The Top Ten Creative Uses of Honey for Health and Beauty
What is raw honey? Good question! It’s different from the local honey you’ll find on a supermarket shelf. Most of those will have been pasteurised, which means heating and filtering which can blitz many of the precious nutrients that make honey so beneficial. What’s more, all sorts of additives are often thrown in to colour and prolong the life of processed honey, and we all know that additives aren’t always so great for our dietary health.
Honey in its natural form has been used for thousands of years across many countries and cultures, not only as a food, but as part of rituals and in healing and beautifying regimes.
Archaeological research confirms that prehistoric people made honey part of their staple diet, and some 4,000 years ago the Egyptians practiced the art of beekeeping, especially along the Nile delta. When tombs were excavated, pots and cups of sealed honey were found, ready to accompany the dead on their journey to the afterlife. Hieroglyphics also reveal that honey was used not just as a food but also as a medical remedy for digestive disorders, as well as a base for ointments.
Honey was also used by the ancient Greeks and features in Greek mythology and, for the Romans, honey was the preferred sweetener for desserts, beer and mead.
What can raw honey be used for?
The wonderful thing about raw honey is that it is so versatile. Not only is it one of nature’s most delicious sweeteners, as historical evidence informs us, there are so many other beneficial uses for this wonderful nectar. And it’s some of these that we’re going to explore right now.
1. Skin cleanser
Honey is a natural, gentle skin cleanser. Because it’s so mild, honey is ideal for sensitive skin, but really all skin types can benefit from its use, including where eczema and rosacea prove problematic. Instead of upsetting the natural balance of the skin like commercially produced cleansers, raw honey doesn’t strip out natural oils. Instead, it has a balancing effect, nourishing dry skin, and helping to combat acne. The natural antibacterial and probiotic properties of honey also help in this respect. People who use honey to cleanse their skin may also see an improved texture, which is down to the naturally occurring enzymes.
2. Lip care
Soft, smooth glossy lips anyone? Make yourself a yummy honey lip balm. It’s really quite easy. A teaspoon of raw honey; one of cocoa butter; another of vitamin E oil; one of beeswax and finally one of olive oil. Combine in a saucepan and stir continuously over a low to medium heat until the beeswax is melted. Grab yourself some clean, empty lip balm containers (which you can buy from online retailers like Amazon) and, whilst your mixture is still warm, decant away. From your teaspoon mixture of each ingredient, you’ll get about five balms. Honey lip balm is great for curing ‘sun-tanned’ lips too. That’s if you can resist licking it off!
3. Hangover cure
Actually, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, if you want to avoid waking up with a hangover altogether after a night on the tiles, here’s what to do. Grab yourself a mug of warm water and add a few spoons of raw honey. The natural sugars will boost your metabolism and help resist sudden changes in your blood sugar levels whilst processing the alcohol. Another dose come the morning should have you back on track and ready to face the day hangover free!
Unlike pasteurised honey, raw honey is known as a formidable prebiotic. Its living microorganisms are able to boost the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut which has a positive effect on the immune system. Prebiotics enhance the absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, so boosting bone health, and there are many other benefits including reduced intestinal infections and colon inflammation, better controlled weight and appetite, and potentially lowered anxiety.
5. Hair health
Honey is a popular natural hair product thanks to its dermatological benefits. Studies show that honey can promote the growth of the type of skin cells that are present on the scalp, which can in-turn boost hair growth. Honey is also a great conditioner due to its moisturising properties, not to mention the fact that it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants which help make hair extra shiny and healthy looking and brimming with natural lustre. The proteins in honey can be helpful in reducing hair breakage too.
6. Acid reflux treatment
We’ve already explored how the Egyptians used honey to treat digestive disorders, and with good reason. Honey has antioxidant properties and is known to nuke free radicals which are said to damage the lining of the digestive tract. It can also reduce inflammation in the oesophagus and provide longer-lasting relief by coating it so that it’s protected. A teaspoon of honey is the recommended dose, taken in warm water if preferred.
7. Energy boost
As we all know, energy comes from carbs. So, as honey is carbohydrate rich thanks to its glucose and fructose content, it makes the perfect energy food. Pure honey is packed with small quantities of proteins, amino acids, enzymes, minerals and trace elements, making it way more nutritious than traditional energy snacks and drinks that are created around refined sugars and typically contain all sorts of artificial preservatives, colourants and sweeteners. Fructose is absorbed more slowly than glucose, which makes it ideal for endurance sports such as long distance running. By the same token, the glucose content of pure honey will give you a swift energy boost, just right ahead of your gym session.
8. Good night’s sleep
It’s not at all uncommon to find yourself waking from sleep in the early hours, especially if you have things on your mind. Adrenaline and cortisol fluctuations are usually behind these wake-ups. These are the stress hormones that prepare you for battle. Recommendations to combat these fluctuations are a hit of salt and sugar on the tongue. Why? Because both are known to fight rising stress hormone levels. So, a teaspoon of honey with a little salt could well soothe you back into a nice, sound sleep.
9. Cough tonic
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE), honey rather than antibiotics is the recommended remedy for a cough. Evidence shows that honey could be effective for adults and children over five years old when it comes to reducing acute cough symptoms that stem from upper respiratory tract infections. The best way to take honey is to mix it with lemon in hot water and drink whilst still warm. It is important though to be aware that honey should not be given to children under the age of one year.
10. Burn relief
Raw honey is known for its healing properties. Naturally antibacterial, honey is able to moisturise wounds and speed healing whilst combating infection, making it the ideal natural treatment for burns. Honey can be directly applied to minor burns to help soothe the pain, following cooling with cold water. More serious burns should be treated only following medical advice, however.
Important note about honey consumption
Whilst honey is a widely used, natural remedy that benefits many people, there are as with any remedy some important guidelines to follow.
Honey may affect blood sugar levels, so must be taken with care. Anyone with diabetes, low blood sugar or taking regular medication that affects blood sugar should consult their GP before trying honey as a home remedy. Also be sure to ask your GP about taking honey if you are on any form of medication, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Never give honey to any child under the age of one year.
If you are allergic to honey, never use any home remedy involving it in any form. If you notice any unusual side effects from honey, stop using it immediately and seek medical advice.
Natural raw honey from BeeRoots
Here at BeeRoots, we are dedicated to sharing the finest ethically-harvested natural raw honey. We only work with suppliers who follow our sustainable approach. To discover more about nature’s favourite brand of honey, we welcome you to get in touch.