Honey is pretty amazing; it’s the product of nectar transformed—as if by magic—by bees into a sweet, golden elixir (we won’t go into how it really happens, it is way less romantic than that). The health benefits of honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, and Islamic texts and its healing qualities were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times. But how can we use it today…? We’re sharing 35 uses and benefits of honey.
For Health and Healing
1. Relieve a hangover. Had a few too many margaritas? A few tablespoons of honey, which is packed with fructose, will help speed up your body’s metabolism of the culprit, alcohol.
2. Heal wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns. The next time you have a clumsy moment in the kitchen put honey on the burn, cut or scrape. It works as a natural antiseptic; bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide
3. Soothe sore throats and coughs. Combine honey with the juice of one lemon and some mint. Drink; it works like a wonder!
4. Boost your energy. Don’t turn to a coffee at 2pm for the boost you need to get through the rest of the day. Reach for a cup of tea with a tablespoon of honey. Also, forget energy shots before hitting the gym, just pop a tablespoon of honey before your next workout. Seriously, it has been proven to boost athletic performance.
5. Use as a superfood. Honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
6. Remove parasites. Got a bug that just won’t leave you alone? Mix up a good blend of equal parts honey, water and vinegar and you’ll soon be on your way to being bug free.
7. Take during chemotherapy. Taking honey during chemo can potentially prevent a low white blood cell count during chemotherapy, as noted in a small study.
8. May relieve seasonal allergies. A study was performed by students at Xavier University wherein the students who took honey reported fewer allergic reactions.
9. Sleep better. Honey might help you get a good night’s sleep by facilitating the action of tryptophan (the chemical that makes you sleepy).
10. Boost your immune system. The phytonutrients in raw honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help boost your immune system and fight illnesses.
11. Improve your digestive system function. For centuries, honey has been used to aid in digestion. It is a very popular home remedy for treating various digestive problems, including ulcers, constipation, nausea and more.
12. Helps to neutralize gas and relieve indigestion. Honey has antiseptic properties which can relieve acidity in the stomach. Honey can also neutralize gas, making honey the ultimate tummy soother. Take 1-2 tablespoons honey before eating heavy meals to prevent indigestion. If you are already suffering, mix lemon and honey in warm water to aid in moving food through the digestive tract.
13. Prevents cancer and heart disease. Honey contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
15. Relieve nausea. Mix honey with ginger and lemon juice to help counteract nausea.
16. Lower cholesterol and improve circulation. Not only is honey cholesterol free, it has been reported that adding small amounts of it to your diet could even help keep cholesterol levels in check. The antioxidants in honey prevent cholesterol from being moved out of the blood and into the lining of the blood vessels.
17. Cure a UTI. Honey can help improve urinary tract infections because of its antibacterial properties. Mix some with your daily dose of cranberry juice (in addition to your antibiotics of course).
18. Improve blood sugar. Evidence suggests that honey, in comparison with sugar-free sweeteners and table sugar (sucrose) may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. In one study, diabetic patients consuming honey had lower blood sugar than the diabetic patients consuming sucrose and dextrose.
19. Lose weight. Honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and it also helps speed up metabolism. Just remember: as with everything, moderation is key.
For Beauty and Personal Care
20. Clear up your dry elbows and heels. Nothing’s worse than scratchy skin. After you’ve washed and scrubbed, rub some honey on to soften the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash off. Or make a spray-on moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin.
21. Exfoliate. Make a Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, and 6 tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your skin gently and rinse with warm water.
22. Use as a lip balm. Making your own lip balm is as easy as melting together honey, olive oil and cocoa butter. In the top of a double boiler add 1 tablespoon of cocoa butter, 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon honey. Once melted and combined, pour into a container and store in the fridge on very warm days.
23. Beautify your hair. In the shower, after you wash your, coat the ends with a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out and you’ll find that your hair is less frizzy and extra conditioned. Or make your hair shiny by adding one teaspoon honey to one quart of water, and after washing your hair, pour the mixture over your head. Let dry and enjoy your new-found shiny locks.
24. Resolve dandruff and dry scalp. Because honey is a humectant (it attracts and retains moisture) and a natural antibacterial, it’s great for dry scalp or dandruff. Make a hair mask of honey and coconut oil. Apply to scalp and leave on for five minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual.
25. Turn your bath into a spa. Relax your body and soak your skin in a soothing bath. Add 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 cup of hot water and let it dissolve for about 10 minutes. Add 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil and add it to your bath.
26. Treat acne. Stubborn acne can benefit from a small daily dab of honey. Put a Band-Aid over the honey, and take it off 30 minutes later.
27. Give yourself a facial. Honey is a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties, which means your skin will be happy when you give it some sweet honey love. Try a basic honey wash by mixing a dollop of honey and two tablespoons of warm water and massaging the mixture into your skin.
In the Kitchen
28. Substitute honey for sugar in recipes. For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
29. Make Almond Milk from Scratch. You’ll find a pretty simple recipe on OhNuts.com.
30. Drizzle it on goat cheese. Put a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers and you’ll be the life of the party.
31. Drink it. How do Honey Lemonade, a Honey Bee (honey, rum and lemon juice) or a Gold Rush (bourbon, lemon juice and honey simple syrup) sound? Or add honey to your coffee instead of sugar or sweetener. An energy boost with your energy boost? You’ll be unstoppable.
32. Make a salad or salad dressing. A touch of honey will enhance the sugars in fruit salad—you’ll be surprised at how tasty even winter berries can be. Also, add it to mustard, vinegar and olive oil for a quick salty-sweet salad dressing.
33. Eat the honeycomb. Yes, it can be done! Mix it with crunchy peanut or almond butter on toast, put it on a platter with some salty cheeses and spicy preserves (and serve with a glass of bubbly) or on fresh bread with banana slices.
34. Preserve fruits. Cover berries with one part honey to ten parts water. Pretty much the closest you’re ever going to get to bottling up a little bit of summer. Feel free to share.
35. Make a caramel sauce. Combine 1 ½ cups honey and ½ cup heavy cream in heavy saucepan; cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture reaches 238°F. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt. Cool and serve over apple slices, ice cream or just lick the spoon.
All of these excellent uses aside, there are two important things to remember about honey. Just because it offers numerous health benefits doesn’t mean it’s not caloric; one tablespoon yields 64 calories. Also, it’s crucial to remember that honey is not appropriate for children younger than 12 months because it can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism.