Honey makes me think of Winnie the Pooh. Always has. As a child I liked to pretend to be him, eating mouthfuls of honeycomb whenever I could get my hands on it (frequently, thanks to country living). It’s sort of remained a permanent fixture in my home since. I have five or six (or seven or eight) different kinds of honey hanging out in my pantry as I type this.
Nifty fact? Honey is the only food that doesn’t go bad provided it’s stored correctly. They have found honey in several tombs (5, 500 years old is the record at the time of this article) and even on a shipwreck (600 years old and still edible!)
Different Kinds of Honey
There are two primary kinds of honey – pasteurized and unpasteurized.
Unpasteurized honey is in its raw form. It has been removed from the hive and spun and then bottled. You get a bit of the natural yeast, beeswax, and pollen in this form. And this is the one with the real nutritional benefits. Some studies have shown that it may even help in relieving seasonal allergies!
Pasteurized honey will do in a pinch, it’s got all the same minerals in it that raw honey does – but it lacks the key factors that make unpasteurized honey so good for you.
Honey is graded by color – the light, clear stuff sells for more – it typically comes from bees exposed to one specific type of flower – usually clover. The darker the color the more health benefits it has – goldenrod, buckwheat, and blueberry honey are prime examples of flowers that produce a dark honey. If you can get them raw (make friends with your local apiary!) do so.
Uses for the Good Stuff
Yes, I eat honey as a sugar fix when nothing else will do. But I also use it for about a million other things. Okay, not a million. About 40. But a girl can exaggerate sometimes.
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Honey is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. That’s why it can last for forever – it prevents bacteria from infesting it and ruining it. Same goes for your wounds. Applying honey (particularly Manuka honey) can clean out your wound and also prevent infection. It soothes itching, prompts healing in burns and soothes inflamed skin.
- Clean Wounds – add one part honey and lemon juice, stir to combine and then smear on your wounds.
- Replace diaper rash cream – manuka honey in a homemade diaper rash cream can soothe, ease, and prevent diaper rash.
- Burn treatment – Smeared on a burn, the sticky elixir could reduce the time it takes for the wound to heal up to four days sooner in some cases a new review of studies suggests.
- Mouth infection
- Insect Bites – add one part honey and lemon juice, stir to combine and then smear on your wounds.
Honey is moisturizing for about 20 minutes after it’s applied. It goes slightly acidic after that, making it good to clear acne, clear dark circles, and promote circulation.
- Hair conditioner – 1/2 a cup of honey and 1/2 a cup whatever your oil of choice is (avocado, olive oil, coconut) warmed gently and then massaged into your hair and scalp and wrapped in cellophane or a towel for 20 minutes. Wash out with warm water.
- Make-up remover – 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda, 1 tbsp of honey, 1 drop of tea tree oil. Apply with damp, warm washcloth and rinse off.
- Face Mask – 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of coconut oil applied to the face fights acne, rosacea, and eczema
- Strengthen Nails – dissolve 1 tbsp in 1/4 cup of ACV and soak your nails for 15 minutes.
- Natural Hair Remover – 2 parts honey, 4 parts brown sugar, 1 part lemon juice. Heat, let thicken, apply and use as wax.
- Bad Breath – 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp of honey, 1 tsp lemon juice. Gargle once a day.
- Dark Circle Remover – 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of sweet almond oil. Apply under your eyes and wash off after 15 minutes.
- Lip Moisturizer- 1/4 tsp of beeswax, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of honey.
- Reduce the appearance of scars – 1 part baking soda and 1 part honey applied daily will slowly improve the appearance of scars.
- Skin softener – add 1/4 cup of honey to your bath. (Throw in a few drops of your favorite essential oil for added relaxation)
The support for using honey as a treatment regimen for peptic ulcers and gastritis comes from traditional folklore as well as from reports in modern times. Honey may promote the repair of damaged intestinal mucosa, stimulate the growth of new tissues and work as an anti-inflammatory agent. Raw honey contains copious amounts of compounds such as flavonoids and other polyphenols which may function as antioxidants
- Acid Reflux – Because honey is so thick, it has slow decent down your esophagus, helping to protectively coat your throat against acid reflux.
- Cough Syrup – 1 cup of filtered water, 1 cup of honey, ¼ cup of fresh ginger root, ¼ cup of marshmallow root, ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon. Heat it up on the stove and let it thicken. Bottle and use when needed. (It’s good for about two months)
- Gut Bacteria Health – Raw honey has an incredible ability to feed good gut bacteria and fight off bad bacteria.
- Breast Cancer Prevention – honey is an excellent antioxidant and has had several studies done proving it’s potent properties in fighting breast cancer.
- Morning Sickness – Warm tea made with honey and ginger is highly effective at calming a pregnant mother’s tummy.
Honey is antibacterial – helping to balance out the yeasts that naturally occur on your body. It’s a slow release glucose, which prevents your blood sugar from spiking and also helps control hunger created by a drop in blood sugar.
- Yeast Infection – apply honey on the inner labia majora to help balance out a yeast infection. Leave for half an hour and rinse gently with warm water.
- Beat hangovers – see below for a natural energy drink to restore hydration and electrolytes to your body.
- Weight Loss Aide – as mentioned above, the slow release of sugar into your blood stream helps prevent your body from craving “swift sugar kicks” which will help beat junk-food cravings.
- Natural Sleep Aide – sometimes insomnia can be caused by a spike in your stress hormones. Sugar and salt are both shown to help prevent stress hormone spikes. A tsp of sea salt and a tablespoon of honey dissolved in warm water makes a great tonic to get you to sleep.
- Antibiotic Uses – if you’re worried about infection and are short of a healing salve, honey is a great way to keep any wounds or sores clean.
- Energy Fix – a spoonful of honey taken directly will help boost both your mood and your blood sugar, keeping you going for the rest of the day.
- Allergy Fix – raw (unpasteurized), local honey has been proven in several studies to reduce the chances of a strong allergic reaction to pollen and plant related allergies.
- Balance Blood Sugar –
Honey has high levels of monosaccharides, fructose and glucose, containing about 70 to 80 percent sugar, which gives it its sweet taste – minerals and water make up the rest of its composition. So while still sugar, it has a slow release glucose rate, helping to prevent hunger (you get hungry when your blood sugar drops suddenly). So including it in your recipes means you won’t be starving later.
- Energy Drinks – a great cure for a hangover
- Fruit Preservation – replace the sugar in your fruit preserves for honey. Antibacterial honey will help keep things fresh.
- Healthy Peanut Butter – Swap out sugar for a touch of honey in your homemade peanut butter. (Also, peanut butter and honey = yum!)
- Sugar Fix – a teaspoon taken during your worst sugar cravings = problem solved.
- Salad Dressing – make your own salad dressing with herbs, salt, and vinegar of your choice. Add a touch of honey to thicken it up and add a touch of sweetness to your dressing.
- Caramel Sauce – 1 can of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 tbsp of ghee, 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt
- Homemade Dark Chocolate – this is another simple swap for sugar that tastes just as good.
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