Better living through nature
Honey is one of nature’s best gifts to us. Both sweet and healing, this sticky substance has uses in both the kitchen and the medicine cabinet, making it a valued commodity for centuries. Take a lesson from history and incorporate honey into your daily routine with these uses for honey.
Ancient Egyptians used honey as a wound treatment and beauty enhancer. Today we know that honey is high in antioxidants and has antibacterial properties. Photo By Lance McCord/Courtesy Flickr.
1. Coughs and Colds: The antioxidants in honey give weak immune systems a boost, while honey’s soothing power can suppress coughs and relieve throat pain. The general rule is, the darker the honey, the more antioxidants it contains.
Home remedy: Add honey to hot tea, or mix a teaspoon of honey with either equal parts ginger or half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Take two or three times daily.
Product: Bee M.D. organic honey throat drops can soothe fiery throats, sore mouths and stuffy minds.
2. Cuts and Wounds: Honey has antibacterial properties that make it useful for healing cuts. An enzyme in honey produces hydrogen peroxide, which can disinfect the wound and keep bacteria from growing in it. Honey's thick consistency also deters infection, and when applied to a cut it creates a moisturizing barrier that protects the afflicted area. Honey can also stimulate production of new capillaries and tissues, helping wounds to heal faster.
Home remedy: Add a dab of honey to the cut and cover with a bandage. Replace daily.
The darker the honey, the higher its content of antioxidants. Photo By lowlevelrebel/Courtesy Flickr.
3. Radiant Skin: Honey has been used for centuries to unlock beautiful, radiant skin. Honey’s many properties make it useful for all types of skin. A natural humectant, honey draws in and retains moisture. Honey’s antibacterial powers are also good for treating acne while its high antioxidant levels help keep aging skin youthful.
Home remedy: Your skin type determines your need. Try one of these five homemade beauty recipes using honey, courtesy of The Herb Companion.
Product: Red Bee’s Rossape skin care line incorporates the healing power of honey into its lip balms, soaps, face scrubs and body oils.
4. High Cholesterol: Honey can naturally lower levels of bad cholesterol, which narrow arteries, block blood vessels and can lead to heart attacks. In a study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers found that taking honey every day helped improved levels of antioxidants in the blood, which can keep bad cholesterol from oxidating.
Home remedy: Mix four tablespoons of honey into a 16-ounce glass of water. Honey should be taken as part of a heart-healthy diet. A natural sweetener, honey can be substituted for sugar in baked goods.
Susan Melgren is the Web Editor of Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.