Raw Honey: Sweet Benefits
Many people have heard that honey is good for you but do you know how and why? There are a number of conflicting 'old wives tales' about the benefits of honey, as well. What are the facts and what are the fables?
The evidence of the benefits of honey date back to ancient Egypt, in some cases. The Egyptians used the natural preservative qualities of honey to preserve foods. It does not mold or decompose with age although it may crystallize. However, when heated the crystallization can be almost completely reversed.
The health benefits and uses of honey can be traced to medieval times, and have begun to be rediscovered. There have been many scientific studies done recently on the health benefits and uses of honey. The effectiveness of some of these benefits can vary by the type of pollen and location of the hives the honey comes from. Since the honey making process cannot be controlled or standardized each batch of honey will vary a little.
Traditional Uses of Raw Honey
One of the earliest uses of honey was likely for the topical treatment of burns and wounds. There have been studies done on the effectiveness of treating minor cuts, scrapes and burns with it as well. Among the noted benefits were a reduction in pain and inflammation, a natural and gentle removal of the dead skin cells, as well as quicker healing with minimal scarring.
There is promising research overseas about the effects of honey in cancer treatment. This research is not conclusive, but seems to show a significant slowing in the spread and growth of some cancer cells.
Studies have also shown supporting evidence that honey can aid in the healing and prevention of fungal and viral infections,in minor wounds and the body in general.
Other studies suggest that honey can also help reduce bad cholesterol levels, when consumed on a daily basis. Many people believe that it causes a lower rise in blood sugar levels than refined sugars.
Local raw honey has been rumored to aid in the tolerance of outdoor allergies. Honey is also a natural cough suppressant, and much easier to get a child to take than the conventional alternative, an over the counter medication.
Other uses for honey, traditional and modern, include
- Candida growth is inhibited in honey
- Diluted to 40 percent honey is an antibacterial to Salmonella shigella, E. coli and vibrio cholera
- Urinary tract infections
- Helping skin grafts heal
- Cuts down on scarring
Using Honey Every Day
Reaping these benefits is much more simple than you might think. Honey can add a nice mild flavor when used as a sweetener in hot or iced tea. It has a comforting flavor when spread on hot, buttered toast. Honey is also very good in oatmeal, or as a dip for fruits. It can replace part or even all of the refined sugar in many common recipes.
The best place to get good, raw, local honey, is your local produce stand or farmers market. Honey in bigger stores can be from across the country, and is almost always processed. Once honey is heated and processed much of the benefits are gone. It is best to get fresh, local, raw honey whenever possible.
Before you use honey for health purposes always discuss your intentions with your health care provider. He can guide you to the best plan for your health. It is important never to feed raw honey to a child under the age of two. There are occasionally bacteria in unpasteurized honey that can make a small child quite ill. It does not effect adults and older children.