What are Benefits of Using Honey?
1. Needless to say that honey is a natural sweetener which could be used as a sugar substitute in tea, coffee, juice, porridge or in baking. Likewise honey is an excellent healthy substitute for margarine on bread and other food dressings. Honey has a low glycemic index and apart from giving energy it provides many nutrients needed to nourish the body. Research findings have revealed that honey is a laxative and calms the nervous system.
2. Bee honey has anti-bacterial properties, it prevents bacteria growth, which makes it effective in treating various diseases eg it is used to treat wounds when topically applied on injuries. This is partly due to formation of hydrogen peroxide by enzyme activity (glucose oxidase) in honey when it comes into contact with wound fluids. This was established by Dr. Peter Molan, the head of honey research unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. In another study honey was found to speed up the healing of caesarian section when topically applied. (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, November 1992)
3. When eaten honey provides energy to the body and enables the brain to function effectively. Recent studies have shown that honey is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other energizers. It also has antioxidant properties (protects body cells against free radical damage), hence it is used by athletes to enhance their performance.
4. Honey is used to combat coughs and throat irritations and recent research has shown that honey was as effective as over the counter medicines in relieving coughs and throat irritations.
5. Honey contains flavonoids which are antioxidants which may reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases, also reduces bad cholesterol in the blood vessels.
6. Honey is effective in treating burns and wounds. It is believed that the drying effect of simple sugars in honey as well as the anti-bacteria property combines to create that effect. According to a US science journal, a clinical study showed that manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria including resistant varieties such as MRSA, MSSA and VRE.(Scientific America, January 31, 2012)
7. Honey soothes the body and removes stress thus help people with insomnia to get good sleep. It also helps to promote sexual desire and performance.
8. Honey possesses anti- inflammatory properties and contains a special antioxidant known as pinocembrine which protects the brain against damaging free radicals.
9. Honey help digestion and thus may prevents disorders caused by indigestion, such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, constipation, irritable bowel movement etc. This is mainly due to the presence of enzymes and B- vitamins in honey as well as prebiotics. Some honey varieties have high contents of prebiotics which are very helpful in digestion and metabolism.
10. When taken regularly, honey destroys liver and intestinal worms and other parasites.
11. Honey can be mixed with other skin treatment ingredients for treating skin disorders such acne and stretch marks, this is due to its antibacterial qualities as well as its moisturizing and nourishing properties. It also balances skin conditions (moisturize, nourishes, protects skin) hence its use in cosmetics and beauty products.
12. For alcohol drinkers, honey help to relieve hangovers and fatigue especially when taken as the first thing in the morning after heavy drinking the previous night.
13. Honey may be used as an antidote, a first aid to neutralize poison to a poisoned person.
Can Babies use Honey?
It is strictly advised by health experts that children under one year of age should not be given honey because infants can contract botulism from honey. Some samples of honey contain bacteria spores known as clostridium botulinum which may grow in the human gut and cause botulinum toxin which causes a fatal disease known as botulism. However the more developed digestive system of older children (above 2yrs) and adults are capable of preventing botulism by destroying these spores. Although cases of infant botulism are very rare, it is not advisable to take the risk of feeding honey to a baby. Medical grade honey is treated with gamma radiations which kill bacteria spores but does not affect its efficacy.