“Everybody loves honey”, that what my folks say. I guess we all just enjoy the magic in the taste of that sweet sticky golden yellow liquid from the bees’ bosom.
However, more than the sweetness is the numerous benefits of this liquid. Honey has been known for thousands of years by the Chinese, Indian, Romans, Arabs, just about everybody, as the cure for all ailments known to man. The nutritional and medicinal properties of honey have even made some called it the “Elixir”.
However, we are not dwelling on all the benefits of honey in the post, just the health benefits and you bet, it has a whole lot of it. The health uses of honey are even so widespread that a name was given to treatment with natural honey - Apitherapy.
The health benefits of honey are broadly categorised into the following headings:
Allergies: Studies have shown pollens collected by bees to exert an anti allergenic effect, mediated by an inhibition of IgE immunoglobulin binding to mast cells. This inhibited mast cell degranulation and thus reduce allergic reaction.
Wounds Healing: Honey has been successfully used to treat diabetic ulcers and extensive burns, when the patient cannot use topical antibiotics. This has been attributed to the antibacterial properties of honey which results for the low water activity causing osmosis, hydrogen peroxide effect, high acidity, and the bacterial activity of methylglyoxal. Honey has also been known to reduce odours, swelling, and scaring when used to treat wound. It also make wound dressings come off easily by preventing the dressing from sticking to the wound. This has also be linked to the mild anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of honey.
Antioxidants: Honey contains polyphenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant properties. These nutrients are found I reasonable amount in honey making them extremely useful in mopping up free radicals.
However, the antioxidant properties of honey vary from one honey type to the other. For example, Millefiori honey and Manuka honey are particularly high in polyphenols and flavonoids, thus have high antioxidant activity. Dark, opaque honeys have also been proven to have stronger antioxidant activity than clear, light ones.
This antioxidant property made them to be of immense benefit in protection against free-radical-caused problems like ageing, cardiovascular diseases, cataract and cancer.
Antibiotics: This is about the oldest known property of honey, it’s the use for which it has been put to for thousands of years.
Honey inhibits the growth of many different types of bacteria, making it useful in treating bacterial infections. It is also used topical to prevent bacterial infection of wounds, thus accelarating healing.
Honey, especially Manuka Honey, have also been proven to be effective against resistant strains of bacteria such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).
Besides these health benefits of honey, it is also well documented that honey is effective against fungal and viral infections.
However, before you gob down the next bottle of honey, it may be worth the while to ask yourself these two questions: Is honey good for me? And is this the real honey?