Just about everyone has a jar of honey in the kitchen, but few people realize just how diverse this ingredient can be. In addition to being an effective sweetener (one that is so much healthier than refined sugars), honey can be used for so many other purposes too.
Honey is one of the oldest skin care ingredients out there, and can be used in so many different ways when it comes to the skin. If you have been struggling to find a cleanser that works well for your skin (and let’s face it, this can often be a challenge), you may want to give honey a try.
Wondering how honey would actually cleanse your skin?
Honey has a very low pH level, meaning that it destroys any bacteria that it encounters. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, making it great for soothing the skin. If you have oily, acne-prone skin or sensitive skin, you may find honey especially helpful.
A Wound & Burn Dressing
Raw honey has been studied extensively when it comes to treating wounds, burns and other similar injuries. It has actually been used for this purpose for thousands of years, with research showing that honey is able to reduce the healing time for both wounds and burns.
In fact, when compared to the more traditional silver sulfadiazene dressing, it was found that honey was able to:
- Make the wounds sterile in a shorter amount of time
- Enhance the healing process
- Leaves less scarring than other treatments
Honey also reduces pain and odor from wounds, while treating any antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
When using honey for medicinal purposes such as this, you need to make sure that you are using raw honey. This means that it has not been processed in any way, allowing it to retain its full potency.
Some types of honey also tend to be more powerful than others when it comes to medicine…
Clover honey has been shown to have the strongest antibacterial effects against certain types of bacteria, making a raw clover honey a fantastic choice. Check out the Royal Bee website for some high quality raw clover honey, sourced from the Pacific Northwest.
A Moisturizing Hair Mask
In addition to being a useful skin care ingredient, honey can work wonders on your hair too!
In a number of ways, such as:
- It promotes hair growth
- It has moisturizing properties that conditions the hair
- Its emollient and humectant properties gives hair a healthy shine
- It can have a lightening effect when left on for an extended period of time
- It contains proteins that can strengthen hair and reduce breakages
How should you use honey on your hair?
Try whipping up a hair mask, or simply mixing it in with your shampoo or conditioner. Make sure that you mix it in well, and use the honey in your hair regularly in order to actually see results.
An Athletic Boost
If you’re into staying fit and healthy, then this is something that will interest you…
Research has found that, when compared to other carbohydrates, honey was able to provide a much better boost to athletes, giving them the energy needed to increase power and speed.
Studies show that honey is especially beneficial for endurance athletes, with this humble ingredient capable of significantly improving endurance exercise capacity.
A Hangover Cure
Nobody enjoys a hangover, so using some honey to help get rid of your next one.
You would need to consume between two to six teaspoons of honey every 20 minutes or so. The potassium and the fructose in the honey will help your body to metabolize all of that alcohol, having you feeling so much better in no time at all.
How you actually consume the honey is completely up to you – whether you have it in tea or as a topping on toast, just make sure you are taking in the recommended amount regularly for this to work.
Honey has been used as a preservative since ancient times. As mentioned above, its low pH level inhibits the growth of bacteria, and, since honey mostly consists of sugar, this means that it has a very low moisture content, which also isn’t suitable for bacterial growth.
Cultures all around the world have long since used honey as a way to preserve fruits, enabling them to enjoy their harvests long after their fresh fruits have gone off.
There are several different methods to doing this, but it goes without saying that you want to have a high quality honey to begin with. This will ensure quality in your preserve too. If you enjoy experimenting with flavors, try using a fruit blossom honey when preserving fruits. The sweetness and tanginess of a raw blueberry blossom honey is always a fun one to experiment with.
A Cough Suppressant
Have you ever been to the doctor for a cough that you just can’t seem to get rid of?
Chances are, you were prescribed a cough suppressant.
Well, thanks to all of the new research out there, doctors are now recommending honey instead.
Because studies show that honey can actually be even more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines. It is also much cheaper, and provides your body with so many other health benefits too.
Wondering if you can simply eat some honey on its own to suppress your cough?
Yes! It isn’t complicated at all. Simply take a couple of teaspoons of honey, preferably around bedtime, and you should find that this helps. If you would prefer, you could also mix the honey into some warm tea or lemon water to soothe your throat.
In the Bath
As mentioned earlier, honey is an amazing skin care ingredient. You could use it as a cleanser, a moisturizer, or even a face mask, and you could also use it as an ingredient in your bath.
Thanks to all of its antioxidants, amino acids and anti-inflammatory properties, adding honey into your bath will soon have your skin feeling so much softer and smoother.
Wondering how much honey to add in?
Try using about one cup of honey, dissolving this in some hot water first before mixing it into your bath, as this will ensure that it disperses evenly.
For a few other DIY extras for your bath, try adding in some:
- Colloidal oatmeal – another skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredient. Colloidal works better than regular oatmeal, since the particles are smaller and are therefore able to have a more noticeable effect on the skin
- Milk – contains fats and proteins that help the skin to thrive. Milk is also a natural source of lactic acid, which is known for its hydrating and gentle exfoliating properties. Make sure that you use full fat instead of skimmed
- Oils – oils are also great for moisturizing the skin, while providing some extra antioxidants. A few beneficial oils to try include olive, jojoba, argan and coconut
- Sea salt – provides a wide variety of minerals while also having a mild exfoliating effect, giving your circulation a boost
For Seasonal Allergies
So many people experience seasonal allergies, with symptoms including:
- Itching and watering eyes
- A runny nose
- Coughing and sore throat
As you can imagine, this isn’t much fun, especially for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. These allergies begin in the spring, when plants start producing pollen, and continue into the fall, meaning that some people spend more than half the year dealing with these allergies.
How can honey help?
Well, research is conflicting, but the idea behind it is this…
Bees, who make the honey, pick up seasonal pollen. This means that when you eat that honey, you are then ingesting that pollen. Over time, this should help you to build up your tolerance to the pollen, causing you to become less sensitive to it, and therefore reducing your allergy symptoms.
This may seem far-fetched, but one common treatment for allergies is, in fact, repeated exposure.
However, keep in mind that in order for this to work, you would need to use a raw honey that is local, as you need the local pollen that’s actually causing your allergies to be in that honey.
An Acne Treatment
As you already know, honey has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. If you suffer from acne, then you probably also already know that inflammation plays a huge role in this. There are many types of inflammatory acne, and these can sometimes be quite difficult to treat.
If you haven’t yet found a treatment that works for you, it may be worth giving honey a try.
You’re probably thinking…
Surely smothering honey across my spots isn’t going to help heal them?
It may look a little strange at first, but that’s exactly what the honey will do. You can either use it on its own, or dilute it with a little purified water, to make it a little easier to spread and remove. You could also mix it in with a couple of other ingredients to create your own anti-acne face mask.
If you’ve got any acne scars on your face…
Try using honey to help fade them. Since honey enhances the body’s natural healing process, and also has a lightening and brightening effect when used topically, this is a great ingredient when it comes to speeding up the healing process for scars.
Love experimenting in the kitchen?
Turn your attention to that jar of honey in your kitchen cupboard…
Yes, raw honey on its own is absolutely delicious, but, if you want to get a little creative, try infusing your honey with a herb or spice to really transform its flavor profile.
You might be thinking…
Wouldn’t cooking or heating the honey destroy its potent properties?
Yes, but you don’t need to heat honey in order to infuse it. Many of the best herbalists out there make use of no-heat methods, as this allows the honey to retain all of its powerful compounds. Dried herbs and spices work best for this (if you want to use fresh, then you will need to use an infusion method that involves heat), and you will then need to wait for between one to four weeks before straining your honey. The longer you wait, the more intense the flavor.
Here are a few infusion ideas to get you started:
- Cinnamon (which is also a powerful antioxidant)
- Ginger root
- Lavender flowers
- Chamomile flowers
- Rose petals
If you find the waiting time too painful, you could always purchase a jar of this spicy Habanero Honey to tide you over until yours is ready!
While research on this topic is still pretty new, studies have found that honey has the potential to help reduce anxiety levels. In this day and age, with anxiety being such a prevalent issue, a treatment that is as natural and as safe as honey would be extremely welcome.
How exactly does this work?
As of yet, nobody really knows. Experts believe that it may be down to the antioxidants in honey, which also help to improve memory and give mental health an overall boost.
Either way, if you find yourself frequently dealing with anxiety, it may be worth trying to increase the amount of honey you consume in your diet.
Honey is such a multi-functional ingredient, and is one that has been used by so many different cultures from all over the world for centuries now. Although modern day research may only just be catching up to ancient knowledge, we can all agree on the fact that honey has such a wide range of different benefits, making this an ingredient definitely worth having in your home.