When people think of honey, they often associate it as a Sugar Alternative when sweetening their tea or a supplement for butter when topping their toast. But the supersaturated mixture of glucose and fructose, which is made by bees using nectar from flowering plants, has many other practical applications. Note: Never feed honey to children under 12 months of age; spores found in honey can cause botulism in infants.
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Click through the slideshow to discover 20 ways to use honey in and out of the kitchen.
One cause for dandruff is fungus and honey can offer those suffering from a flaking scalp a natural remedy. In addition to its antibacterial qualities, honey is known to be antifungal. In fact, a 2001 study, published in the European Journal of Medical Research, found that using diluted honey could result in reduced scaling and itch relief.
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A 2009 study found in an eight-week randomized clinical trial that diabetic patients that consumed honey lost weight and had lower cholesterol than their non-honey-consuming counterparts. An easy way to add honey to your diet, in moderation, is to start off your day with hot water and a tablespoon of honey.
A study found that honey is a great source of a powerful antioxidant called polyphenols, which plays a big role in heart health and reducing the risk of cancer. Subjects were fed 4 tablespoons of buckwheat honey for 29 days and were found to have higher levels of antioxidants in their blood.
Hangovers are painful, but honey can play a role in alleviating symptoms. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, honey is rich in fructose—a fruit sugar that helps speed up the process of metabolizing alcohol. Essentially, alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde, and fructose converts this toxic substance into acetic acid, which is later further broken down into carbon dioxide.
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Most people turn to carbohydrates for extra glucose to boost their athletic performance but researchers have found that the natural sugars in honey can accomplish the same. The researchers conducted their study on male cyclists to find that honey is a natural alternative for athletes.
Honey may be able to serve as a memory stimulator. According to a 2011 study, published in Menopause, regular intake of Malaysian honey can boost postmenopausal women’s memory. In fact, the study found honey to be more effective than hormone pills, as women who consumed 20 grams of honey a day had better short-term memory after four months than their counterparts who took hormone supplements.
The chronic itch of a mosquito bite can drive a person crazy but the anti-inflammatory properties of honey can come to the rescue. Sure, it’s sticky, but easily accessible ingredient can reduce the itching sensation. What’s more, Jessica Wu, MD, notes that since honey is a natural antibiotic, it can also help prevent infections.
A systematic review by Cochrane researchers in New Zealand found that honey is a viable alternative to healing burn wounds. The gold liquid is an option for treating sunburns and was reportedly the treatment of choice in 50 A.D. for Greek physician Dioscorides.
Known for its antimicrobial properties, ancient civilizations have used the honey for topically treating wounds. Researchers from New Zealand found that honey can quickly clear infection, protects wounds from further infections, and speeds healing by stimulating growth of cells.
If you’re trying to Preserve Seasonal Fruit, then canning is the solution. And if you’re debating between sugar water and honey, there’s a great reason to opt for the latter: Food scientists at Cornell University found that honey contains an antimicrobial compound that makes it a great natural preservative. The researchers identified a specific strain (Bacillus thuringiensis) that was effective against common foodborne pathogens.
Food chemists from University of Illinois found honey to be a natural preservative and sweetener in salad dressings. The researchers determined that the antioxidants in honey kept the salad dressings good for up to nine months.
Legend has it that Cleopatra indulged in a milk and honey bath soak for soft skin—the milk’s lactic acid and the honey’s moisturizing abilities can leave skin smooth. You don’t have to be royalty to indulge in a honey soak as long as you have milk, honey, and an essential oil.
According to naturopathic experts, honey—which contains B vitamins, amino acids, and minerals calcium and magnesium—has the ability to soothe sore throats and boost immunity.
Honey can help alleviate symptoms of indigestion by reducing acidity in the stomach. A 2006 study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that honey improved gut microflora in mice when replacing processed food.
Paging insomniacs: honey can help you fall asleep. Your brain runs on glycogen, which your liver produces. In order to produce glycogen, the liver needs glucose and fructose, plus some minerals and vitamins. Taking 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey (which contains all of the above) before going to bed helps provide enough steady brain fuel for 7½ to 8 hours of restful sleep.
A 2012 study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that children coughed less when they had two teaspoons of honey before bed.
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The antibacterial and moisturizing properties of honey make it a great ingredient to use in a DIY body scrub. You can add a tablespoon or two of honey to your favorite body scrub recipe or follow our recipe.
Save money by making your own at-home wax to remove unwanted hair. Most recipes call for melting honey with sugar and lemon to create the wax.
As a natural humectant, honey prevents your skin from losing moisture by holding on to water molecules. For anyone suffering from dry facial skin, a DIY facemask can be as simple as one ingredient: apply honey to your face and leave it on for 15 minutes. This can also be used as a spot treatment for extra dry patches of skin like elbows or knees.
Raw honey has antibacterial properties. Using a honey-based face wash can reduce breakouts and keep your skin clean.