The healing powers of honey
Most people think of honey as something that is to be spread on bread, but few realise how many uses it has. Its unique properties mean that it is found in foods, cosmetics, and it even has a place in health care and healing.
Caution: some studies suggest that honey should not be given to babies under the age of one year, as it may lead to poisoning.
Honey has been used for its healing properties for over four thousand years. The Egyptians had over 500 medical formulas based on it whilst the Greeks used it to cure skin disorders. Recent research has shown that they might have had the right idea.
What is honey made of?
Honey is made up from fructose, glucose, water and other sugars. It also contains many enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body needs. Honey contains many antioxidants that are used by the body to eliminate free radicals – molecules which zip around in healthy cells and have the potential to damage them. Honey therefore makes a good alternative to sugar in food and drink. Care must be taken though, as honey does contain lots of sugars and it must be eaten in moderation. Sugars should not generally represent more than 10 percent of your total calorie intake.
How honey can heal
Research being carried out around the world suggests that honey helps in the healing and sterilising of wounds and ulcers, in the growth of new skin, and, has many antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The reason for this is the unique combination of properties that honey has.
Honey is high in sugar, low in protein and quite acidic. These factors combine to make honey free from contaminants itself and help it to kill the contaminants it comes into contact with. The main antibacterial agent in honey is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is released when honey touches the skin. This is produced by the enzyme glucose oxidase which is introduced into honey by the bee. However various types of honey will contain slightly different antibacterial substances.
Honey has a hygroscopic nature. This means that when honey is exposed to air, it draws moisture in from the air. This is very useful as honey may help to:
prevent scarring by keeping the skin moist
help in the growth of new tissue
stop bandages from becoming stuck to an open wound if applied to the bandage before use
It is this nature which causes honey to be an ingredient in lots of cosmetics and make up, as it keeps the skin moist and fresh and prevents drying.
A type of honey called Manuka honey is especially important as it contains a component that is effective against more resistant bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus and helicobacter pylori. It is this type of honey has been shown to be very good in treating some stomach ulcers and sore throats.
Honey contains copper, iron, silica, vitamin B, manganese, chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, aluminum and magnesium. Depending on the part of the world where the honey comes from, honey will vary in mineral content.
WARNING! Never give honey to an infant under 12 months.
• Afternoon Fatigue: At 3:00pm (or when the body is feeling fatigued), drink 1/2 Tablespoon of honey in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder. Energy will increase within one week if taken daily.
• Anxiety and Nervous Tension: Honey is said to calm a nervous, high strung person. It can also help you sleep at night. For insomnia, take 1 Tablespoon of honey at dinner. If that doesn’t work, try mixing 3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 cup of honey in a jar. Take 2 teaspoons before bed. If you don’t fall asleep within the hour, take 2 teaspoons more. An old ayuverdic remedy has men taking the same dosage (2 Tablespoons of honey) before bed to treat impotence.
• Honey for pain relief: Mix 3 Tbls. of honey in boiled water and drink. Honey has natural pain-relieving powers.
• Longevity Tea: Boil 3 cups of water with 4 teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Drink 1/4 cup, 3 or 4 times a day. Said to give steady energy and keep the skin soft!
• Honey Relieves Coughs: Here’s a recipe from the book, by DC Jarvis: boil a whole lemon slowly for 10 minutes. Cut the lemon in 2 and extract the juice. Add juice to a 4 oz glass. Then add 2 Tablespoons of glycerine and fill the remaining glass with honey. Dosage: 1 teaspoon during the day. Stir with spoon before taking. If you have a night-time cough, take 1 teaspoon right before retiring and then another one during the night. If your cough is severe, take concoction every 4 hours starting with when you wake up. As the cough gets better, you take less and less.
• Honey for Burns: Apply to burn, cover with a soft bandage.
• Honey for Asthma: Right before going to bed, take a mixture of 1 tsp. honey with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
• Honey for Hang-overs: Eat honey on bread or crackers. The fructose in the honey helps to flush out the alcohol in your system.
HONEY OR HONEYCOMB FOR ALLERGIES
Honeycomb is an old Vermont remedy for allergies. When honeycomb is chewed regularly during allergy season, it completely alleviates allergies. Recipe: Chew a piece of honeycomb as long as possible as though it were a piece of gum. Within 30 minutes of chewing honeycomb, symptoms like a stuffy nose and headache disappear. Start chewing honeycomb a week or two before allergy season starts and you may not get any allergies. The honeycomb should be from a local bee farm so your best luck in finding a local variety is probably at your farmer’s market. If you can’t find honeycomb, try combed honey. Plain honey apparently works as well: dosage is 2 TBLS at each meal, three times a day.