Honey collection is an ancient activity. Cave paintings in Spain which date back 8000 years, depict men gathering honey and honeycomb from a wild bee’ nest.
And don’t we still just love it when the bees are buzzing…..busy making their honey! But I was amazed to find how many sweet returns, in the form of health benefits, can result from using this amazing golden harvest of their labour!!
Here are just a few:
Cancer and heart disease: The flavonoids contained in honey can help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease by protecting blood vessels from rupture and protecting cells from oxygen damage. Besides these antioxidant properties, honey flavonoids may also prevent excessive inflammation throughout the body – thus being considered a cancer suppressant.
Consequently, honey treatment appears to help disorders such as Ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis: The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of honey have recently been highlighted by Researchers in New Zealand. This occurs as the bees add an enzyme to the honey which produces hydrogen peroxide.
Cough and throat irritation: Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep.
Healing wounds and burns: The external application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazine. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s anti-bacterial nature combine to create this effect.
Use as a Probiotic: Some varieties of honey possess large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifid bacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey.”
Regulating Blood sugar: Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some honeys have a low hypoglycaemic index, so they don’t jolt your blood sugar. In a similar vein, Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners.
Balancing the 5 elements: Honey been used in Ayurveda medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhoea, and nausea.
Honey is referred as “Yogavahi” since it has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissues of the body. When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.
The ancients called honey ‘molten gold’ and no doubt it possesses more health benefits, as yet unknown to science – so let’s enjoy this gift and protect our valuable bees.