Honey, one of the first superfoods, has been used since ancient times for nourishment, health and beauty. Read about the different ways we can benefit from honey.
With all the talk of superfoods these days, it’s time to highlight one of the most miraculous healing superfoods on earth – honey. In fact, honey is not only a superfood, but a super-substance with many uses. In this article, I will explain what makes honey so amazing. Honey is not only nutrient-dense, but has beneficial uses for health and beauty, too. Nutritionists can debate the claims of superfoods all they want, but honey outshines almost any other natural food substance! History contains ages-old records confirming that honey is one of the first superfoods.
This unique material is produced by busy honey bees, providing them with all the nourishment needed to sustain them. Due to honey’s almost miraculous properties, it’s not surprising that other creatures, including humans, also love honey.
Ancient Societies Loved Honey Too
Honey bees and honey have been around since the earliest historical records from thousands of years ago. Depictions of bees on rock paintings and hieroglyphs from the New Stone Age period, (around 15,000 BC) show that bees were important even then. Many ancient cultures often referred to honey as a gift of the gods and an elixir of life. See, a superfood!
In 2003, remnants of an ancient burial ground in the Republic of Georgia was discovered during excavation for a pipeline. Workers uncovered a burial tomb of a tribal noblewoman, revealing the oldest actual preserved honey from 5,500 years ago! Archaeologists found clay vessels containing traces of three different types of honey.
The honey was apparently stored in the tomb for use in the afterlife, much as is found in Egyptian tombs. This appears to be the oldest record of honey associated with human use… right here in Georgia, where Jay and I are living! It’s too far away for a day trip, but maybe one day we’ll visit the area.
Numerous Egyptian bas reliefs show bee “hunting” (searching for beehives) and depict the importance of bees in Egypt. Honey was highly prized as an almost mystical substance and considered as valuable as gold. It was cherished by Egyptians not only as a food, but also as a cosmetic ingredient and for medicinal purposes. The symbol of the bee in religious ceremonies was prevalent and was also used to depict a person’s place in society.
Egypt may well be hold the earliest records of beekeeping as an organized commercial enterprise, rather than the mere gathering of honey from wild bees.
As cultures grew and industry developed along with them, the industry of beekeeping also grew and seems to be a vital part of history.
History of Honey for Medicinal Use
Honey is naturally anti-bacterial and contains enzymes and nutrients that are useful in promoting health and vitality.
Ayurveda, the ancient healing science of India (recorded about 4,000 years ago) has numerous notations about the use of honey. Charak Samhita, Ayurveda’s text that deals with plant and natural medicines, describes honey as an “Elixir of Immortality,” identifying that honey is one of the original superfoods. Among the many uses for honey in Ayurveda are treatments for asthma, coughs, sore throat, urinary infections, eye problems, diabetes and wound healing. Honey used as a carrier for herbal medicines enhances their assimilation and healing powers.
Ayurveda also specifies that honey heated to over 104 F develops toxins and should be avoided. This fact is corroborated by modern scientists. Therefore, I would not suggest using honey in cooking or baking.
In Egypt, ancient texts, such as the Edwin Smith Papyrus, dating as far back as 3.000 years ago, mention the value of honey in treatment of wounds and for internal purposes.
Honey is also well documented in ancient Chinese medicine, (TCM) which categorizes honey as a balanced substance, neither yin nor yang. Therefore, honey treats a variety of ailments without causing imbalance in any of the vital airs. The Chinese often use honey for wound treatment, burn treatment, and to improve digestion.
There are many, many examples of historical societies that viewed honey as a medical and nutritional superfood.
Health Benefits of Honey
Here is a concise list of honey”s beneficial qualities:
1. Antioxidant and Healing
Honey has the unique ability to burn up toxins in the body when taken internally.
2. Honey and Ghee for Energy
Taking honey and ghee (clarified butter) in unequal amounts is an energy booster and creates vitality. Ayurveda says that you should always take honey and ghee in amounts of unequal weight. Therefore, ½ teaspoon of ghee and ½ teaspoon of honey do not weigh the same, so that would be okay.
3. Antiseptic and Antibacterial
Honey, particularly manuka honey, stops the growth of bacteria and can treat staph infections (MRSA) even when antibiotics are not successful. It also suppresses inflammation and stimulates immune responses that are necessary for tissue production in wound repair.
4. Honey Has No Side Effects
Unlike pharmaceuticals, honey has zero side effects. Although it is acidic in nature, honey has an alkaline-forming effect on all body types. It is therefore safe for all to use.
5. Honey Has a Forever Shelf Life
Honey is most beneficial after it is one year old. It is highly acidic and therefore does not have an environment that is conducive to mold or bacterial growth. Even if honey becomes crystallized over time, you can warm and re-melt it for further use.
Honey does not go bad due to its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. That means you can feel comfortable to use even an old jar of honey. Some Egyptian tombs that were opened contained jars of honey that were thousands of years old. And the honey still looked fine! Although I doubt anyone tasted it…
6. Honey is Good for Digestion
Honey contains enzymes that are good for digestion and aid in metabolizing of carbohydrates and sugars. That is helpful for all body types and does not promote weight gain. Honey is also good for healing bacteria that causes gastritis.
7. Eating Honey Can Treat Insomnia and Anxiety
Drinking a mild tea of honey and warm water can help treat insomnia. Honey is soothing and, therefore, can help to treat anxiety.
8. Honey and Milk for Stomach Ulcers
Drinking a small cup of slightly heated (until warm) honey and milk is effective in treating stomach ulcers.
9. Protection against Seasonal Allergies
Hay fever and asthma can be treated by eating locally produced raw honey. A little bit of honey taken daily either with food, mixed with warm water or by the ½ teaspoonful is very helpful over time.
10. Aids in Weight Loss
Honey is naturally warming to the body, which is useful in stimulating metabolism for those wanting to lose weight.
Take warm water with a little bit of honey in the morning on an empty stomach as a tonic. This is great for improving digestion through strengthened metabolism.
Raw Organic Honey
I always make a point to seek out raw organic honey from a local beekeeper who runs a small business. For example, someone who sells his own honey and bee products at a local farmers market would be my first choice. Raw honey is the purest form of honey that is available.
Raw Organic Honey Characteristics:
- Nectar collected from areas that are verified to be free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
- Honey has not been heated to 104 F
- Honey has not been pasteurized
- Honey should be directly taken from the comb, with minimal straining and may even contain bits of pollen, bee parts and comb wax.
Health Remedy Recipes Using Honey
There are literally hundreds of uses for honey, here are just a top few:
- For Anemia: Mix 1-2 teaspoons of fresh turmeric juice (or ½ teaspoon of ground dried turmeric powder) with a little honey to make a paste and take daily.
- For Weight Loss: Drink green tea, flavored with honey and lemon. This mixture boosts metabolism, as honey carries nutrients and the antioxidants of green tea deep into tissues.
- For Cough Treatment: Make honey tea by mixing a little honey with warm water. Drink as much as needed to relieve cough and sore throat.
- For Wounds or Mild Burns: Gently clean the area of dirt or debris and add a thin layer of honey to a bandage. Tape the bandage into place and leave for several hours. Remove and change the bandage, checking to make sure that the wound/burn is healing and not becoming more infected (at least every 12-24 hours).
- For Smooth and Supple Skin: You can make an amazing face mask of avocado and honey by mixing two tablespoons of mashed avocado with 1 tablespoon of honey. Spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes, then gently wash off.
- For Blemishes and to Decrease Wrinkles: Mix the equal parts of the juice of one tomato and honey. Spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off. With repeated use this will diminish redness, heal blemishes, tighten pores and tighten skin.
So, there you have it! Now you know why we say honey is one of the first superfoods. I truly hope that you enjoy all that amazing honey has to offer.
Thank you for reading! If this post has piqued your interest… or if you find it useful, inspiring or otherwise magical, please pin it and share it… And we’re always happy to hear from you via the Contact page.