Far from just being a tasty, sweet food, honey also has some amazing healing properties. Find out what honey can be used for.
Raw honey contains the essential minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, sulphur, and potassium. It also contains small traces of copper, which helps with the absorption of iron. Honey also contains protein. The vitamins found in honey include vitamins B1, B2, c, B6, B5, and B3. The amount of vitamins will change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen that the honey is made from. However, the other components of honey are not so easy to identify. The active properties in honey come from an enzyme (glucose oxidase) that is secreted into the nectar by bees as they convert it into honey. This enzyme produces hydrogen peroxide when the honey is diluted with water. Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial chemical and it is what gives the Manuka and jelly bush honeys their healing properties.
Manuka honey is great for treating wounds, especially those that have become infected. It is applied directly to the wound and covered with a bandage. This dressing is able to reduce pain and inflammation, minimise scarring, fight infection, and stimulate the new growth of skin. Honey absorbs the moisture on the skin through the process of osmosis, which helps to kill bacteria as it dries the wound. It stimulates the growth of new cell tissues and speeds up the healing process, something that traditional antibiotics are incapable of. Manuka honey is the most antibiotic of all the raw honeys and it can be used for ulcerations, burns, cuts, abrasions, rashes, and skin infections.
It can be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, allergies, and insect bites. Manuka honey can improve digestion as the body absorbs honey easily. It is an effective treatment for stomach ulcers and gastroenteritis. Raw honey can also act as a mild laxative and sedative. Famously, honey is used to relieve sore throats, either in a hot drink or by the spoonful. This is because of its antimicrobial properties. It is also good for softening the skin. Because the glucose and fructose in honey is so easily absorbed, it’s a great high energy food.
Honey is also a powerful immune system booster due to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. A study has shown that people that eat honey regularly have higher levels of antioxidants in their body. In fact, honey contains as many antioxidants as spinach, apples, oranges, or strawberries, giving it a protective effect on the body. Dark honey has higher levels of antioxidants than light honey. Honey is also helpful if you suffer from seasonal allergies. By eating honey that is local to your area, you may actually be able to prevent seasonal allergies. This is because bees use the pollen from local plants and eventually these end up in your honey.
Honey is the ideal liver fuel as it contains a nearly 1:1 ratio of fructose to glucose. Fructose is necessary as it unlocks the enzyme from the liver cell’s nucleus that is necessary for the incorporation of glucose into glycogen. An adequate glycogen store in the liver is essential for supplying the brain with fuel while we are sleeping and during prolonged exercise.
Unprocessed or raw honey has the greatest healing properties, as pollen, which contains the most active components of the honey, is destroyed during heat processing and exposure to light. Therefore, buying honey from the supermarket and putting it on a band aid will not work. You need to use a honey that has a high level of antibacterial agents and that is as unprocessed and sterile as possible if you wish to use it in a medicinal way. Look for honey that is marked as being 100 percent pure.
Be aware that the types of flowers that the bees pollinate will determine both the flavour and the colour of honey. Darker shades of honey have more antioxidants. While all types of honey will have some form of healing properties, it is important that you store your honey properly. Keep it in an airtight container in a cool dry place so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air. Stored properly, it will keep almost indefinitely.