Honey is available in a variety of colors and flavors, including white, brown, amber, red and almost black. The taste of honey depends on the type of flower that is used. Acacia, alfalfa, clover and heather flower are the most common flowers from which honey derives.
Although honey has many uses, the most common is as a sweetener. However, honey has many medicinal properties and has been used since ancient times as a cure for a wide variety of diseases. The health benefits of honey include its use as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and fungicide.
To gain a better understanding of the healing powers of honey, we must have some knowledge about the components that raw honey contains. Unprocessed honey has a quantity of phytonutrients that, unfortunately, are eliminated during processing. One of the components present in unprocessed honey is propolis or “bee glue”. Bees use this complex mixture of resins to seal their hive, forming a barrier against bacteria and other microorganisms. Propolis is one of the phytonutrients that give honey its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Other phytonutrients found in honey may possess antitumor and anticancer properties.
Honey is an excellent food for children, especially when they are sick. Children, due to their immature immune systems, are prone to develop coughs, colds and other diseases. Honey has been very effective in providing symptomatic cough relief, allowing the child to sleep better at night. In fact, some studies suggest that honey can be as effective, if not more, in providing symptomatic relief of nocturnal cough such as dextromethorphan. This is undoubtedly good news for parents of young children, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that children under the age of six do not take over-the-counter cough and cold medications. As a warning – The Academy of American Pediatricians (AAP,
Honey can be used for a series of home remedies. Honey and warm water form a very softening mixture when you drink it, and it can be used to provide sore throat relief and upper respiratory infections. This is because honey has excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
These properties of honey make it an excellent therapeutic agent for the treatment of ulcers, wounds and burns. Honey can be applied topically to burns and wounds to accelerate the healing process. The antibacterial properties of honey prevent wounds and burns from becoming infected while their anti-inflammatory properties help speed up the healing process. Oral ulcers also respond well when applying honey.
Another useful home remedy is to use honey for stomach upset and gastric infections. Honey has large amounts of beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Eating honey after taking an antibiotic plan will help restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Another point where honey offers great promises is in the control of blood sugar levels. Evidence obtained from experimental studies suggests that honey may improve insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes. This makes it a much more effective sweetener than sucrose and other artificial sweeteners. In addition, honey’s antioxidants help protect the body, especially the cardiovascular system, from the damaging effects of free radicals. These two properties make honey an excellent therapeutic agent for diabetics who are also prone to developing cardiovascular diseases. The fact that honey can also have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels is also of interest to diabetics and heart patients.