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The Numerous Health Benefits of Honey

Honey is considered the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life.  History has recorded honey as the most used medicine in ancient Egypt, and during World War I, honey mixed with cod liver oil was used to treat soldiers’ wounds.   Honey contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals and is a natural and powerful medicine, both internally and externally.

Honey is a great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies.  Honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting performance and endurance, and it reduces muscle fatigue in athletes.  The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy.  It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar.

Amongst the many health benefits of honey, one of the most impressive is its ability to be a powerful immune system booster.  For thousands of years, honey has been recognized as one of the most natural home remedies to treat a wide range of ailments and complaints including yeast infection, athlete’s foot, and arthritis pain.  Its antiseptic properties inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and helps keep external wounds clean and free from infection. Honey has been used as a natural cure in first aid treatment for wounds, burns and cuts as it is able to absorb moisture from the air and promote healing. Its antibacterial properties prevent infection and functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing both swelling and pain, and even scarring.

The list of honey’s other beneficial functions is a long one. Honey increases calcium absorption; can increase hemoglobin count and treat or prevent anemia caused by nutritional factors; can help arthritic joints, when combined with apple cider vinegar; fights colds and respiratory infections of all kinds; can help to boost gastrointestinal ulcer healing; works as a natural and gentle laxative; aids constipation, allergies and obesity; provides an array of vitamins and minerals; and supplies instant energy without the insulin surge caused by white sugar. Many have found raw honey helpful for its positive effects against allergies and hay fever, and one or two teaspoons last thing at night can help with insomnia. As an antiseptic, honey is also a drawing agent for poisons from bites or stings or infected wounds, and has outperformed antibiotics in treatments for stomach ulcerations, gangrene, surgical wound infections, surgical incisions and the protection of skin grafts, corneas, blood vessels and bones during storage and shipment.

Research Behind the Benefits of Honey

Many research studies have been done to prove the effects of honey.  Dr. Peter Molan, professor of biochemistry at Waikato University, New Zealand, has been at the forefront of honey research for 20 years. He heads the University’s Honey Research Unit, which is internationally recognized for its expertise in the antimicrobial properties of honey. Clinical observations and experimental studies have established that honey has effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It painlessly removes pus, scabs and dead tissue from wounds and stimulates new tissue growth. “Randomized trials have shown that honey is more effective in controlling infection in burn wounds than silver sulfadiazine, the antibacterial ointment most widely used on burns in hospitals,” explains Dr. Molan.

Dr. Molan believes that if honey were used from the start in cases of septicemia, there would be far less tissue damage resulting. “The remarkable ability of honey to reduce inflammation and mop up free radicals should halt the progress of the skin damage like it does in burns, as well as protecting from infection setting in”, says Dr. Molan. “At present, people are turning to honey when nothing else works. But there are very good grounds for using honey as a therapeutic agent of first choice.”

Honey is also exceptionally effective for respiratory ailments. One Bulgarian study of almost 18,000 patients found that it improved chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, chronic and allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. It’s an effective treatment for colds, flu, respiratory infections and a generally depressed immune system. Whereas sugar shuts down the immune system, a good quality honey will stimulate it into action.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, reported in March 2004 that daily consumption of raw honey may raise polyphenolic antioxidant levels in blood and reduce the risk of damage by free radicals.

For more home remedies with honey, visit the blog tomorrow.

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