Did you know that raw honey is full of health benefits and surprising uses? I'm not talking about the cute little bears full of processed product. When you leave it in its natural state (i.e. RAW, not processed or pasteurized), honey has some amazing properties, and you can use it in a variety of ways.
In fact, we recently started buying honey directly from a bee keeper located a couple towns away from us... By the GALLON! Did you know that raw honey never spoils? Archaeologists have found it in Egyptian tombs, and it's still edible!
- Skin Care... Did you know honey makes a fabulous face wash?! Its natural antibacterial and healing properties make it a real treat in your skin care. It doesn't strip the skin, but leaves it feeling wonderful.
- Wounds! Honey is a great treatment on wounds and burns (even sun burns). It's antibacterial properties help prevent infection, and its antiseptic properties help prevent growth of disease-causing organisms.
- Wellness... Honey contains minerals that your body needs, like Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Potassium. It's also a natural source of vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, and Vitamin C. Research has shown that a teaspoon of honey per day aids calcium utilization, preventing osteoporosis. You can read about the anti-inflammatory activity of honey here.
- Longevity... The most long-lived people in the world are regular users of honey. In fact, beekeepers suffer less from cancer and arthritis than any other occupational group worldwide!
- Sore Throats & Coughs... Honey is very soothing to a sore throat, and can help with coughs. Many people make their own cough drops using just honey and lemon juice or lemon essential oil.
- Migraines... Some people use a dessertspoon of honey dissolved in half a glass of warm water to help with migraines. It is sipped at the start of an attack, and again after 20 minutes if necessary.
- Digestion... Honey is mainly fructose and glucose, so it's quickly absorbed by the digestive system, and can help relieve indigestion and constipation naturally.
- Stabilizer... Honey is a unique natural stabilizer. For fatigue: Greek athletes took honey for stamina before competing and a reviver after competition. For insomnia: a spoonful of honey in a mug of warm milk aids sleep! For stress: use about 25% honey to water in order to calm highs and raise lows.
- Sweetener... Replace your use of white sugar with honey! White sugar is very stimulating with no food qualities, whereas honey provides energy without the "spike." If you replace sugar in cakes and cookies with honey, they'll stay fresher longer due to honey's natural antibacterial properties. Just remember to reduce liquids in the mixture by about 1/5 to allow for the moisture present in honey. My favorite cookbooks (especially the Whole Food ones) are full of recipes using honey rather than sugar.
- Spa treatment... Mix honey with an equal amount of olive oil and cover your head with a warm towel for half an hour, then shampoo it off. Your hair will never look or feel better! You can also mix it with an equal amount of oatmeal, then apply it as a face pack. Leave it on for half an hour, then wash it off. This is a great deep cleanser for unwanted blemishes and restores skin tone.
And if you can find a local source of raw honey (just somewhere in your general area, not necessarily in the same town), it's thought to be great for allergies too. It's thought to work similar to a vaccine or allergy shot... since local honey is made with the pollens in your area, it introduces the pollen spores into your body in small enough amounts that they don't trigger a reaction but instead could help the body grow accustomed to their presence.
A couple of our favorite, simple ways to eat honey are drizzled on toast or biscuits, or warmed with butter and apples in a frying pan and drizzled over pancakes. For those purposes, I keep some in my adorable honey pot! But I keep the bulk of what we use in a larger container. We love it as a meat marinade! It's yummy on chickens and steaks. There are plenty of recipes online for honey marinades, but I like it either plain, with some spices thrown in, or used along with dijon mustard for a honey-dijon flavor. Mmmmm.
If you're ready to find yourself some honey, remember... the package needs to say that it's "RAW!" It may also say "unpasteurized" or "unprocessed."Our grocery store carries raw, unpasteurized honey, so maybe yours does too. If not, check a health food store. Better yet, search online to find your nearest beekeeper or honey plant and buy it locally!