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About Honey and its Benefits
Honey is a delicious and natural sweetener many of us are already familiar with. For those looking to eat fewer processed foods, honey may seem like a good natural choice as a sweetener, but first you must know that not all honey is created equal.
Most commercial honey sold in stores is heated to high temperatures and pasteurized, getting rid of most of the beneficial enzymes, antioxidants and other nutrients that are heat-sensitive.
Commercial honey has also had most of the pollen removed. Bee pollen is considered to be one of the most nutritionally complete foods available due to its high amino acid and antioxidant content.
Although most commercial honey is not beneficial to your health, raw honey has multiple health benefits. Raw honey is unheated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. Therefore, it is able to keep all of its nutrients intact, as they are not destroyed by processing.
Raw honey contains bee pollen, has a high content of antimicrobial agents and is full of antioxidants. It will generally have a honey comb included in the jar along with the honey.
Since it is not processed, it will usually crystalize easily and may not be in an easy to use liquid form. It will also usually not be clear, as we are used to with commercial honey, but may be a little cloudy due to the pollen and nutrient content.
The best way to buy raw honey is from a local honey producer in your area. Many larger farmer’s markets may have a honey stand which may offer raw honey. Raw honey will likely be more expensive than traditional honey, so be prepared. Make sure to ask questions about where the honey is sourced from and if it has been processed.
Types of Honey
There are several types of honey each with their own nutritional benefit and usage.
Manuka honey is a common natural healing agent that has been used for centuries as a topical antibiotic on wounds and acne. It can also be used for sore throats, colds, and other common ailments due to these properties. Other types of honey with antibacterial properties are eucalyptus and linden honey.
Acacia honey helps cleanse the liver and digestive tract.
Buckwheat honey, usually darker in color than its other counterparts, is full of antioxidants due to that deep color.
Neem honey has been used to treat high blood pressure and diabetes.
20 Uses for Honey in Natural Remedies
If you’re ready to incorporate raw honey into your diet, then check out these honey uses.
Improve digestion – Use a tablespoon or two to counteract indigestion since it doesn’t ferment in the stomach.
Relieve nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
Acne cure – It can be used as an affordable face cleanser to fight off acne, gentle on sensitive/all skin types. Take half a teaspoon, warm between hands and spread on face gently, leave on for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Exfoliator – Honey makes a great exfoliator! Use honey on dry winter skin by adding two cups of honey to a bath, soak for 15 minutes, then add one cup of baking soda for the final 15 minutes.
Improve diabetes – Consumption of raw honey can reduce risk of developing diabetes and help aid medication used to treat diabetes. Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Add a little at a time and see how your blood sugar reacts to it.
Lower cholesterol – It can help reduce cholesterol and therefore decrease your risk for coronary artery disease.
Improve circulation – Raw honey makes your brain function optimally by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation.
Antioxidant support – Consumption of raw honey increases plaque-fighting antioxidants.
Restore Sleep – Raw honey promotes restorative sleep. Add a tablespoon to warm milk to help increase melatonin and help you sleep.
Pre-biotic support – Raw honey is full of natural prebiotics which promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestine.
Improve allergies – If sourced locally, raw honey can help reduce seasonal allergies.
Lose weight – Substituting raw honey for white sugar can help in weight management
Moisturize – A spoonful of raw honey mixed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon can be used as a hydrating lotion.
Hair mask – Raw honey hair mask can help boost shine, mix 1 tsp of raw honey with 5 cups of warm water, rinse thoroughly , air dry and style as usual.
Eczema relief – Use to treat mild eczema. Use it as a topical mixture of equal parts of honey and cinnamon.
Reduce inflammation – Raw honey has anti-inflammatory agents that can treat respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Heal wounds – Raw honey used topically can help quicken healing time for mild burns, wounds, rashes, and abrasions.
Cure UTI – Honey can help improve urinary tract infections due to its antibacterial properties.
Shampoo – Raw honey can cleanse and restore the health of your hair and scalp. Try this homemade shampoo recipe.
Relieve sore throat – Honey uses for sore throats is another fantastic remedy. Simply mix it with lemon essential oil and peppermint oil for fast acting benefits.
As you can see, there are many uses for honey in personal care products, as medicine, and of course, a way to naturally sweeten up your diet without the negative side effects of sugar. I recommend going to your local farmers market, health food store or buying raw honey online.