The healing powers of honey have been around for centuries; going as far back as Cleopatra’s reign over Egypt. Cleopatra was said to soak in milk and honey to improve her skin and the Egyptians used honey not only as an offering, but for wounds and an embalming fluid.
Today, honey is used for far more practical reasons. Research has shown that honey’s active phytonutrients, antibacterial and antifungal properties contribute to an array of health benefits you can enjoy.
However, honey is not for everyone. You should avoid giving honey, directly from the bottle, to your infant (foods containing small amounts of honey are ok). Honey, when given to infants, runs the risk of botulism. Infant’s immune systems are not strong enough to fight off the infection. Additionally, because honey comes from bees, people allergic to bees may experience adverse or allergic reactions to honey depending on their sensitivity to bees.
Below are some of the ways you can use honey to improve your health and beauty!
Suppress your cough
Honey can be used to soothe your throat and suppress your cough. Studies have shown honey works as well as or better than most over-the-counter cough syrups when it comes to soothing your throat and suppressing your cough. Honey works in two ways to soothe your throat and suppress your cough. First, honey’s thick consistency allows it to coat your throat to stop irritation. Second, honey’s sweet taste is said to suppress the impulse to cough by triggering certain nerves in your throat.
Studies have shown honey does reduce or even stop the growth of food-borne pathogens. It has also been shown to fight bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus and pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is important to make note that the darker the honey you purchase the better the antibacterial properties the honey contains .
Helps heal wounds
Since honey works as an antibacterial, applying a thin layer of honey to a minor wound helps sterilize the wound. This can help reduce scabbing and allow the wound to heal smoothly. The antibacterial properties are activated when the honey is exposed to oxygen, which helps activate an enzyme that forms hydrogen peroxide, resulting in anti-bacterial capabilities. In addition to antibacterial properties, honey works as an anti-inflammatory. The anti-inflammatory properties help heal, soothe and hydrate the skin to increase cell reproduction and heal your wound. Make sure that when you use honey to treat a wound it is raw honey and it is only being used to treat minor wounds.
The anti-inflammatory properties in honey also help soothe burns. Not only will honey help heal and clean the burn from bacteria, but it can help reduce the stinging sensation from the burn. In addition to regular burns, honey can be used to help heal and soothe sunburns. Honey helps restore hydration to the deepest layers of your skin. Honey’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties help to calm sun burned skin and aid recovery.
Relieve a hangover
Honey contains high amounts of fructose, which will help speed up your body’s metabolism of alcohol. Adding a small amount of honey to your morning toast or tea will help your body rid itself of your hangover.
If you ever have trouble falling asleep at night or staying asleep throughout the night, honey can help give you that better night’s sleep. Honey is said to help you sleep in two different ways. First, honey can help reset hormones and reduce stress that may be causing you to stay awake or wake up in the middle of the night. Second, honey helps facilitate the action of tryptophan, which is known to cause people to feel sleepy.
Moisturize dry and damages skin
Honey is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from the air and traps and seals that moisture onto your skin. This makes it ideal to apply to dry, cracked skin. Apply a small amount of honey to your dry, cracked skin or lips and the honey will essentially “suck” moisture into your skin, helping to relieve the dryness and heal the cracks.
Acne. In addition to honey’s antibacterial properties, it contains antifungal properties that together help reduce bacteria on your face that can lead to acne. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey help reduce redness and irritation that acne can cause.
Exfoliator. Honey contains high amounts of antioxidants, enzymes and other nutrients to help clean, nourish and hydrate your skin. (For a quick homemade exfoliator try mixing 2 tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of baking soda).
Cleanse your pores. Honey contains enzymes that help deeply cleanse your pores. The enzymes help clean, clear out and nourish your pores while the antibacterial properties help prevent bacterial backup in your pores.
Condition your hair. The same nutrients and enzymes that help keep your skin hydrated and healthy can help keep your hair from getting damaged. Honey can be used to help hydrate your hair as well as give your hair a nice shine!
Shampoo enhancer. As mentioned above, honey is a natural humectant, which allows your hair to suck in and maintain moisture to help hydrate your hair. Additionally, this is shown to help improve and strengthen your hair follicles for better, healthier growth.
Highlight your hair. As mentioned above, honey contains enzymes that when exposed to oxygen creates hydrogen peroxide. This process, when applied to your hair, can act as a natural highlighter.
Relax in your tub
Honey’s antioxidant, antibacterial, hydrating, and moisturizing properties make it an ideal addition to your bath. These properties will help heal and condition your skin, relax your body and is something that smells good too!
Honey contains higher amounts of natural sugars and glucose that naturally give the body more energy. These natural sugars and glucose give you a better, healthier and longer boost in energy that can help get you through the day or give you the extra boost you need to finish your workout!
Honey contains high amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage. This gives hone antiviral properties, in addition to antibacterial properties, to help improve and boost your immune system. It can also contribute to heart health and help protect against cancer.