Honey has always been a very popular culinary delicacy as well as an important medical remedy for many millennia. Across the globe, our ancestors seemed to be well aware of the many health benefits of honey. Its earliest known use as a medicinal prescription is found in Sumerian clay tablets that may be almost 4000 years old. Almost 30% of the Sumerians’ medical treatments included honey. In India, honey is an important part of Siddha and Ayurveda – the ancient, traditional systems of medicine. In ancient Egypt, it was used in managing skin and eye diseases, and also as a natural bandage applied on wounds and burns. Several other cultures have also used honey for various medical purposes.
1. Prevent cancer and heart disease:
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
2. Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis. This may be related to the 3rd benefit…
3. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal:
“All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
4. Increase athletic performance.
Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.
5. Reduce cough and throat irritation:
Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep.
6. Balance the 5 elements:
Honey has been used in ayurvedic medicine in Nepal and India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea.
Honey is referred as “Yogavahi” since it has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues of the body. When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.
7. Blood sugar regulation:
Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar. (Watch this video Sweetener Comparison where I compare stevia, brown rice syrup, honey, molasses and agave, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each.)
8. Heal wounds and burns:
External application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s anti-bacterial nature combine to create this effect.
Some varieties of honey possess large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey.”
10. Beautiful skin:
Its anti-bacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing! For a powerful home beauty treatment for which you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen already, read Carrot Face Mask.
11. Boosts Memory
The sweet nectar is loaded in antioxidants that may help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain. A 2011 study published in Menopause found a daily spoonful of Malaysian honey may boost postmenopausal women’s memory, which can provide an alternative therapy for the hormone-related intellectual decline. After four months of taking 20 grams of honey a day, the women were more likely to have better short-term memory than their counterparts who took hormone pills.
12. Sleep Aid
Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. “The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep,” Rene Ficek, registered dietitian and lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating in Chicago, Ill., told Medical Daily in an email.