Honey is more than just a sweetener, it is a superfood that has been used as a medicine for over 7,000 years.
In this article you can read more about the good properties of honey and how honey can be used both internally and externally.
Honey is healthier than sugar
A healthy diet is varied. It also suitably contains carbohydrates.
When you need a sweetener, choose honey instead of sugar. Honey is 10-15% sweeter than regular sugar, so you don’t have to use that much. In addition, it has about 20% fewer calories than regular sugar.
Honey also promotes weight management by promoting digestion.
35-50% of honey sugars are grape sugar, or glucose.
It is absorbed and refreshed almost immediately as it raises blood sugar levels quickly. Some of the glucose is already absorbed by the body from the oral mucosa.
On the other hand: 40-50% of sugars are fructose, which is absorbed relatively slowly, and therefore honey keeps blood sugar steady for longer than regular white sugar.
Athletes in particular benefit from honey, which provides energy before a workout and helps them endure the entire workout. For example, honey can be added to the liquid you drink during sports to stay energetic until the end.
Other sugars in honey in addition to fruit and grape sugar include sucrose and maltose. They are only a fraction of the total.
Health effects of honey
Unprocessed honey has many healthy ingredients. The antioxidants in honey increase resistance and protect us from various viruses and diseases.
Honey should be added to a diet, especially during the flu season. For example, try to make a habit of adding a tablespoon of honey on top of your morning porridge!
Honey helps with coughing
In the treatment of a cough, honey has been found to be much better than cough medicines.
It can be enjoyed naturally or in a hot drink such as herbal tea.
Honey heals wounds
Honey treatment has been found to heal even severe wounds on average about 12% faster than regular wound care.
The wound-healing effect of honey is based on the fact that it absorbs fluid from the wound. In that way, it minimizes the activity of bacteria that need moisture.
The liquid-absorbing effect of honey is based on the high sugar content, the hydrogen peroxide and propolis it contains.
Propolis is an antibacterial putty produced by bees that allows bees to:
- Repair the holes in the hive
- Prevent bacteria from entering the hive
- Small animals that may have entered the nest will “embalm”
Honey also prevents dirt from entering the wound. (Please note that a diabetic should not use honey for wound care or even skin care.)
Honey may also cause an allergic reaction. This is especially possible if you are allergic to Artemisia vulgaris.
Honey can also be used (with the permission of a veterinarian) to treat wounds in animals.
Honey does good for the entire digestive system
Honey has also been found to heal mouth wounds and can reduce bad breath. It may also reduce intestinal diseases and indigestion.
Honey before going to bed
Honey can help with falling asleep. For example, consuming honey before going to bed relaxes, soothes, and helps you get to sleep.
Honey is one of the oldest medicines
As well as being a superfood, honey has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. It has been used by healers in various countries.
Official medicine and trained doctors have also taken advantage of the healing properties of honey.
The main medical effect of honey is that it destroys harmful bacteria.
How long has honey been used as a medicine?
It is difficult to say how long honey has been used as a medicine. Bees have been making honey for us for at least a hundred million years.
There is written evidence that honey was used to support well-being 7,500 years ago.
About 900 of the healing agents used in ancient Egypt are known, and 500 of them contain honey.
Honey has been used, among other things:
- For swelling
- For urinary stones
- To improve sports performance
Today, it is also used in hospitals to treat coughs and wounds. You can find bandages containing honey in the pharmacy.
It is now known that honey:
- Prevents the growth of microbes and yeasts
- Prevents and reduces inflammation
- Is suitable for the treatment of wounds and burns as well as cold sores
- Helps coughs more effectively than many other cough medicines
At the moment scientist are studying the effectiveness of honey in the treatment of these diseases, among others:
- High blood pressure
- Heart and vascular diseases
However, honey does not have officially approved health claims in the EU, so honey cannot be marketed as a medicine.
The health effects of honey cannot be reported in the marketing of honey either.
Even today, information on the health effects of honey is passed down mainly as folklore from one generation to the next.
Use of honey externally
Honey is a natural way to care for the skin. It treats, moisturizes, soothes and softens the skin. In addition, it nourishes and cares for hair and is suitable for relaxing strained muscles.
In skin care honey is generally excellent, as it softens and nourishes even dry skin. In addition, honey is a natural product that can be collected without harming the bees. Natural cosmetics at it’s best!
Benefits of honey in skin care:
- Soothes irritated and inflamed skin
- Nourishes the skin
- It also gently exfoliates and treats acne
Hair also receives nutrients from honey.
Honey contains, among other things, vitamin B2, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium.
When you massage tired muscles in the sauna with honey, you can relax them very thoroughly.
How honey can be used in a sauna or massage.
Sauna honey is honey approved for cosmetic use. It is usually 100% honey, which may include a few drops of essential oils.
Sauna honey is applied to the skin in the sauna. It is then allowed to soak for 10-30 minutes until it is washed off.
Honey massage is a traditional massage in Tibet. It is a very luxurious and relaxing treatment.
During the massage, high-quality honey certified for cosmetic use is applied to the client’s body.
When applied to the skin, it turns white. The honey sticks to the hands of the massager, and then the massager “paws” the body rhythmically.
The paw treatment causes a little tingling sensation, but it is not painful at all. Traditional Swedish massage feels way worse, especially if you have sore muscles. Surface circulation improves and gives detox-effect to the whole body.
After the paw treatment, a warm towel and heat pack are often applied to the treated area. The heat enhances the absorption of the good ingredients of honey into the skin.
A warm towel absorbs most of the honey, and the rest is gently wiped off. It is not necessary to take a shower, as the honey easily leaves the skin and does not mess with clothes.
Honey massage is most often done on the back, but is also suitable for facial beauty and is quite a relaxing pampering treatment.
Honey massage is known worldwide (especially in Estonia and Russia) as a treatment to remove and prevent cellulite, focusing on the treatment of the thighs and buttocks.
What can a honey massage do for you?
- Honey skin care cleanses, exfoliates, brightens and nourishes the skin
- Suitable for muscle care and joint pain, because it contains substances that promote muscle recovery
- Antiseptic honey is also used to treat wounds and burns
- Can boost your metabolism, reduce cellulite and speed up the removal of waste products
- Because honey treatment can remove waste products from the body, it is suitable to support fasting or dieting.
- Help normalize blood pressure and heart function
- Can be used to treat various back and joint ailments as well as muscle tension
- Helpful for skin ailments such as acne
- Honey massage is recommended for gout, rheumatism and hormonal problems
- Used to treat small colds and to support the functions of the respiratory and lymphatic systems (including improving immunity)
- Honey massage can relieve stress and depression
Top 14 tips for using honey
It is a good idea to keep a jar of honey visible so that this healthy delicacy can be used more often. So honey is not as unhealthy as white sugar. Honey may even make it easier to control your weight if you take just a teaspoonful or use it only for a couple of days.
- Use as is (a teaspoon in the mouth to promote digestion or stop cravings)
- Mix with tea, coffee, smoothies and other beverages
- Add to sports drink bottle (gives energy and speeds recovery)
- Use for cooking (cooking hot food does not destroy all the health benefits of honey)
- Add to salad dressings (and really anywhere to replace sugar)
- Use for freezing berries
- Spread over porridge or toast
- Suitable for baking
- Use for exfoliating the skin (you can even add salt, sugar or used coffee grounds to the honey)
- Test as a face mask (make oatmeal-honey paste, for example)
- Use to treat cold sores and wounds
- Use to moisturize dry lips
- Apply sauna honey all over the body: peeling & moisturizing at the same time
- Prepare as a shampoo, conditioner or hair mask: mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 2 dl of water and apply to hair
Honey is by no means the only product of the hive. The beehive also provides:
- Queen Jelly
- Bee venom
- Larvae for food
- Beehive air (apitherapy)
These products also have a wealth of health effects and can be used in a variety of ways to support well-being.
Marja Simonen is a blogger interested in ecological lifestyle and reducing consumption. Her blog https://www.kultainto.com presents sustainable choices in everyday life as well as the best savings tips.