days most people, due to their hectic lifestyle, have difficulty sleeping. More often than not, they are resorting to sleeping pills and other drugs that may have damaging effects.
Apparently, honey can turn your sleepless night into night a deep sleep. How? When you consume honey, your blood insulin levels rise. In return, it also triggers the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Your body then converts this into a chemical called melatonin. This naturally occurring compound is responsible for making you feel sleepy at night.
Instead of opting for a sleeping aid medication, why not sip on a warm cup of decaffeinated tea with honey before bedtime?
7. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Aside from its antimicrobial properties, various studies show that honey can decrease inflammation in the body.
One study tested several varieties of honey to check its capacity to reduce the presence of reactive oxygen. This type of oxygen contributes to inflammation. Results show that after applying honey to wounds, there was a notable reduction in the number of inflammatory cells. The study also reiterates that the variety and color of honey determines the extent of its healing value.
In addition, honey is also known to prevent natural allergies against pollen, dust, and grass. However, the exact compound that contributes to this medicinal effect of honey remains unknown.
8. Fights Dandruff
Are you embarrassed by the dry white flakes on your scalp? Have you tried several shampoos that claim to get rid of dandruff, only to have it come back in a few hours?
Good news — a simple solution of honey can be the cure you’ve been waiting for, as per a recent study. Simply apply diluted honey on your scalp and leave it in for a few hours. Do this everyday and your scalp will be flake-free again in no time.
In fact, you can apply this same honey solution even if you don’t have dandruff. It acts as a natural moisturizer to keep your hair soft and shiny. So feel free to lather up your hair with natural honey and make your crowning glory as beautiful as ever.
9. Treats Gastrointestinal Tract Diseases
Do you suffer from diarrhea, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, or other such diseases? A teaspoon of honey-a-day could be the remedy you need. According to one article, honey can be used as a potent medicine against stomach diseases. A concoction of 5% concentration of honey significantly decreases the duration of diarrhea.
Adding honey to your oral rehydration solution can also be of great help. It increases the potassium level in your body, while keeping the sodium level within range.
Honey also helps repair damaged intestinal tissues and stimulates the growth of new ones. The study also shows that the oral administration of honey could reduce lesions in an ethanol damaged stomach.
10. Relieves Hangovers
Hangovers are no fun and can ruin your entire day. One of the unusual wonders of honey is its ability to fight a hangover. The horrible hangover headache occurs from of your liver’s inability to process all the alcohol in your system.
Consuming foods that contain natural fructose helps to speed up the process of oxidation of alcohol. As a result, your body can flush out the toxins at a faster rate. Although honey can help to relieve a hangover, you should still drink in moderation.
11. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
A natural remedy against antibiotic resistant bacteria is honey! Antibiotics are used as backup agents in killing bacteria that our immune system cannot eradicate on its own. But some strains of bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics overtime. As a result, they continue to reproduce despite a high dose of antibiotics.
Medical grade honey can kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. There are several factors that contribute to this ability. It comes from its high osmolarity, due to its sugar concentration and its acidic pH value. Undiluted honey has a pH of around 3.2 to 4.5.
Lastly, the capability of honey to produce hydrogen peroxide contribute to its unique ability to fight against resistant bacteria.
12. Treats Acne
Acne is a common skin condition among adolescent and adults. If your facial cream is not giving you the best results, try using honey!
There are two ways in which honey can help fight acne. First, you can incorporate it into your diet. Try using honey as a sweetener in your tea or adding it to your salad dressing. Another option is to apply the honey directly to the affected areas. Leave the mask on for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with warm water.
You can also prepare a mixture of cinnamon and honey for boosted antibacterial effects. Adding honey to your natural DIY face masks have proved to be beneficial against acne.
13. Promotes a Healthy Nervous System
Honey is great for your nervous system. This study concludes that honey has a nootropic property — meaning it can enhance brain function. It helps in the development of the entire nervous system, especially in newborn babies.
Honey also contains a flavonoid called catechin. Research studies show that this element can delay memory regression due to old age.
Honey is also abundant in chrysin, another flavonoid that targets the central receptor of the brain. As a result, it can reduce the possibility of neuro-degeneration, dementia, and other conditions affecting your nervous system.
14. Increases Libido
Low libido is not healthy for a relationship. However, honey not only brings sweetness to your food, but it can also renews the warmth and excitement between you and your partner.
Honey is a natural aphrodisiac. In fact, Hippocrates himself is said to have prescribed his patients honey to increase their sex drive. So why settle for synthetic sex drive enhancers that come with nasty side effects? Try it out and go natural with honey!
15. Source of Natural Energy
If you feel weak all the time and lack the energy to perform your day-to-day tasks, a simple dose of honey could bring you back up to speed.
Honey contains fructose and glucose. These simple sugars can be used as ready source of calories whenever your body feels depleted of energy. Since most of the sugars in honey are in its simplest form, they convert easily into your bloodstream. As a result, you get instant energy.
This medical wonder of honey benefits individuals with an active lifestyle, such as athletes. Aside from providing energy, it is also effective in maintaining muscle collagen. This is a stored form of carbohydrates that your body can tap into whenever necessary.
16. Treats Yeast Infections
A common problem amongst women is yeast infections, such as candidiasis. They can get it from various sources such as menstruation, poor hygiene, or a compromised immune system.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include itchiness of the vagina, discharge, and a foul smell. However, honey can easily put a stop to this condition. Honey contains flavonoids that can help combat fungal infections.
You can prepare a simple honey and yogurt mixture at home. Apply this directly around the vagina, once or twice a day. Leave the mixture applied for at least 10 minutes, then rinse completely. Forget about commercial feminine washes that costs a fortune. Instead, opt for a more affordable and natural option — honey.
17. Fights Against Certain Cancer Cells
The health benefits of honey don’t end at just treating simple infections and inflammation. In fact, one study shows that honey has positive effects against cancer cells. Honey’s anti-cancer properties function as a barrier against implantation tumors in oncological procedures. It is also shown to reduce fever after chemotherapy.
Honeys health benefits extend to leukemia patients. It is said to provide protection for children with suppressed immune systems due to leukemia. Research shows that honey is moderately effective against tumors. It is proven to be significantly effective in fighting against metastatic growth.
More studies are yet to confirm if it can help prevent cancer. This initial stage shows a promising result for a possible medical breakthrough.
18. Treats Gum Disease
Gum disease can sometimes result in poor oral hygiene. It is caused by certain bacterias that grow inside your mouth. Eventually, these colonies will target your teeth, causing gum disease.
Due to its strong antimicrobial property, honey can be used as a potent remedy against gum disease, such as gingivitis and plaque. The secret once again lies in its capacity to produce hydrogen peroxide. This compound minimizes the growth of bacteria inside of your mouth.
If you run out of mouthwash, simply dilute honey with warm water and use it as a rinse substitute. Apparently, not all sweets are bad for your teeth! Use honey for better oral health.
19. Curbs Appetite
Did you know that a sweet condiment like honey may help you reduce weight? It may sound ironic since it is made up of sugars.
Studies show that honey reduces the level of leptin, a hormone found in the body. Leptin regulates your appetite and in turn, decreases your caloric intake. Certain studies also prove that honey may improve digestion. So the next time you feel like you can’t stop eating, try feasting on a teaspoon of honey.
20. Relieves Eczema
Eczema is a serious skin condition that can impact ones quality of life. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the outer layer of skin. As a result, your skin becomes dry and flaky. Honey can relieve dry skin, canker sores, and bleeding gums.
Try combining honey with lime, cinnamon and warm water. Drink this concoction daily for the best results. In addition, you can also add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to your concoction for added benefits.
You can also apply honey directly to the affected areas. Be sure to always use organic raw honey. You can expect to see changes after a few weeks.
21. Cures Eye Diseases
Indians were the first to use honey for eye diseases. It helps prevent scarring of the cornea that can stem from measles.
One study showed the effects of honey which involved 102 subjects with various eye diseases. They applied honey in the form of an ointment under their lower eyelid. The results showed improvements in 85% of the subjects. There were no deterioration in condition for any of the subjects since the start of the treatment.
Honey for treating eye cases is best used in a diluted form. Mixing water and honey 50% by volume would be an ideal preparation. Manuka honey is ideal for eye remedies.
22. Source of Important Vitamins and Minerals
If you think that honey is just sugar, think again. Honey is also a great source of vital vitamins and minerals. The nutrients vary depending on which flower the nectar was taken from.
Almost all types of honey contain a substantial amount of vitamin C, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B6, niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and iron.
Honey also contains calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, fluoride, copper and zinc. This makes honey a much more favorable option than just regular sugar.
23. Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Your body needs tons of daily antioxidants to fight off cancerous cells. Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation or deterioration of human cells. Manuka honey in particular is known to be an excellent source of antioxidants.
Certain varieties of Manuka honey contain phenolic compounds. These compounds are very important in reducing free radicals, which are damaging to the human body.
In addition, Manuka honey can remove scavenge wastes. The presence of methyl syringate allows it to protect the body against oxidative damage. Similarly, it can also significantly reduce DNA damage and regulate the peroxidase activity in the liver.
24. Regulates Lipids (Cholesterol)
Having high levels of lipids (cholesterol) can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Honey can be used instead of regular sugar, for a healthy heart. Aside from regulating your appetite and glycemic index, honey can also help keep your lipids under control.
In one study, respondents were asked to take honey for 15 consecutive days. The results showed a significant decrease of lipids and plasma glucose levels.
25. Anti-Viral Properties
Can you imagine using honey to treat viral infections like herpes? One study showed positive results in treating herpetic lesions on the labia and genitals.
The study compared the effects of honey and acyclovir treatments. Honey proved to have better results, with no side effects. On the other hand, those who used acyclovir experienced itchiness. In addition, honey also helped in the management of pain and symptoms of labial herpes and genital wounds.
Who would have thought that Winnie the Pooh’s all time favorite snack held a ton of health benefits? Get on board and start your honey-packed health regimen today. After all, it’s affordable, accessible, and healthier. Just be sure to buy organic raw honey for the best results.
Have you tried using honey as a natural home remedy before? Share it with us by leaving your comments below.