Using Raw Honey for your Health
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NOTE: Remember to always consult a physician before trying any home remedy. The methods we share here are considered safe by many herbal practitioners, but you should always do your own research before using any home healing aid. Honey also should not be given to infants under the age of one. The views expressed by authors on this site are based on their experiences only; The Happy Hive in no way provides any warranty, expressed or implied, toward the content of these articles. Please use at your own risk.
Did you know that raw honey is a great addition to your home remedy toolkit? For thousands of years, healers and homemakers alike have been using honey to help prevent sickness, heal ailments, and treat injuries.
Here we provide a summary of some of the ways that honey benefits your health, and links to resources to learn more.
What is “raw honey?”
Raw honey is natural honey removed from the comb, filtered, and put into a jar. The best form of raw honey you can possibly get is raw honey from a local (or nearby) producer.
Why is raw honey better for you?
Raw honey is better for you because it has not been overly processed and has no added ingredients. Unfortunately, grocery store honey has often been altered or tainted.
Honey is sometimes heated in order to keep it liquid and avoid crystallization. But heating honey kills off many of the beneficial components of honey.
Grocery store honey may also contain virtually none of the real honey you are looking for! Studies have shown that grocery store honey may be watered down, diluted with artificial sweeteners, or even tainted with chemicals. Yuck.
Stick with raw honey sold by local producers with no added ingredients. You’ll be doing the best for your health and your family’s health.
Home Remedies with Honey
Using honey for your health is a tradition that has existed for thousands of years. Honey has important antibacterial and antihistamine properties that make it a great addition to your medicine cabinet.
Using Honey for Cold & Flu
One of the best-known uses of honey for your health is treating seasonal allergies with honey. If you can find a honey produced in close proximity to your home, you’ll do even better in fighting allergies. Local honey contains antihistamines specific to your geographic region because bees obtain pollen from local plants. You can try adding a spoonful of honey per day to your diet. You can eat honey straight from the spoon or add it to tea, yogurt, or other favorites.
Honey is also great for sore throats and coughs. In fact, our pediatrician has often told us that a spoonful of honey is just as good as any over-the-counter cough medicine! The recipe for honey cough syrup in 52 Homestead Skills by Kimberlee Bastien is soothing and delicious.
Fire cider is a traditional cold and flu prevention made with honey and spices. It is used by herbalists world wide. Many credit the earliest official recipe for Fire Cider to Rosemary Gladstar. Her book, Fire Cider: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar, shares many variations of fire cider from herbalists around the world.
Using Honey for Wounds
Honey has also shown benefits in wound and scar healing. So much so that some hospitals are using honey in burn units and surgery recovery.
There are many characteristics of honey that make it a powerful wound healer. Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties; it may prevent scarring; and it can provide a protective barrier, among other benefits (Traynor, 2011). This is why we add a touch of honey to our homemade lip balm. The honey provides n extra boost for dry, cracked lips.
Honey can be applied directly to some wounds, but since that can get messy we sometimes make a balm that honey plus other healing ingredients. We applied a balm containing honey to our daughter’s scar from heart surgery and saw great results.
Honey is especially powerful on mild burns (first degree or less). Burns like this will heal themselves in a few days, but applying some honey (either straight or mixed with a lotion) can sooth the burn and keep it from blistering.
Remember, we aren’t doctors so we recommend you consult with your doctor before trying honey for ailments or injuries.
For more ideas on using honey for your health, we highly recommend Kirsten Traynor’s Book Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey. We had the pleasure of listening to Ms. Traynor give a talk at a meeting of our local Beekeeping Association and were thoroughly impressed with her research.
Using Honey for Digestion & Diet
Honey is a sweetener for sure, so we don’t recommend consuming it in high levels on a daily basis. However, there are characteristics of honey that make it a much preferable sweetener to other forms of sugar.
Honey is sweeter by quantity than other forms of sugars, so you can use less of it to sweeten your favorite baked goods or your tea. The sugars in honey are also digested more slowly than other sugars. Honey is a longer lasting satisfaction compared to chomping on a chocolate bar or sugary snack.
Studies are still being conducted on honey and its impacts on the digestive tract. Some promising research has shown that honey may stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut, thereby improving digestion. This is because not all of the sugars in honey are fully digested or absorbed earlier in the digestive process. These sugars are still around to stimulate good bacteria growth (Traynor, 2011). This may also explain why many folk traditions promote the use of honey as a mild laxative.
Other studies have shown that it may enhance your immune system’s ability to fight infections. Most of these studies suggest small amounts of honey, so don’t go eating a whole bottle in one day!