The unusual healing benefits of honey
Honey isn’t just a sweet treat. Here are eight ways raw honey benefits your health
‘Honey has many healing properties,’ says holistic nutritionist Kim Edmundson. ‘Traditionally, raw honey has been used to help some people fight seasonal allergies, and it may also help to heal bacteria that can cause inflammation in the digestive tract.’ Here are eight more ways to use honey:
1. It’s a natural sweetener
Honey is the most natural sweetener you will find. You’ve heard of people putting honey in their tea instead of refined sugar – or substituting honey for sugar in baking. ‘But keep in mind that honey is still a sugar, and should be consumed in moderation,’ says Edmundson.
2. Build up your immune system
Researched published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found honey to have certain properties, which prevented the growth of tumours when tested on mice. The antioxidants in honey may also help to protect your immune system and ward off ailments such as cold and flu.
3. Soothe a sore throat
Have a cough? Try a dose of honey’it’s a great suppressant. (Try this honey, onion and garlic cough syrup). And with the sore throat that often accompanies a cough and/or cold, honey is a great lubricant for the throat. Try this homemade honey gargle to soothe a sore throat.
But keep in mind that children under one year of age should not consume honey as it has the potential to cause infant botulism.
4. Cure a hangover
Honey is a very concentrated source of fructose, a form of sugar that speeds up the oxidation of alcohol in the liver. Eating honey the morning after a night of drinking is one way to help your body flush out whatever alcohol remains in your system.
5. Beat insomnia
Honey is a fat-digesting carbohydrate, meaning it stimulates the release of insulin. This, in turn, activates tryptophan (the compound that makes us sleepy). If you’re having trouble sleeping, try having a glass of warm milk with honey before bed. The heat from the warm milk helps to further enhance the tryptophan effect.
6. Improve your athletic performance
Rather than reaching for a quick carb-fix and consuming sports drinks laced with refined sugars, try having a spoonful of honey for an energy boost. Studies suggest that honey may be one of the most effective carbohydrates to ingest before a workout since it’s easily digested and releases into the body at a steady rate.
7. Heal cuts and burns
Honey’s antibacterial and antifungal properties may inhibit bacterial growth. Before modern medicine, hospitals and clinics would sometimes apply honey to burns and other open wounds to help prevent infection. Try it yourself: Next time you have a cut, minor abrasion or minor burn, dab a little honey on the affected area to help prevent infection. But don’t forget to cover it with a bandage.
8. Moisturize skin and hair
Honey is a great conditioner and often used in face masks because it helps to absorb and retain water. Mix honey with olive oil for an all-natural hair conditioner, or try this moisturizing face mask and lip treatment.
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