Dogs may have a
challenger when it comes to the “Man's Best Friend" Award. Honeybees
pollinate eighty percent of the fruit, vegetable, and seed crops in the
United States. In addition, they are the only insects that produce a food
that humans eat. Honey, which the bees have been producing for 150
million years, contains all of the substances necessary to sustain life,
including water. And if that (in addition to its delicious taste) wasn't
enough, honey provides us with a myriad of health benefits and can be used
in home remedies, baking, and beauty recipes.
research has been looking at honey's use in healing skin problems.
As recently as World War I, honey mixed with cod liver oil was used to
dress wounds. There are a number of reasons why honey is so
effective in wound healing. First, honey topically numbs pain.
Secondly, honey is osmotic; it attracts water. Since bacteria is
mostly made of water, it is sucked dry in the presence of honey.
Bacteria is further inhibited by honey because honey produces hydrogen
peroxide and is acidic. Third, honey activates the immune response by
providing glucose for the white blood cells. Finally, honey speeds
up the healing process. It creates a moist environment by drawing serum
up through the skin tissues that helps “moist scab” formation. Honey
also reduces inflammation, helps shed dead tissue, and stimulates the
development of new blood cells. Honey's antiseptic qualities also
help prevent infections from moving to other wounds. For these
reasons, honey may be very helpful in the treatment of minor burns, open
wounds, abscesses, strep infections, Cesarean incisions, gangrene,
shingles, and abrasions with debris (when the abrasion is dressed with
honey for 24 hours, the honey will actually draw and lift the debris).
Its antifungal properties make it useful in the topical treatment of
athlete's foot and eczema.
Honey is a
panacea for the digestive system and improves a poor appetite. Honey also
contains prebiotics which feed beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteria
(a bacteria that aids in digestion and helps prevent allergies and some
tumor growth). Because of its antimicrobial characteristics, honey
destroys the H. pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and inhibits
the growth of E. Coli and candida. Honey is also a gentle laxative that
isn't “habit-forming” and can be used with children over one year old.
Paradoxically, honey has also been used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
Furthermore, honey can help in the prevention of, and recuperation from, a
hangover - not strictly a digestive issue but we all need some help from
time to time.
medicinal uses include: soothing a sore throat, reducing eye inflammation,
healing cataracts, improving night vision, and/or soothing dry eyes by
sticking a drop on the bottom lid, typhoid fever, pneumonia, allergies,
bronchitis, and sinusitis. Honey can also be a boon to pregnant women -
ginger tea with honey can help with morning sickness, warm milk with honey
may alleviate heartburn and help the mother to sleep, and tea with lemon
and honey can boost the immune system when the mother has a cold and
wishes to avoid medications.
In addition to
these specific medicinal uses, honey is nourishing to the entire body.
As mentioned above, it contains all of the necessary substances for life
including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and all of the B's, calcium, copper,
iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, amino acids, iodine,
and zinc. It is fat free and cholesterol free. Honey has a lower
Glycemic Index rate compared to table sugar; this is because honey
supplies two stages of energy. The glucose is absorbed immediately and
gives a quick energy boost while the fructose is absorbed more slowly and
provides sustained energy. Daily consumption is said to stabilize
blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Mix honey with apple cider
vinegar and / or lemon juice to alkalinize the body (too much acid may
lead to bloating, heartburn, belching, and feeling too full).
of antioxidants is frequently in health news; antioxidants help prevent
cellular damage thus slowing down the aging process. They also help
prevent chronic disease. And you guessed it, honey's got 'em. In
fact, the antioxidant “pinocembrin” is only found in honey.
Generally, the darker the honey, the more antioxidants. It's probably
easier to get your family to take their honey than to eat all their leafy
greens! Honey improves memory, so you'll be able to remember all of
the great benefits it provides. And finally, if you aren't already
feeling good about honey's many gifts, one or two teaspoons in warm milk
is a nice sedative.
medicinally, be sure to purchase raw honey from a reputable source. Eat
at least one teaspoon three to four times a day for most of the issues
listed above. Allow honey to roll down the back of the throat if using to
soothe a sore throat and/or infection. Honey can also be used in the
appropriate herbal tea; for instance, mix it into an infusion of elder
blossoms for a fever. Or chop fresh herbs into honey; coltsfoot and
honey helps one to heal more quickly from a cold. To use on skin
problems, simply apply the honey and cover with gauze or cheesecloth -
messy but effective. Peppermint and/or lavender essential oil may be
added to honey to enhance the healing process. While honey may be used
topically on anybody, it should not be consumed by children under the age
of one year or by those with compromised immune systems. This is because
honey may contain botulinum spores; the digestive systems of adults and
older children are acidic enough to inhibit the bacteria but a baby's
system is not.
With all these
health benefits as well as such a yummy taste, it's time to start cooking
Generally light honey has a more mild taste while dark honey is stronger. A few
pointers will make your kitchen experiments more successful. First of
all, store honey at room temperature so that it doesn't crystallize.
Don't worry, honey will not spoil. In fact, honey was found in King
Tut's tomb and was still edible. Then again, maybe that was the
cause of the curse of King Tut, but never mind... Another point to keep
in mind is that honey has a higher fructose count than sugar; it's at
least 25% sweeter. One half to 2/3 a cup of honey equals one cup of
sugar. Reduce any liquid that's called for in the recipe by half a cup,
add ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and reduce the oven temperature by 25
characteristic that makes honey so fun to experiment with is that honey
tastes much different depending on the flowers that the honeybees visited
on their collection flights. For instance, clover honey has a mild taste
that is sweet and flowery while buckwheat honey is dark and tastes
somewhat similar to molasses. Orange blossom honey is said to be a good
all around honey that is light and mild. Here in the mountains of
North Carolina we have sourwood honey which is light and reminds me of
will turn out differently depending on which variety you use and some
varieties lend themselves better to certain types of cooking. For
example, orange blossom honey's mild taste is good in tea and spread on
breads and biscuits. "Tea"-totalers may also enjoy alfalfa, clover,
and Leatherwood. Heather and clover are possible sugar substitutes in
coffee but most find honey a little too “unique” for their coffee. Many
mead makers use medium-colored goldenrod. When baking breads, cakes,
muffins, etc, use mild, flowery honeys such as alfalfa and orange
blossom. Sourwood, basswood, and wildflower honeys are also good in
desserts because they impart their sweet floral taste. Toasted food is
enhanced by tupelo, fireweed, and Manuka honey. Use buckwheat and
macadamia for meat and sauces, or heather and Rewarewa for dishes that
contain ham, chicken, or turkey. Acacia honey may be used to complement a