Everyone could use a little more sweetness in their lives. Here are the major benefits of raw honey, and 17 unique ways you can harness its awesome healing power.
Whether you dip it into your tea or drizzle it over your coconut milk yogurt, it always seems to make everything better. However, honey does so much more than simply adding a touch of sweetness to your favorite foods. It can also be used topically to improve your skin, as medicine to kill bacteria, even as an all-natural burn cream.
Read on to discover the amazing benefits of raw honey – and unique ways to use this powerful superfood.
It’s not just a sweetener -- it’s medicine, too! Discover The Benefits of Nature’s Superfood: Honey
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5 Natural Benefits of Honey
1. Kills Bacteria
Honey has been used for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties for thousands of years. In fact, the earliest known mention of honey as a medicinal ointment is found in ancient Sumerian tablets dating back to 2000 BC. (1)
Modern research proves that the ancients were on to something when considering honey as a natural antibacterial. Studies show it can be effective against even the most potent strains of microbes, including Staph and H. pylori. (2)
This antimicrobial effect comes from its low pH, which hinders the growth of microbes, as well as its natural content of hydrogen peroxide, which can kill bacteria. (3)
2. Enhances Athletic Performance
Honey contains large amounts of natural sugars in the form of glucose: the fuel your body uses to perform any type of workout.
Studies show that consuming honey, especially before aerobic exercise, improves performance just as well as sports gels. (4) The great thing about honey, however, is that it’s all-natural and contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals, whereas commercial electrolyte drinks and solutions often contain artificial colors and preservatives.
3. Contains Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a class of compounds that help fight free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are molecules that are created when we’re exposed to a bad diet or other toxins from our environment. When left unchecked, they can damage our DNA, which leads to signs of aging and disease.
Antioxidants help scavenge these free radicals before they get a chance to cause damage. Honey is abundant in many types of antioxidants, and studies show that honey can raise the amount of anti-aging and disease-fighting polyphenols in your blood to strengthen your immune system. (5)
4. Helps Heal Wounds
You might want to stash a small jar in your first aid kit because honey can also help accelerate the rate of wound healing. Honey can help to cure anything from ulcers to bed sores due to its antibacterial effects, combined with its ability to keep wounds moist to promote healing.
Studies show that when applied topically, honey rapidly clears infected surgical wounds, even those that do not respond to conventional therapies like antiseptics. (6)
5. Improves Allergies
An old folk remedy for allergies involves eating a spoonful of honey to counteract itchy, watery eyes or a scratchy throat.
Modern research shows this may hold some merit. One study found that participants who ingested honey every day for eight weeks experienced significant relief from allergy symptoms. (7)
How to Find the Best Honey
When searching for the best honey, the number one thing you should look for is making sure it’s raw.
Most honey on the market (yes, even the cute honey bears) are pasteurized and filtered. This can destroy the delicate enzymes and nutrients in honey, taking away many of its beneficial effects. (8)
Raw honey, on the other hand, is gathered straight from the hive with no processing, so the majority of nutrients stay intact. Some raw honey may be filtered to remove bits of the comb – it’s all a matter of personal preference from there.
17 Clever Uses For Honey
The good news is that once you find a quality honey, you can use it to cure and treat virtually anything. Here are handy ways to use honey for your skin, hair and health.
Skin and Hair
Honey is a natural humectant, meaning that it draws and holds in moisture. (9) Mix one tablespoon of raw honey with one tablespoon of coconut oil and apply evenly to your face. Let the mask set for 15-30 minutes for an ultra-moisturizing revival.
Acne-Fighting Face Wash
Honey can naturally regulate pH and kill bad bacteria, making it a fantastic face wash. (10) Simply rub a ½ teaspoon onto your face for a few minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Improve Psoriasis and Dermatitis
Studies show that honey can help improve and soothe psoriasis, a condition involving lesions, scales, itching, and redness of the skin. (11)
Make a mixture of equal parts honey, beeswax, and olive oil, and apply to infected areas. Let sit for 15 minutes, then wipe off.
Honey can also be used as a shampoo to improve the health of your scalp since it moisturizes instead of stripping the beneficial oils from your hair like most shampoos. (12)
Swap your regular shampoo with this quick DIY version: Mix one tablespoon honey in one cup of water and massage into your scalp, then rinse.
Studies show that honey actually sterilizes burn wounds in less time than a common silver sulfadiazine dressing while also enhancing healing and leaving fewer scars. (13)
To use honey to soothe a minor burn, first rinse the affected area with tap water. Pat dry, then rub a small amount of honey over the burn.
Since honey is ultra-moisturizing, it makes a great bath soak to soften your skin. Try adding a ½ cup to warm bathwater along with Epsom salts.
Honey can help moisturize hair and increase shine. Simply apply honey to hair (however much you need to coat the strands) and leave on for 15-30 minutes, then rinse.
Get Rid of Dandruff
Dandruff is usually caused by a fungus. Honey is a great natural remedy due to its antimicrobial properties and its ability to regulate pH. (14)
To use, mix two tablespoons of honey with a ½ cup of water and rub into your scalp in the shower. Let sit for five minutes, then rinse.
Health and Wellness
Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, making it a better choice as a sweetener – especially for diabetics. In fact, research shows honey causes less blood sugar rise in diabetics and also helps improve the health of your pancreas – a key player in diabetes and the production of insulin. (15)
Stir some honey into your coffee, or blend into green smoothies to offset the bitter taste.
There is evidence that ingesting honey can improve memory. One study showed that postmenopausal women ingesting honey daily experienced improvements in their immediate memory. (16)
Try adding honey with lemon to your morning water, or sweetening your evening tea with it.
Fight Bad Bacteria
Honey is antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it excellent for fighting bad bacteria. The next time you experience food poisoning or another condition that is bacteria-related, try taking a spoonful on an empty stomach. (17)
Relieve a Sore Throat
Got a sore throat? Honey can be especially effective due to its combination of moisturizing and antibacterial properties. (18) Take a spoonful straight, add a tablespoon to a hot ginger tea, use it for a homemade throat spray, or even make these DIY Turmeric Honey Cough Drops!
Get Better Sleep
Many people swear by taking a spoonful of honey before bed to help them sleep. One study found this may have some merit, showing honey can help improve sleep in children with respiratory tract infections. (19) Take a spoonful before bed to aid in getting a good night’s rest, or use it to sweeten your own homemade sleepytime melatonin chocolates.
The antioxidants in honey help to reduce inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory molecules in your body. (20)
If you’re experiencing joint pain or other issues stemming from inflammation, try adding a tablespoon or two of honey to a morning tea with lemon and apple cider vinegar.
Honey can boost immunity by increasing natural killer T cell production. (21) These cells are what protect our body from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
Try taking a spoonful of honey a day to help boost your immune system, especially during cold and flu season.
Honey has successfully been used to help treat asthma, most likely due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. (22)
Make a habit of mixing one tablespoon of honey in water with lemon and consuming first thing in the morning.
Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Studies show that the flavonoids in honey can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disorders due to their antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-ischemic, and vasorelaxant effects. (23)
Boost your heart health by drizzling raw honey over a handful of nuts, or even better – bake up some honey-glazed salmon!
The Bottom Line
Honey is a powerful superfood that can be used for so much more than simply sweetening a dish or a beverage. Try it out both topically and internally, and cash in on its amazing benefits.
(Read This Next: The 30 Best Uses for Coconut Oil)