Cave paintings show that around 8,000 years ago, honey was first being used by humans, although there was no evidence of humans keeping and cultivating colonies of bees until 2,400 BC. Honey was a mainstay in the medical practices of many cultures for centuries. Over 4,000 years ago, honey was used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective in treating indigestion and imbalances in the body. Before its use by Ancient Egyptians, honey was rubbed onto the skin to treat wounds and has been found in medicinal substances from over 5,000 years ago.
Honey isn't Just Sugar!
Though highly regarded in ancient civilizations, honey is not appreciated enough in today's modern societies. The liquid is so sweet and comforting that many people do not give its healing abilities a second thought.
Conventional nutritional authorities claim that sugar is sugar, regardless of its source or state. They however, do not realize that the bee has added an extra goodness of their own. Honey possesses unique life-supporting qualities not found in other sugars and delivers much more than what many medical doctors could comprehend.
Know that not all sugars are made equal and don't be too quick to dismiss honey as just another sugar. Honey isn't just sugar. It is more than just the sum of its sugars. There is more than meets the eye!
The benefits of honey don't just stop at satisfying the palate; honey also offers incredible antiseptic, antioxidant and cleansing properties for our body and health, valuable beauty and skin care tips for ladies, and amazing healing properties as a head-to-toe remedy, from eye infection to athlete foot.). Its powerful healing attributes have long been used thousands of years ago and known to promote healing for cuts, cure ailments and diseases, and correct health disorders for generations after generations.
According to new research, if you can switch out your intake of refined sugar and use pure raw honey instead, the health benefits can be enormous.
What is raw honey? It’s a pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Most of the honey consumed today is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey does not get robbed of its incredible nutritional value and health powers.
Healthy Weight Management
Research studies have linked honey consumption with weight loss. A San Diego State University study found that replacing sugar with honey can actually help prevent packing on extra pounds and also lower blood sugar. The results also suggest that in comparison to sugar, honey may lower serum triglycerides.
Another study from the University of Wyoming found that raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the appetite. In the double-blind randomly assigned study, appetite hormones and glycemic responses were measured in 14 healthy non-obese women after consuming a breakfast containing either honey or sugar. Overall, researchers concluded that honey consumption offers potential obesity protective effects.
Counters Pollen Allergies
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity. Honey’s ability to prevent allergies is based on a concept called immunotherapy. How so? The bees in your neighborhood go from flower to flower collecting pollen that causes you to suffer, but when you consume local raw honey, you also consume that same offending local pollen. After some time, an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to this pollen that previously caused problems and experience less seasonal allergy symptoms. Many seasonal allergy sufferers have found local, raw honey to be helpful because it desensitizes them to the fauna triggering their allergic reaction.
A 2013 study found that eating honey at a high dose (one gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. Researchers absorbed that the honey consumption improved overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic response that causes itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and other similar symptoms.
Some people say that a daily tablespoon of honey can actually act like an allergy shot. The type of honey is key though since pasteurized honey does not contain any pollen. For possible seasonal allergy relief, you need to consume raw honey with pollen in it.
Rich in Antioxidants
High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. These include organic acids and phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Scientists believe that the combination of these compounds gives honey its antioxidant power. Interestingly, two studies have shown that buckwheat honey increases the antioxidant value of your blood. Antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. They may also promote eye health.
Natural Energy Source
Raw honey contains natural sugars (80 percent), water (18 percent), and minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein (2 percent). It’s not surprising that honey has been called “the perfect running fuel.” It provides an easily absorbed supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source.
Studies at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory have shown honey to be one of the best choices of carbohydrate to consume right before exercising. Additionally, studies have revealed that as a sporting fuel, honey performs on a par with glucose, which is the sugar used in most commercial energy gels.
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.
Honey’s ability to help the body absorb calcium, according to Brennecke, helps aid brain health. The brain needs calcium in order to process thought and make decisions. “As our populations continue to get older and older, the likelihood of dementia setting in because of poor intake of vitamins and minerals continues to get higher and higher,” he said.
Preventing acid reflux
Recent research has shown that honey can reduce the upward flow of stomach acid and undigested food by lining the esophagus and stomach. This has helped to reduce the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD can cause inflammation, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Relieving cold and cough symptoms
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends honey as a natural cough remedy. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recognizes honey as a treatment for a cough. However, they advise that honey is not suitable for children under the age of one year. A 2007 study by Penn State College of Medicine suggested that honey reduced night-time coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection to a greater degree than the cough medicine dextromethorphan.
Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. Poor sleep, by comparison, has been shown to be a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. As honey is a proven natural sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of all these health problems.
Consumption of raw honey can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and help aid medication used to treat diabetes. The combination of raw honey and cinnamon can be especially beneficial to healthy blood sugar management, as well as many other health concerns like gingivitis and acne.
It can help reduce cholesterol and, therefore, decrease your risk for coronary artery disease.
Raw honey makes your brain function optimally by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.
Honey can bring temporary relief to the scalp by targeting dandruff. A 2001 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found applying honey diluted with 10 percent warm water to problem areas and leaving it on for three hours before rinsing led to itch relief and no scaling within a week. Skin lesions healed within two weeks and patients even showed an improvement in hair loss. The patients did not relapse even after six months of use.
Thanks to honey's antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can also treat seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, which are often caused by an overgrowth of fungus. Moreover, “honey also has anti-inflammatory properties, which address the redness and itching on the scalp,” Brennecke said.