Many people use honey as a sweetener in tea, or on bread, biscuits and pancakes. They enjoy its natural sweetness, and may even have a perception that it’s healthier than sugar. But did you know that it has been used for centuries, not only for sweetening, but as a curative, restorative and for many other health benefits? The problem with most “modern” honey is that it has been processed and pasteurized by heat, destroying the beneficial enzymes and properties that make it so healthy to begin with.
Why replace the processed sugar in your diet with a processed honey? To gain the health benefits listed below, make sure the honey you buy is raw. There are no regulations or standards governing the sale and labeling of honey, so the best way to ensure you are getting raw honey is to buy it from a reputable dealer, preferably a local bee keeper.
The health benefits of raw honey come from a complex blend of enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but the main two beneficial properties in raw honey are propolis and pollen. The bee pollen is where much of the vitamins, minerals, protein and other healthful properties are found.
As a matter of fact, bee pollen alone is used by many as a restorative and a healthy tonic. Like pollen, propolis is also gathered by the bees that make the honey and contains many antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic properties, increasing the health benefits of raw honey.
Some of the main health benefits to using raw honey are:
Treatment of wounds, burns and other skin ailments
The antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic properties of the propolis in raw honey make it excellent as a topical salve. Raw honey reacts with fluids in the skin to form a component much like hydrogen peroxide. It has been used to treat burns and wounds and help stop infection. It can also help treat acne by placing a small amount on the affected areas at night and/or washing your face with honey.
Soothing Sore Throats, Colds and Coughs
Many people have mixed a bit of honey with tea at the onset of a sore throat or a cold without knowing why this works. The antibiotics found in natural, raw honey are effective in fighting off a cold and in treating upper respiratory infections, such as a cough. In addition, swallowing a spoonful of honey will coat a sore throat and help reduce the feeling of irritation. You can also add a little honey to your humidifier or a pan of hot water and breathe in the vapor to relieve a stuffy nose or blocked sinuses.
Many people have found relief from allergies by eating honey on a regular basis, primarily in the months leading up to allergy season. This is believed to work in the same way that doctors treat allergies, by exposing your system to small quantities of allergens over a long period of time, therefore, building up a tolerance to them. For this reason, it is important to use locally produced honey, so that the allergens found in the honey are the same ones you encounter.
Fighting Indigestion and Constipation
Raw honey not only doesn’t upset the stomach the way sugar can, it actually contains enzymes which can aid in digestion, nausea and upset stomachs. In addition, mixing a little honey with natural apple cider vinegar can help relieve constipation.
There are many natural and wholesome products on the market today that can provide you with health benefits, but few are as easy, economical, and beneficial as simply replacing your intake of processed, refined sugar with natural raw honey.