By Jamell Andrews
Honey has long been used for more than just sweetening a cup of tea. For centuries, people have believed that honey has healing properties and it’s been used since ancient times to treat everything from stomach issues to heart conditions. In more recent times, studies have linked the enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins in honey to several health benefits making adding honey to your diet—and skin—an even sweeter idea.
Honey is Great For the Skin
The natural antifungal and antibacterial properties in certain types of honey, such as Manuka honey, make it useful in the treatment of skin infections and wounds. It naturally contains the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which along with its other properties, help to kill germs and fungus. In some countries, Manuka honey (hospital-grade) is used in hospitals in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a strain of staph infection that has become resistant to antibiotics.
One study found that honey relieves pain, scarring, and infection associated with burns. It can also help you improve the appearance of skin; improving acne and minimizing scaring. It is also commonly used as a facial cleanser and moisturizer, known for making the skin look younger and more radiant without all of the chemicals found in many store-bought skincare products.
Your grandmother really was onto something when she’d give you a hot drink with lemon and honey when you were sick with a cold or sore throat. A 2010 study found that consuming 2.5 ml of honey before bed was just as effective two common ingredients in over-the-counter cough medicine, diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan. Honey can also soothe a sore and scratchy throat.
For Tummy Troubles
Reports show that honey can treat and protect against gastritis, gastric ulcers, and duodenitis caused by bacteria, rotavirus, and H. pylori which is the leading cause of gastric ulcers. Eating a spoon or two of honey can help soothe the pain and discomfort of stomach ulcers while also assisting in healing.
Honey has also been shown to effectively resolve diarrhea and can be used to help rehydrate after a bout of diarrhea because of its ability to increase water uptake and provide potassium without increasing sodium uptake, like other commonly used replacement fluids.
For Disease Prevention
Certain types of honey have been found to contain as many antioxidants as fresh produce. Antioxidants found in honey include flavonoids, phenolic acids ascorbic acid, tocopherols, and others. Antioxidants are known for their protective effect against cell damage linked to heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. One study suggests that substituting your usual sweetener with honey could improve your body’s defense system and help prevent disease.
Researchers continue to investigate honey’s effect on health for its many benefits and low risk of adverse effects.