We've all used honey to sweeten up some tea or drizzled it onto bread for a delicious snack. It's so sweet and decadent, it's hard to believe it could also be good for you. That's not normally how it works, right? Believe it or not, honey is a popular home remedy that continues to be studied for its medicinal properties.
But when you're thinking about honey in the homeopathic sense, you need to be thinking of raw honey and not the honey found in packets on diner tables or in cute plastic bears.
What Makes Honey "Raw"
A honey product is considered raw when it's contents are pure, unheated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. Typical honey seen in the grocery store has been heated and filtered, making its texture thinner and smoother and its coloring more clear. Raw honey can have a cloudy appearance, is more dense and has a more granule-like texture that continues to thicken with time. Think of it this way: Commercial honey can be drizzled while raw honey has to be spread.
Nutritional Profile of Raw Honey
Raw honey is a great natural source of nutrients and enzymes, which are normally destroyed by pasteurization. It's also high in B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. You can also find minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium in raw honey. Raw honey has high amounts of antioxidants which can fight off free radicals to prevent illness and contains carbohydrates to help fuel the body.
In regards to medicinal use, honey has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These properties help the body fight off infection by boosting the immune system for a stronger immune response to stressors. However, children under one year of age shouldn't take raw honey medicinally because it may contain spores or toxins that can be harmful to infants. Use of honey in older children and adults as a home remedy is considered safe.
Raw Honey Uses and Benefits
Think outside the kitchen when it comes to raw honey. Here's some of the main applications of raw honey and their benefits, according to the National Honey Board:
As a humectant, honey helps your hair and skin retain moisture, making it a popular ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, soaps and moisturizers. Honey is also antimicrobial to help cleanse. If you can't find a product that contains honey, add it yourself!
The carbohydrates in honey provide fuel for the entire body and help maintain glycogen levels in muscle tissue. You can add honey to your pre-workout shake or snack or mix it into water to help keep you energized and focused during your routine. Including honey in your post-workout snack or meal can help with muscle recovery and keep blood sugar levels stabilized.
When added to warm water or tea or taken plain, honey helps to soothe the discomfort of a sore throat while fighting off bacteria to relieve inflammation and irritation.
According to a 2002 Australian study published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can promote healing of wounds and burns. A 2008 study published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found after two days of using honey as an in vitro treatment, the amount of bacteria present on the arms of volunteers was reduced. Honey is also a favorite of Lisa Oz, the wife of Dr. Mehmet Oz, who explained her use of raw honey on their son, Oscar, who seemed to constantly be getting cuts and scrapes, on the May 31 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show."
The enzymes in honey can help relieve symptoms of indigestion by helping the body better break down and digest food. Honey can help prevent issues like diarrhea or ulcers or help in their treatment.
When you're shopping for honey, make sure to look for one that's raw and organic to get the most nutritional and medicinal benefits. The honey in the plastic bear won't work in this case, no matter how good it tastes. Have you used honey as a home remedy? How did it work for you?
Products you may like:
Stakich Manuka Raw Honey Honey Why you may like this product? This honey is produced in New
Zealand by bees who collect
pollen from the Tea Tree Bush.
It has strong antibacterial
properties as well as
vitamins, amino acids, enzymes
The Synergy Company Healing Honey Why you may like this product? This honey is active 15-plus
manuka honey that is certified
organic and raw. Also produced
in New Zealand, this honey is
tested for purity and is more
than 100 times more potent as
a healing agent than other
Honey Gardens Northern Raw Honey Why you may like this product? Honey Garden's product is
unheated and unfiltered to be
sure it contains no chemicals
while leaving all of its
important nutrients intact.
Try adding it to tea to help
with a sore throat or spread
on toast for an energizing
snack before exercise.
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Statements made about specific vitamins, supplements, procedures or other items sold on or through this website have not been evaluated by eVitamins, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. As always, please consult with a licensed doctor or physician before starting any diet, exercise or supplement program, before taking any vitamin or medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a problem.