Raw honey is also known as “liquid gold” is an excellent medicine that can be used as an alternative to white refined sugar. It is more than just a sweetener because the health benefits of raw honey are enormous.
By definition, raw honey is a pure, unfiltered, and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. It is referred to as one of the oldest and most revered medicinal foods of man. To read the medicinal history of honey click here.
Make sure the honey you have is raw because most of the honey available in commercial shops have been processed; that is they have passed through heat and have also been filtered and this will affect the nutritional value.
While processed honey has a compromised nutritional status, raw honey doesn’t. Its incredible nutritional value and health powers are still intact.
It has been used since ages (prehistoric times) to heal many types of illnesses and in modern times there are many scientific studies to prove the powerful therapeutic properties of honey.
The fossils of honey bees are stated to be more than 150 million years old; man started eating honey before any written language or civilization was formed, it was highly honored and hugely valued as food.
In ancient Egypt; it was used as sacrifice to the gods or as grave interment for the journey to the land of the dead, they also used honey to pay debt and buy things. It was one of the most coveted foods and honey thieves were dealt with mercilessly.
Health benefits of honey
It is a rich source of powerful antioxidants: Honey is rich in powerful antioxidants that that blocks and prevent the activities of free radicals which can cause oxidative stress and damage and also destroy vital organs and tissues of the body.
It also boosts the immune system and guards the body against a large number of diseases. It is very rich in polyphenols which powerful antioxidants that prevent heart disease and cancer.
A study proved that those who consume raw honey regularly had higher levels of disease-fighting polyphenols in the blood than those who don’t. 25 subjects were fed 4 tablespoons of raw honey every day for 29 days in addition to their regular diets.
Many studies showed that honey is rich in the flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin which are powerful disease fighting antioxidants.
It treats yeast infection: Yeast infection is common among women worldwide; it comes with lots of uncomfortable symptoms like vagina itching, vagina odor, and discharge. It is caused when there is a disruption in the acidic level of the vagina; this makes it possible for Candida albicans to thrive in such an environment and this is what leads to yeast infection. The flavonoids present in honey prevent the growth of this organism and thereby keep them at bay.
It protects the heart: The rich content of powerful antioxidants found in honey can keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is very rich in phenols which protects the heart; dilate the arteries in the heart thereby increasing the flow of blood to the heart.
These powerful antioxidant compounds also prevent blood clots from forming because they can lead to stroke and heart attack and they also protect the heart from oxidative stress.
It treats gum disease: It’s powerful antimicrobial properties treats and prevents gum disease; it also has powerful enzyme which helps in the production of hydrogen peroxide which prevents further infection by decreasing the growth of plaque bacteria and limiting the amount of acid produced.
It fights infection: Raw honey has powerful antibacterial properties; in the laboratory it showed its effectiveness in stopping the growth of E.coli and Salmonella. It also showed effectiveness against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa which are responsible for lots of visit to the doctor’s office.
To get honey for fighting infections, go for the darker ones; some honeys are light in colour while some are dark, the darker the honey, the greater its antibacterial and antioxidant power.
It boosts memory: The rich content of antioxidants in honey feed the brain cells and give them enough energy to boost their functions. This antioxidant also helps to keep the brain in shape; they also help the brain absorb calcium which improves memory.
Studies have shown that a spoonful of honey each day improved the memory of postmenopausal women. It helped their memory stay sharp and regular consumption of honey is a good way to reduce the risk of dementia.
It heals wounds: Honey is effective in speeding the healing process of wounds while preventing infection of wounds at the same time. It is used to dress wounds and it is even used in making many commercial wound dressing gels, honey-infused bandages, and disinfectants. Manuka honey is widely used in treating pressure sores and chronic leg ulcers.
It has been used to heal wounds and burns since ancient Egypt. Its healing powers are from its powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it has the ability to nourish the body and the surrounding tissues around the wound.
Manuka honey is made from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium; it originated from New Zealand and it is mainly used for treating skin ulcers and wounds although it can be taken orally too.
It stimulates healthy healing of wounds; whether chronic or acute and it protects it from infection.it protects wounds from infection by reacting with bodily fluids to create hydrogen peroxide which makes the site of injury inhospitable for bacteria.
It can be used at home to treat and manage wounds; apply it directly to the affected skin part and dress it but the dressing should be changed every 24 to 48 hours and sometimes it can be left for a longer period of time. . You can also combine honey and ghee to treat infected wounds.
It can treat many types and degrees of wounds; it can also reduce the size, pain and odour of chronic wounds. It soothes the pain associated with the wound and gives a good feeling to the wound.
It is even used to heal partial thickness burns and surgical wounds that have become infected. It also treats diabetic foot ulcers that can lead to amputation. It can also help treat other conditions like herpes lesions, hemorrhoids and psoriasis.
It treats dandruff: Honey helps in treating scalp problems and boost healthy growth of hair. It helps treats dandruff, itchy scalp and hair loss. Its antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are behind the effectiveness of honey in handling these conditions.
It fights allergies: Results from some studies showed the effectiveness of honey in clearing up stuffy noses; it clears the respiratory pathway and relieves allergies caused by pollens. It de-sensitizes the immune system to pollens because it contains bee pollen which can ward off infections and boost the functions of the immune system.
Naturopaths use honey in immunotherapy to prevent allergies; honey gotten from the locality where an individual suffering from allergy lives is given to the person to desensitize the immune system to the bee pollens causing him problems and allergies.
After a while of taking this honey, they become less sensitive to the pollen that previously made them allergic; they begin to experience less symptoms of seasonal allergies till they overcome it.
A study conducted in 2013 showed that ingesting high doses of honey like one gram per kilogram of body weight daily can help one reduce allergy symptoms over an 8 weeks period.
The only type of honey effective against allergies is raw honey with the pollens in it and not processed honey. Many naturalists believe that a tablespoon of raw honey daily can act like an allergy shot.
It treats herpes: Applying honey on the sores will draw fluid away from them and relieve the symptoms; its antibacterial properties also prevent the activities of microbes. It is rich in glucose oxidase which is an enzyme that helps in cleaning the wound. Applying honey on the skin will also release hydrogen peroxide which will also cleanse the wound and prevent infection.
It keeps common cold at bay: Honey can calm inflamed membranes and ease cough; buckwheat honey-based syruk8p can ease the early symptoms of cold. In 2013, a study was conducted involving 139 children with cough; the result showed that honey beat out dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant and diphenhydramine an antihistamine that eases nighttime cough.
Another study involving 105 children also showed that buckwheat honey is effective in relieving night time cough than the suppressant dextromethorphan. Honey syrup is effective against cough, cold or any disturbance in the throat or upper respiratory tract. Honey syrup will help you soothes inflamed membranes and fight infections.
It is good for the skin: Honey is a good skin moisturizer; it clears skin problems and gives the skin a unique and natural glow. It combats acne and other skin problems; it is rich in humectants which moisturizes the skin and also kills the bacterium that cause acne.
It also fights and prevents eczema; its anti-inflammatory properties put a stop to the inflammation of the outer layer of the skin (Eczema). It moisturizing properties also treats dry and flaky skin which is prone to eczema.
It is a natural cough syrup: Studies have showed that honey is effective than most OTC commercial cough syrups. A single tablespoon of raw honey can reduce the secretion of mucous and reduce cough. Take two tablespoons of raw honey at night when going to bed to relieve cough.
It relieves heartburn and acid reflux: Manuka honey from New Zealand is effective at preventing Gastro esophageal reflux, acid reflux and heart burn. It relieves the symptoms associated with these conditions and it also heals the esophagus.
It kills and destroys the activities of H. pylori and stops the spread of the infection in the stomach which leads to stomach ulcers most times.
When we consume honey, it lines the esophagus and this helps in healing it, soothing inflammation and repairing damages which will reduce the symptoms of GERD. It also supports healthy and normal functions of the digestive system thereby preventing digestive problems and disorders.
It fights diabetes: Honey can make diabetes medication more effective and it can also reduce the risk of developing diabetes when taken regularly. Raw honey and cinnamon restores the levels of sugar in the blood to normal and it is advised to be added to the diabetic diet plan.
It boosts the immune system: One sign of a weak immune system is chronic fatigue and chronic stress, most people are complaining. Regular consumption of honey is a good way to boost the immune system and combat chronic fatigue. It also helps in building up the whole body especially the digestive system and it is essential for optimal health.
It helps one gain a healthy weight: A study showed that using honey as an alternative to white refined sugar will prevent one from gaining extra pounds and it lowers the levels of sugar in the blood.
It is even effective in lowering serum triacylglycerides and cholesterol. Another study showed that honey can activate the hormones that suppress appetite; consuming honey on a regular basis guards against obesity.
It prevents and fights cancer: Raw honey is rich in carcinogen-preventing properties which help in fighting the growth of existing tumors while preventing the formation of new ones. It is rich in phenolic compounds and flavonoids which have powerful anti-metastatic properties that fight tumors and cancer.
It is also rich in Gallic acid, chrysin, elegiac acid, p-Coumaric acid, syringic acid, ferulic acid, Caffeic acid, and other powerful compounds that heal the cells of the body. Regularly consume raw honey to help your body fight off cancer.
It increases energy: Honey’s ability to increase the energy of the body earned it the name “the perfect running fuel”; it is made up of 80% natural sugars, 18% water and 2% proteins, vitamins, minerals and pollens.
It provides energy in the form of glycogen which is easily absorbed by the body. It is a good pre and post workout energy source and it is also good to include it in your breakfasts to give you an energetic day.
A study showed that this is one of the best choices of carbohydrate to take before exercising; it is a natural sports fuel and it performs on a par with glucose which is used in most commercial sports and energy drinks. Raw honey is best for athletic performance; it energizes the body and helps the body recover form fatigue.
It relieves hangover: Honey helps to speed up the process of oxidation of alcohol in the liver; it also detoxifies the body and eliminates wastes from the body faster.
It fights against insomnia: Raw honey fights sleep problems and promote restorative sleep; taking honey before going to bed will restock the liver with glycogen, this, in turn, will prevent the brain from searching for fuel that can keep one awake.
Another way honey fights insomnia when taken before bed time is to trigger the release of melatonin in the brain by increasing the levels of insulin in the blood slightly; this stimulates the brain to release tryptophan which is converted to serotonin and serotonin is converted to melatonin.
The compound melatonin boosts healthy sleep; it also boosts the functions of the immune system and repairs the body during sleep. Many naturalist recommends honey as a proven natural sleep aid; it also lowers the risk of all health problems associated with poor sleep like high blood pressure, type II diabetes, obesity, stroke, arthritis and heart disease.
It increases sexual appetite: Low libido is a risk factor for infertility and other marital problems. Honey can combat this because it is a natural aphrodisiac. Regular consumption of honey increases libido; it increases the production of testosterone in men and raises the levels of estrogen in women.
It increases sexual arousal and even boosts fertility; Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine used honey to increase sex drive in his patients, in ancient Chinese tradition, a goblet of wine, honey and a red thread were tied together.
Couples who are getting married would sip on this as a toast to their deep love and union. In Indian tradition, a bride gives honey to her groom as a gesture of sweetness.
It lowers blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol: Honey helps in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol due to its rich content of antioxidant compounds. It also reduces the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and significantly raises the level of good cholesterol (HDL).
Both hypertension and high levels of cholesterol are risk factors for heart disease; one of the top killer diseases. High cholesterol also plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries and this can also lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Another risk for heart disease is high levels of triglycerides in the blood stream; it is also a key sign of insulin resistance which can lead to type II diabetes. Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the causes of elevated levels of triglycerides.
Regular consumption of honey, especially when it is used in place of sugar can significantly reduce the levels of triglycerides in the blood.
It treats sinus: Taking half teaspoon of honey daily will help one overcome sinus infection; it kills the bacteria responsible and it is as effective as antibiotics.
Please note that honey should not be given to kids below one year old. It increases the risk of botulism and their immune system is not yet strong to fight off the infection. The spores of botulism are found in the dust and soil and sometimes they can find their way into honey.
When kids below one year of age take honey; it can lead to botulism which is a paralytic disorder. When this happens; the infant must be given anti-toxins and must be admitted in an intensive care unit where he/she will be placed on a respirator.
So no matter the health benefits; don’t be in haste to give this to your little ones, you can wait till they are at least a year old. But you can give them cereals that have honey in it because the cooking process must have destroyed the spores.