Scientists have found that honey has antibacterial, anitmicrobial and antioxidant properties. It is said to enhance the immune sytem and stimulate cell growth.
There is evidence of the medicinal use of honey throughout the history of the human race. Almost every culture that had access to honey has utilized it as a therapeutic agent.
During wartime it was used as an antiseptic on wounds by the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and even by the Germans as late as World War I.
The health benefits of honey depend on its processing as well as the quality of the flowers the bees collected the nectar and pollen from.
Heat or exposure to bright sunlight destroys the antibacterial component of honey and reduces some of its nutritive value. Filtered honey is less effective than raw honey because the process of filtering removes components that contain medicinal nutrients, such as pollen.
Scientific evidence has shown honey is effective in the treatment of wounds, burns, stomach problems, gastrointestinal disorders and eye disorders. Recent studies have been conducted that show honey is an aid in the battle against antibiotic resistant infections.
Athletes have been advised to consume carbohydrates to improve performance. Studies have shown that taking honey before, during and after exercise improves endurance and aids in the recovery process afterwards.
Honey is considered safe for most people to use, although people with allergies may have an adverse reaction to the pollen in unfiltered honey. Honey made from poisonous plants, such as mountain laurel, can be poisonous to humans.
Infants less than one year old should not be given raw honey due to their undeveloped immune systems.
Honey is a common food and there are no dose restrictions on its use. It can be used as a topical agent on wounds, eaten straight from the jar or added to food and drink.
Regardless of whether you use honey for medicinal purposes or as a food, one thing is for sure, honey has a wonderful flavor. Go visit your local beekeeper and get some sweet liquid today.
Additional resource: Honey The Gourmet Medicine by Joe Traynor
The first photo is by courtesy of Zanymuse.