What is Honey?
Honey has been considered a wonderful healing agent for ages. It is a sweet and viscous fluid made by honey bees from the nectar of flowers. Honey comes in a variety of colors, from almost white down to darker colors such as amber, red, or brown. Honey is an amazing antibacterial substance which is comprised of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals (like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate), vitamins (such as B1, B2, C, B6, B5, B3), trace elements (like copper, iodine, and zinc) as well as amino acids. The nutritional properties, color and flavour of honey are determined by the types of flowers the bees pollinate.
What are the Benefits of Honey?
Honey contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and therefore is a wonderful beauty aid that nourishes the skin and the hair. Honey also acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent and helps disinfect and speed the healing process in wounds, scrapes and burns.
Scientific research from the University of California, Davis has also revealed that honey consumption raises our protective antioxidant levels. Antioxidants combat the free radicals which can damage cells.
Healthy Uses of Honey
Cold and Sore Throat Home Remedy
Honey is considered to be one of the best natural remedies for sore throats, coughs and general cold symptoms. Honey has long been used in various natural sore throat remedies ranging from teas to syrups. Even today many commercial preparations for sore throats and coughs (such as lozenges) are still primarily based on honey. For a simple and natural remedy to a cold or sore throat, take one teaspoon of honey twice a day until cured. If your cold or sore throat persists for longer than 5 days, you should contact your doctor.
Honey as a Beauty Aid
- Cleansing Scrub: Honey mixed with ground almonds makes an excellent facial cleansing scrub.
- Skin Firming Mask: A tablespoon of honey whisked together with an egg white, 1 teaspoon of glycerin and about 1/4 cup of flour makes an excellent firming mask. Just smooth on the face, leave on 15 minutes, and rinse off with warm water. You will be pleased with the results.
- Skin Moisturizer: Honey also makes a great moisturizing pack. Just mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 teaspoons of whole milk, smooth over the face and throat, and let it do its job for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, and finish splashing with cold water.
- Lotion for Dry Patches: Honey also makes a great lotion for dry patches of skin on hands, elbows, or other parts. Just mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to hands, elbows, heels of your foot, etc., and wash off after 15 minutes. Fast relief!
- Cure for Chapped Lips and Acne: Honey works well on chapped lips and for acne because it has antibacterial properties.
- Conditioner for Dull Hair: To give your hair lustrous shine, mix 1 teaspoon of honey into 4 cups of warm water. Use as a hair rinse. And if you're a blond, add the juice of 1 lemon, too.
- Antibacterial Mouthwash: Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with a cup of warm water. Use it as a mouthwash. Honey cleans teeth and dentures, and kills germs in the mouth.
What are the Side Effects of Honey?
There are no known regular side effects to honey when used in moderation. However, it is recommended that raw honey not be fed to infants under the age of one year. This is due to the potential for honey to carry C. botulinum spores which may be harmful to the undeveloped immune systems of infants.
Where and How to Buy Honey
There are two primary things to keep in mind when purchasing honey for nutritional purposes. First, dark colored honey, such as buckwheat honey, is generally thought to contain higher levels of antioxidants than the lighter colored varieties. Second, raw or unprocessed honey contains the widest variety of health-supportive substances. Any added sugar is simply a non-nutritive empty calorie that robs the body of vitamins and minerals.