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The Health Benefits of Honey

Updated on April 7, 2019
LoisRyan1965 profile image

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.

Loaded with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, phytonutrients, monosaccharaides, glucose and fructose honey is an excellent fat free and low calorie food to keep in your kitchen cabinet. Even though it is sweeter than sugar, it is a far healthier and safer food choice. You can purchase honey at any grocery store, farmer's market and health food store.

Did you notice that different brands of honey have different colors and levels of sweetness? That is because different flowers produce different types of honey. While clover honey is the most common in stores, you can also find honey made from the following flowers:

  • Sage
  • Alfalfa
  • Blueberry
  • Eucalyptus
  • Avocado
  • Orange Blossom
  • Buckwheat
  • Wildflower

Honey is a popular sweet food people put on bread, added as a sweetener to coffee and tea, or to eaten by itself. It is, however, also a food that carries many medical benefits. The use of honey for medicinal purposes dates back to the ancient times. It is said that Aristotle personally used made a salve out of honey to treat wounds and eye sores. Even today people use honey-in addition to a sweet food pleasing to the taste buds-both externally and internally to treat a large range of ailments and conditions.

Replace sugar with honey.  While it is sweeter than sugar, it is far healthier
Replace sugar with honey. While it is sweeter than sugar, it is far healthier | Source

Medicinal Properties Of Honey

Honey contains the following minerals and vitamins:

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sulfur
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C

Honey is rich in antioxidants and even contains more than some of the fruits and vegetables you eat. Even though the sugar content is high in honey, it has many antioxidants that help protect your body from the inside to the outside. The main anti-oxidants in honey are chrysin, pinobanksin, pinocembrin and catalase and they play a key role of destroying the bad cells before they cause any further damage (ncbi).

Honey contains antibacterial properties which are excellent for skin conditions. Since honey is very thick, you can apply it to infected surfaces and not have to worry about it washing or rubbing off. Bacteria cannot get to the area of skin you are trying to protect, because it acts as a protective barrier against water, oxygen and bacteria. This gives time for the skin conditions to heal.

When you have a wound that you want to treat with honey, spread a tablespoon of honey on a gauze pad and place the pad on the wound. When you need to change the dressing, the pad removes easily from the wound. Therefore, you do not have to worry about skin being pulled off, thus reducing the chances of the wound from getting bigger. However, if you notice that the wound is weeping fluids you may have to use more honey since the fluid can dilute the honey.Depending on the size of the wound and amount of liquid weeping from the wound, you may have to change the dressing two to three times a day. However, as your wound heals you will have to change the dressing less often. If you have a deep wound, fill the wound with honey before you apply the dressing.

Honey speeds up the healing process in wounds because of its moistness. If a wound is kept dry the growth of new tissues slow down. With the moistness of honey, wounds take at least half the time to heal compared to other methods. This moist healing environment also plays a major role in reducing the appearance of scars.

Since honey also contains anti-inflammatory properties, when you treat your skin conditions from getting infected, you are also preventing them from getting swollen and reducing pain as well. Not only that, honey is an excellent skin moisturizer and softener. If you suffer from dry skin and psoriasis, try using honey they next time rather than the expensive lotions and creams. Other skin conditions honey can be used for are:

  • Athlete's Foot
  • Boils
  • Burns
  • Foot Ulcers
  • Leg Ulcers
  • Surgical Wounds

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Home Remedies With Honey

Honey is easy to digest because of its enzymes. If you are suffering from nausea, stomach cramps or vomiting, just taking a teaspoon of honey will make you feel better.

If you are suffering from a sore throat or cough, mix a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup of hot water or tea. You can also add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for further sore throat relief. Not only is honey soothing to the sore throat by putting a protective coating on your throat, it also contains antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Honey also has anti-bacterial properties. Including a teaspoon of honey in your daily diet may prevent you from getting strep throat.

Honey boosts the immune system since it contains vitamin C. This is very important to know, especially during the cold and flu season. By mixing a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of lemon juice in a cup of warm water, you can help clear up chest congestion brought on by the cold and flu. For a more effective drink, you can add some ginger and eucalyptus oil. Honey is also effective as a cough syrup and antihistamine. Overall you might avoid getting sick during cold and flu season if you include honey in your daily diet.

There are many medicinal uses of honey.  Keep a jar in your kitchen.
There are many medicinal uses of honey. Keep a jar in your kitchen. | Source

If you suffer from insomnia, drinking warm milk with a teaspoon of honey will help you sleep. Honey contains calming properties and helps your body relax. Since insomnia is oftentimes related to stress and stress can relate to weight gain, honey plays a role while you sleep by speeding up nighttime metabolism and reducing the release of stress hormones.

If you suffer from allergies due to pollen and hay fever, purchase honey and honeycomb from local bees. Eating local honey helps the symptoms disappear because this helps you build up an acquired immunity to the pollens.

If you get stung by a bee, wasp or hornet, apply a little honey to the area where you got stung. Not only is it soothing, the enzymes play a major role in neutralizing the venom from the sting. However, if you are allergic to stings, get treated right away.

If you suffer from arthritis, mix a tablespoon of honey in an eight ounce cup of hot water. You can also mix in a teaspoon of gingerroot, cinnamon or lemon juice since these all contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Honey contains germ-fighting bacteria, especially the ones that cause bad breath. Mix a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of warm water. Gargle for thirty seconds.

Honey is known to help regulate blood sugar in diabetics. Using honey as a sweetener rather than refined sugar or artificial sweeteners not only helps maintain lower sugar levels but also helps clean the liver of toxins.

Honey is excellent for the heart by reducing the amounts of fats that cause arteriosclerosis and plaque build-up.

If you are a victim of stomach ulcers or want to prevent them from occuring, honey is what you need. Not only does it provide a soothing protective coating to your stomach, it attacks and stops the growth of helicobacter pylori which is the main cause of bacteria. While antibiotics do the same job, they also destroy the good bacteria that we need in the stomach for healthy digestion. Honey, however, only goes after the bad bacteria and leaves the good alone.

If you are suffering from constipation, mix a teaspoon of honey with milk, plain yogurt or lemon juice. These help move moisture throughout the digestive system. Since honey also helps stimulate the growth of acidophilus and bifidus (probiotic bacteria needed for healthy digestion) you will start having regular bowel movements in no time at all.

Honey is a natural source of energy because it has a large amount of natural sugar, fructose and glucose. It is healthier than refined sugar and gives you the energy you need to get through the day without any sugar highs and crashes. The next time you sit down with a cup of coffee, add a teaspoon of honey to your drink.


Honey and Lemon Juice

With the health benefits and healing properties of honey, what if it is combined with something just as excellent in healing-lemon juice?

Lemon juice contains anti-bacterial properties which are effective in preventing cuts and scrapes from getting infected. It is also effective in relieving infections such as colds, sore throats, and tonsillitis. It can also aid in relieving indigestion, although it is very acidic. Lemon juice is useful to stimulate detoxification in the body as well as improve liver function. It also helps treats conditions of the digestive system such as constipation, indigestion and upset stomachs.

The astringent properties are excellent for not only acne but also cold sore and fever blisters, sun burn poison ivy rashes and insect bites. Even though bacteria cannot survive in honey, wouldn't it be better to have double the protection? Not only can it be used externally, it can be used internally when you are suffering from a cold, a sore throat and even tonsillitis. A major source of Vitamin C and flavonoids, lemon juice plays an excellent role in boosting your immune system. By including honey and lemon juice in your daily diet, you can prevent yourself from getting a cold or a flu. If by chance you do fall victim to a cold or the flu, try this excellent homemade cough syrup. Add three ounces of lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey into an eight ounce glass of water.

Lemon juice contains anti-aging properties. Just by rubbing a combination of honey and lemon juice on your face, you are helping your skin look younger and healthier. The anti-oxidants found in lemon juice will help prevent wrinkles.

Lemon juice plays a major role in improving liver function by removing the toxins from your body. It even removes kidney stones and prevents crystals from forming in the urinary tract because of its diuretic properties.

Honey contains many health benefits. The same goes for lemon juice. When you combine them both, you will have double the protection.

Excellent Honey Blends For A Sore Throat

Some people may not like the taste of honey. An individual may claim that this sweetener is just too sweet for him. However, he may be missing the many health benefits of honey if he does not take it for that reason alone. They may not realize that including honey in their daily diets will improve his overall health. Now what if that person has a sore throat? Would he still claim that honey, an excellent food source for sore throats, is still too sweet for him? He still may say that. However, there are many excellent honey blends he can try to make that sore throat go away. He may even appreciate the sweetness and health benefits of honey.

One has already been mentioned by mixing three ounces of lemon juice and two tablespoons of honey in a glass of water.

Make a cup of your favorite tea and mix a tablespoon of honey in it. Let the tea cool down until it is warm. If the tea is too hot, it may irritate your throat further. You can even add a tablespoon of honey to warm water.

Slice up a piece of ginger root and add it to a cup of hot water or your favorite tea. Allow it to steep for fifteen minutes. Add a tablespoon of honey.

Warm up a cup of milk and add a tablespoon of honey to it. If you drink this at night, it will help you fall asleep.

Pour four ounces of orange juice and four ounces of lemon juice into a cup. Mix a tablespoon of honey into the drink. The vitamin C in both the orange juice and lemon juice will speed up your recovery.

Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and honey. Store it in a glass or jar and take a tablespoon every four to six hours.

Make a hot toddy by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice, a shot of whiskey, a tablespoon of honey in an eight ounce glass of warm water. This not only will help with the pain but will help you sleep as well.

It is best that your honey blends are warm. If they are too hot or too cold, you may cause further irritation to your throat. Always make sure to use room temperature honey. If you heat your honey, you may destroy some of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in it. And remember, if you are treating an infant with a sore throat, do not give him honey. Children under one year old should see their pediatrician if they have a sore throat.

Using Manuka Honey To Fight Super Bugs

With the many medicinal properties of honey, is it effective against super bugs? “A superbug, also called multi-resistant, is a bacterium that carries several resistance genes” (Wikipedia). This type of bacteria is resistant-or has a super immunity-to most medicines and antibiotics. Diseases that were once easy to treat are now becoming deadly where more and more people are being killed off by the super bugs. Once such super bug is known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aurelius (MRSA). While many staph infections are easily treated with antibiotics, this strain of staph “is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections” (mayoclinic).

What we need to stop MRSR and other super bugs in their tracks is a “super honey.” However, does such a honey exist? Are scientists researching the medicinal effects of honey on super bugs? Is there a “super honey” that destroys all bacteria?

With over three hundred different types of honey in the United States alone, it should be no surprise if an all-cure honey is discovered. And it appears the solution to the super bug problem has been found in Australia and New Zealand. There is a flowering plant in these two countries called the Manuka bush. Manuka honey, or jelly bush honey, “has an extra (unidentified) component that isn't found in other honey, which gives it an extra kick (National Geographic).

Research has been done with Manuka honey. This research has been going on since 1981 at The Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. With the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in honey, Dr. Peter Nolan confirms all the healing claims about honey to be true. However, Manuka honey is even more potent than other types of honey. For example, with the research, any bacterium that was exposed to Manuka honey was quickly killed. When this honey was applied to cuts, scrapes and insect bites, it healed faster than other types of honey. Also, in treating wounds, Manuka honey penetrated deeper than other forms of honey.

Why is Manuka honey more effective than other types of honey? It is said that the Manuka flower contains a higher amount of anti-microbial properties compared to other nectar bearing flowers.

Research continues with the effectiveness of Manuka honey against super bugs. You can purchase a wide variety of Manuka honey products in health foods stores and online. While this type of honey costs considerably more than clover honey, that little extra you pay will be worth it.

Add honey rather than sugar to your favorite cup of tea or coffee for a healthier beverage.
Add honey rather than sugar to your favorite cup of tea or coffee for a healthier beverage. | Source

Preserving Your Life With Honey

Honey comes from the nectar of a variety of flowers. Bees collect this nectar and make it into honey. It is a major food source and energy for bees, especially during the winter months when they need the food to survive.

When you see a bee, what is your first reaction? Is it to run away so you do not get stung? Do you swat at it with a newspaper or spray it with insecticide to kill it? You really should just leave the bee alone or better yet, learn from it. If you love the taste of honey and enjoy all the health benefits, you must realize that without bees, there would be no honey.

People have been consuming honey for centuries. It was used to sweeten cakes, biscuits and many other types of foods and drinks. While used for culinary dishes, it was also used for medicinal purposes as well ranging from treating burns, rashes and sore throats to embalming the dead. Even today still use honey to treat many health ailments and to improve their health as well.

Honey is rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, it is an excellent source of energy. If you are an athlete, taking honey before and after a sporting event will help replace the vitamins and .minerals you expel through your body.

Even though it has a high sugar content, honey plays a key role in weight loss. It aids in the digestion process and helps break down fats. With its sweet taste, just a teaspoon of it will help satisfy cravings for unhealthier sweets.

You can prevent stomach problems by taking a tablespoon of honey three times a day. This comes in handy for women who experience menstrual cramping.

Honey is a natural cough syrup. This works with coughs due to the cold and flu as well as coughs due to bronchitis and asthma.

Protect your heart by grinding up five cloves of garlic and five slices of onions and adding it to a jar of honey. After you let this sit for approximately two day, take a tablespoon three times a day. The healing properties of all three will help and prevent heart related diseases.

If you suffer from insomnia, or just do not get between six and eight hours a sleep a night, take a teaspoon each of honey and aloe vera juice just before you go to bed. The calming properties in each will help your body relax and ease you into slumberland.

If you are diabetic, use honey in your coffee and tea rather than sugar and artificial sweeteners. Honey plays an important role in lowering and maintaining blood sugar.

Undiluted Honey

When you are shopping for honey, while it is best to get 100% pure honey, it may be diluted with extra sugars, syrups and water. It is best to get honey that is undiluted. How do you know whether that jar of honey is either diluted or undiluted? Can it be the price of the honey? Would the more expensive bottle be unadulterated honey? In most cases, the answer would be yes if you find the bottle at a local grocery or health food store. However, there are some cases where somebody sold jars of honey, claiming it to be undiluted, and turns out that it was fraud.

You really cannot tell by looking at the color of honey in the jars on the grocery shelves. Different types of honey have different types of color. It is the same with the viscosity of honey. One type may be thicker than another.The best thing to do is go with brands that you are familiar with.

Does this mean that you would have to conduct laboratory tests that are both time consuming and complex to see if the honey you are interested in buying is undiluted? The answer is no. There are three tests you can try. If you are at the grocery or health food store, you will have to wait until you get home to test the honey. However, some beekeepers may be willing to perform on-the-spot tests for you before you purchase the honey.

The first test is the match test. Dip the head of a phosphorus match-whether from a matchbook or a back of matches-into the honey. Strike the match against the igniting part of the book or box. If the match burns, then your honey is undiluted. If the match does not work the first time, try a second match.

The second test is the water test. Do this by filling a glass with water. It is best to use pure, bottled water. Put a teaspoon of honey in the water. Since honey is denser than water, pure undiluted honey will immediately sink to the bottom of the glass.

The third test is the ant test. Find a spot in your back yard where there are usually ants. Place a dab on honey on the ground and see what the ants do. Do they seem to be uninterested in the honey or run away from it? Are they attracted to the honey? If the honey seems to repel the ants, then it is pure undiluted honey. If the honey attracts the ants, the honey has been diluted with, most likely, sugar.

While diluted honey may contain some healing properties, they are not as potent or effective as the properties of undiluted honey. Now that you know how to identify undiluted honey, take advantage of this sweet treat.

With the many brands of honey out there, which one should you use? Get whatever brands you can afford. Since each type of honey has a different color and level of sweetness, try several varieties and see which ones suit your taste buds best. You can also purchase honey that is made strictly for medicinal purposes. This type of honey has been sterilized by processes such as gamma irradiation in laboratories. The Naked Bee is one brand that sells a variety of honey lotions and creams. Burt's Bee's have many products to consider as well. Many stores such as Wal-Mart sell these brands. You can also purchase these brands and others as well on sites such as and

While honey contains many medicinal properties, never give it to children who are less than a year old. It is said that infants can catch botulism from eating honey because their stomach are not developed enough to fight the botulism spores that some honey contains. Remember to always talk to your doctor before you start using honey as a medicinal treatment.

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© 2017 Lois Ryan


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