Throughout history, people have used honey as both a food and a medicine.
Studies have found that honey may help reduce risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure and cholesterol, improve wound healing and even treat coughs.
While some benefits – like taking honey with drinks when you are suffering from cold and flu symptoms – are well known, there are some lesser known health benefits. Here are six of the best.
1. Helps healing burns and wounds
Applying honey to the skin has been used to heal wounds and burns since ancient Egypt, and is still being used today. Researchers believe that its healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to nourish the surrounding tissue. It can also help treat other skin conditions, including psoriasis, haemorrhoids and herpes lesions.
2. Lowers blood pressure
The antioxidant properties in raw honey have been linked to lowering blood pressure. Honey has a calming effect on the blood vessels, which will reduce blood pressure levels. Simply eat two teaspoons of raw, organic honey on an empty stomach every morning. You can also mix lemon juice and honey together for a double dose of blood vessel relaxation.
3. Improve cholesterol
Honey is emerging as a healthy, non-drug option to help reduce cholesterol numbers. Not only is honey free of cholesterol, it has been reported that adding small amounts of it in the daily diet could even help keep cholesterol levels in check. High in minerals such as potassium, calcium, sodium and B complex vitamins, honey is known to lower cholesterol in our blood.
4. Cough suppressant
Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a common way to soothe a sore throat. But honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant, too. No-one is really sure exactly why it works, but study after study has found that it is an effective treatment for suppressing persistent coughs. One theory is that the honey’s antioxidants might bring about some relief. Another theory is that the thickness and sweetness of the honey works to soothe soreness. Yet another theory states that relief occurs as a result of the anti-microbial properties of the honey.
5. Relief from allergies
Honey cures hay fever through a process called desensitisation. The process works by taking two teaspoons of honey every day in the three months leading up to hay fever season. The honey contains traces of the heavy-grained type of pollen that doesn’t trigger allergies in the human body. This desensitises the body to local pollen, so that the pollen does not trigger allergic reactions during hay fever season. Many believe eating honey made locally works best when trying to prepare yourself for the upcoming allergy season.
6. Healthier heart
Elevated blood triglycerides are a major risk factor for heart disease. Triglyceride levels tend to increase on a diet that is high in sugar and refined carbs. Multiple studies have linked regular honey consumption with lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is used to replace sugar. The antioxidants in honey have also been linked to beneficial effects on heart health, including increased blood flow to the heart and a reduced risk of blood clot formation.
Do you use honey as a remedy for any ailments? What other ingredients have surprising health benefits?
For further reading, visit healthline.com