Honey is known as liquid gold and its dates back 8000 years, as shown in the rock paintings of Valencia, Spain and has been used for centuries to heal wounds and for skin care. The powerful antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey makes it a perfect “alternate medicine” and its mention has been made in ancient Hindu, Greek, Roman, Islamic and Christian culture. Mainly composed of sucrose and water, honey also contains complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It is used as a first aid treatment for wounds and cuts, relieving sore throat, treating hay fever and improving digestive health.
The nutrients present in honey depend on the quality of the nectar and pollen. The commonly found nutrients in honey include:
Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, sulphur, iron, chlorine, and phosphate
Vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, vitamin B1 and vitamin B5
Honey is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, iron and calcium along with antioxidants that helps in improving overall health and proper functioning of the immune system.
The health benefits of honey are numerous and it is nature’s answer to all ailments. Being a great source of carbohydrates, it acts as a natural energy booster that makes it a perfect pre and post workout food that helps in maximizing the effectiveness of exercise and athletic performance and helps in recovering sore muscles and tissues post workout. A glass of warm water with a tablespoon of honey is a far better substitute compared to sugar laden energy drinks.
Yet another benefit of honey for health is that is functions as an effective natural memory booster that helps improve brain functions and increase alertness and performance at work. Cognitive decline and difficulty in remembering things might be the result of lack of energy supply to the brain or lack of sleep. This problem can be resolved with honey. Taking a tea spoon of honey before going to bed can help in restoring and improving memory. This is because our brain requires energy even when we are asleep and honey acts as a constant supply of energy to the brain when we are sleeping.
Honey has been used as an age old remedy for relieving persistent cough and sore throat by our mothers and grandmothers. Honey helps in reducing the irritation of throat and relieving nighttime cough in children and it also helps in promoting sleep. Honey contains more than 180 natural substances and it has natural antimicrobial properties that help in fighting throat infections. Honey coats and soothes the throat and mucous membrane and relieves the sensitivity of the affected sensory fibers. It is always better to consume 2 tea spoons of honey for relieving cough rather than taking over the counter cough syrups. But honey should not be given to infants.
The antibacterial and antifungal property of honey helps in healing cuts, burns and wounds at a faster pace. During the production of honey, bees add a certain enzyme to it that contains hydrogen peroxide. It is capable of fighting all strains of infection causing bacteria and helps in making infected wounds and ulcers sterile. The best way to use honey for treating wounds and burns is through topical application every 12 hours and the dressing should be changed every 24 hours.
Our hectic lifestyle and busy work schedule leads to lack of sleep and stress and anxiety often lead to sleeplessness and insomnia. Taking a tea spoon of honey before going to bed can help in relaxing the mind and treat sleeping disorders. The natural sugar present in honey raises the insulin level slightly and leads to the release of tryptophan in brain that promotes sound sleep.
Yet another effective benefit of honey is that is acts as a natural immune system booster that improves the body’s capability of fighting infection causing bacteria. The anti-oxidants present in honey along with the powerful anti-bacterial properties improve digestive functions and prepares the body to fight diseases. The best way to consume honey for boosting immunity is by mixing 1 tea spoon of it in a glass of warm water and drinking it first thing in the morning every day.
When it comes to weight loss, a well planned weight loss diet combined with regular exercise it the best and most effective way to lose extra pounds and get into shape. But there are certain quick remedies that promote weight loss by stimulating the fat burning process and honey is one such effective natural remedy for weight loss. Although honey contains sugar, but it is also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that helps obese and overweight people to lose weight and also reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Fat is stored in the body as an unused substance, but honey has the capacity to break down this stored fat which is utilized by the body as energy for performing daily activities.
Being a rich source of antioxidants, honey acts as an effective natural treatment for preventing certain types of cancer. The antioxidants present in honey fights cell damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress two of the chief reasons for cancer. Floral flavonoids present in honey have anti-carcinogen and anti-tumor properties that stops the growth and multiplication of cancerous cells.
The benefits of honey are not limited to health only; there are numerous benefits of honey for skin and hair as well. No doubt it has been used for ages to treat skin and hair problems and is still being widely used in cosmetics, skin and hair care products.
Honey has the capacity to absorb and retain moisture effectively making it the perfect natural remedy for dry skin. Application of honey helps in hydrating and rejuvenating damaged skin cells. It helps in softening dry, flaky and chapped skin and adding a natural glow to skin. The best way to use honey for moisturizing dry skin is to mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of milk and massage it on clean face, let it stay for 30 minutes and wash off with water.
The powerful antibacterial property of honey makes it an effective natural remedy for treating acne and pimples. Being an antiseptic, it prevents the growth of acne and pimple causing bacteria in the skin pores and the hydrogen peroxide present in honey acts as a disinfectant. Thus it not only heals acne and pimple but also prevents further breakouts. In addition, its soothing anti-inflammatory property also relieves the painful swelling and redness associated with pimples and acne.
Honey also functions as an effective remedy for wrinkles and fine lines. It is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids that neutralizes the cell damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress- two of the major reasons for premature skin aging. Take a tea spoon of honey on your palms and massage it on clean face for 5 minutes, leave on for 20 minutes and wash off with water. Repeat it on a daily to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and crow’s feet.
The benefits of honey for hair need no new emphasis. Because of its effective moisture retaining capacity, it functions as an amazing hair conditioner that supplies moisture to the rough hair strands, smoothens the open cuticles and adds natural shine and volume to dull, limp hair. Mix 1 table spoon each of honey and olive oil in a bowl and massage it on your scalp and hair, let it stay for 30 minutes and wash off with a mild shampoo.
Now, stay in the pink of health and pamper your skin and hair with the nourishing touch of honey – nature’s liquid gold and don’t forget to share your skin and hair care tips with us.
Image Sources: medicalnewstoday.com,saidaonline.com,doctoroz.com,infomyhealth.com
Deblina Biswas has an M.Sc degree in Nutrition from the University of Osmania and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She loves everything about food and fitness and the fact that she has been able to follow her heart when it comes to her profession. When she is not working, she likes to rustle up delectable concoctions in the kitchen, of course keeping the health quotient intact. She says, everyone just loves her healthy biryani she makes for special occasions. She believes that most ailments can be cured with the right amalgamation of nutrition and fitness.