From light yellows to golden bronzes to deep browns, the color of raw honey ranges almost as much as its sweet flavor.
In its raw and unfiltered state, honey contains about 200 active substances including minerals, enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants. Its strong antibiotic properties can counteract 60 types of bacteria, along with some species of fungi and viruses. (1) We know that the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans all used honey for healing wounds and diseases because of its powerful immune-system-supporting properties.
The Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Honey has been eaten since the stone age and was a special part of the diet in ancient civilizations. It’s composed primarily of fructose and glucose with fructooligosaccharides, amino acids, phenolic acids, tocopherols, and superoxide dismutase which work together to support the body both inside and out.
It’s used in beauty products, hospitals, and homes to support digestion, weight loss efforts, sweeten up foods and beverages, soothe throats, heal burns & wounds, and support brain & immune system health.
It’s truly a medicinal superfood!
1 – Energy and Brain Power
Our body’s cells are powered by mitochondria which feed off sugars like the ones in honey. Studies have shown that honey performs on the same level as the glucose sugar used in most commercial energy gels, which means you no longer have to down those sugary packets of goo. In fact, the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory tested and proved honey to be one of the best carbohydrate choices for pre-workout consumption. It’s also fantastic for post-exercise refueling.
The glucose in honey is literally the perfect brain food because of how easily our body can utilize it for energy. Try having some honey when you really need to get a lot of work done and see how much better you think!
2 – Beauty
Honey is extremely hydrating when applied topically to the skin, because it’s a humectant and draws water out of the air and into itself. When taken internally, it supports tissue rebuilding and repair which keeps the foundation under your skin smooth and strong. It can reduce acne, boost your complexion, and give you a healthy glow.
Nature’s Beauty Mask: After dampening your skin with warm water, massage about 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey into a thin layer on your face. Leave the honey on for at least 30 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. You will be amazed at how soft and clean your skin will look and feel!
3 – Wound Care
Used for treatment of burns, skin wounds, and infections on skin grafts, Manuka honey has been shown to rapidly clear infections from deep surgical wounds infected with methicillin-resistant bacteria (MRSA) and to help speed up healing time. (2) For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the affected area or in a dressing that’s changed every 24 to 48 hours and may be left in place for up to 25 days.
The University of Waikato, New Zealand performed multiple studies showing the wound-healing effects of honey and how it creates an environment where bacteria can’t live by creating hydrogen peroxide.
Honey has also been studied for its use in effectively treating the size and pain level of various types of ulcers.
Blemish Buster: If you have a zip threatening to sprout on your face, dab a little raw honey on it before you go to sleep. If it’s a big one, add a drop of lavender to the honey before applying. If it’s super huge, add one drop of tea tree oil as well.
4 – Sleep
Raw honey helps our body produce melatonin, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. In addition to helping us fall sleep, melatonin boosts immunity and us helps rebuild tissue while we snooze.
Honey also restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and stops our brain from waking us up because it’s looking for fuel. By allowing us to get better sleep, honey naturally lowers our risk of hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and arthritis – which are all influenced by poor sleep.
5 – Longevity
The polyphenol antioxidants in honey go to battle against the free radicals in our body which are causing cellular damage and heart disease. They also boost our immune system, acting as a preventative against any unwanted invaders. By slowing down or stopping free radical damage, our cells remain healthy and strong, which stops premature aging.
6 – Digestion
Honey has been shown to be effective against Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a common cause of peptic ulcers which occur in the stomach or digestive system. One to two teaspoons of raw honey on an empty stomach reduces pain and supports the healing process of the gut. Additionally, when swallowed it helps to soothe an esophagus aggravated by acid reflux. (3)
7 – Sore Throat
Research shows that eating one to two teaspoons of raw honey is just as effective against a cough as dextromethorphan, a common over-the-counter cough medicine ingredient. (4) Honey is a sore throat remedy that goes back many centuries and is just as effective today as it was in ancient times.
8 – Heart Health
Studies have shown the polyphenols in honey are very supportive to a healthy cardiovascular system. (5) By reducing the free radicals that cause heart damage, honey is a delicious way to keep your heart healthy.
9 – Weight Loss
San Diego State University researchers found that replacing sugar with honey can help prevent weight gain and can also lower blood sugar levels. The results also suggest that in comparison to sugar, honey may lower serum triglycerides.
Another study from the University of Wyoming found that raw honey can activate hormones that suppress the appetite.
10 – Allergies
A 2013 study found that eating honey at a high dose can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks. Researchers noted overall and individual symptoms of allergic rhinitis improved.
Raw honey contains bee pollen, which provides natural allergy relief through immunotherapy. The bees in our neighborhood go from flower to flower collecting the pollen we’re allergic to. When we consume local raw honey, over time we become less sensitive to the plants and can notice reduced seasonal allergy symptoms.
The Sweetest Thing
Honey is a fantastic replacement for processed sugar in your coffee, tea, and when cooking. We suggest trying our honey specific recipes like our Honey Rose Latte and 4-Ingredient Sweet Honey Homemade Chocolate if you’re looking for some new ways to incorporate honey into your food.