You typically hear of honey being used for eating and for cooking. Have you ever thought about using honey for medicinal purposes? For more than 2,000 years, honey has been used medicinally. Aristotle even said honey was good as a salve for sore eyes and wounds! Honey can be used in multiple ways to improve your health on a daily basis. Here’s a few ways honey can help your health!
Enhances the Immune System
Honey stimulates our bodies to produce B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. These lymphocytes seek out and destroy antigens, so they are very are important in immune system health. Eating 1-2 tablespoons of honey a day can help to boost your immune system!
Other than honey’s properties to combat bacterial infection, honey also has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation has been reduced by honey when there were no infections involved.
Stimulates Cell Growth
Wounds sometimes can show no signs of healing after long periods of time. It has been found that when wounds like this are treated with honey, the healing process, and cell regeneration, begins. Honey does this by promoting the formation of granulation tissue and by stimulating the growth of epithelium over wounds. These two necessary tissues basically form the new skin of the wound when it begins to heal or is healed.
Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that may protect your cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food for energy, or by environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, weaken the immune system and may play a role in heart disease, arthritis, cancer and other diseases. Multiple honeys, when tested, have shown varying degrees of antioxidant activity. The three honeys with the highest antioxidant content –Illinois buckwheat, California sunflower, and Hawaii Christmas berry- are dark colored honeys. Don’t count light honeys out though! They contain antioxidant activity as well just in lower amounts. Manuka honey from New Zealand has also been shown to have very high antioxidant activity.
Honey for Wounds
Due to little or no tearing of newly grown tissue when dressings are changed, wounds dressed with honey heal faster than with dry dressings. Moist environments are conducive to bacterial growth, yet most wounds heal best in a moist environment. The antibacterial properties found in honey solve this dilemma, making honey superior to other dressings. It's been said honey is great for small cuts and burns thanks to its amazing properties!
Honey in general is very healthy! The next time you head to your local farmers market or buy honey from a local beekeeper, remember honey is not just for eating! It has a multitude of other uses. Think of honey as nature’s medicine chest! For more information on honey as nature’s medicine and to see where some of my information came from, check out the book Honey: The Gourmet Medicine by Joe Traynor.