Honey is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that it received it’s own 30 day period – National Honey Month – in the US. Bees are geniuses, eh?
So honey, the 100% all natural sweetener, is one of nature’s wonders with around one million tons of the stuff produced each year. Legend has it that humans have had a long lasting love affair with the thick amber liquid since ancient Egyptian times, and possibly even earlier.
The Romans used it to heal their wounds and as a form of currency; medieval lords were greedy and stashed it for themselves; our friends in Egypt sacrificed a bunch of the stuff to their river gods; and apparently the body of Alexander The Great was embalmed in amber liquid. And being that historical figures were laid to rest in honey, the average person back in the day wasn’t exactly able to afford a lot of it so it was predominantly used in cooking (for the wealthy, of course) but it was also quite commonly utilized to make mead (an early form of beer) and honey wine, which is the world’s oldest fermented beverage.
Once we learned how to take sugar cane and refine their sweet, sweet juice, this much cheaper option was widely used in place of honey as a sweetener and in cooking, with the nectar of the bees moving more into the realms of medicinal purposes and for gourmet food and confectionary production.
Aside from the list below, some of the medical uses for honey includes treating acne, arthritis, bad breath, burns, diabetes, gum disease, hair loss, heartburn, insomnia, stress and even yeast infections. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the other non-medicinal benefits, of which honey has a ton. Did you want more beautiful, shinier hair? No problem – coat the ends with a bit of honey, let it sit then rinse it out to leave it feeling extra conditioned. The perfect party canapé? Easy – take some goat cheese, add some chopped walnuts and honey, bake it until it’s soft and you have an impressive hors d’oeuvre that’ll impress the staunchest of party guests. Need a tasty yet inexpensive salad dressing? We got you – add honey to pretty much anything to give it a natural sweetness that is both a benefit to your health and your taste buds.
And did you know that the shelf life of honey is around 3000 years? That’s quite a bit longer than the average carton of milk.
So next time you see a honey bee flying by, show that little fella some respect as he goes about his business. He’s busy creating something incredible.
10. Lip Balm
Ever had cracked lips? Are you currently using the $10 brand of lip balm from the drug store? Well, overspend no more! You can make a simple lip balm from honey, beeswax and almond oil. The oil and the wax help it all stay together, and the honey gives it some flavour. This is most definitely a better option than all those chemicals you’re putting all over your mouth.
9. Clears up dry elbows
This is a weird one. We all get dry skin from time to time, but the skin around our joints is exceptionally finicky when it comes to moisture. Once you’ve washed and scrubbed your skin (exfoliating helps), just apply some honey to your dry elbows, let it sit for around half an hour, and then wash it off. Voila! No more dryness!
8. Bubble bath
Who doesn’t love a long, hot bath? Well, our friend honey is here to help improve your time in the tub. Once you’ve run the water, add a few tablespoons of honey (adjust to your liking) to give you a sweeter smelling, extra relaxing and softer bathing experience. Surprise your other half with an all-natural honey bath and you’ll be in their good books all week.
Sure, honey can help keep your lips and elbows moist, but what about the rest of your body? Fret never, it can be done! If you have some great smelling herbs around the house, like lavender or pot pourri, you’re already halfway there. Take some honey and boil it in a saucepan until it’s of a liquid consistency. Grab a jar, pop in the herbs and pour in the honey. Use about one tablespoon of herbs for every eight ounces of honey. Cap the jar tightly, and let it marinate for around a week. Once it has soaked in properly, add one tablespoon of the honey and herb mixture to an eight-ounce bottle of unscented lotion and you’re good to go!
An alternative honey moisturizer recipe that doesn’t involve blending with regular lotion is just as simple. Mix four tablespoons of honey with a couple of egg whites and a few tablespoons of flour (adjust to achieve your desired consistency), and you’ve got yourself a hand and body lotion that can also be used as a face mask!
6. Armageddon preparations
Those who regularly watch “The Walking Dead” will have at least considered stocking up for the zombie apocalypse (don’t feel bad, we’ve all done it). One of the key elements in your bomb shelter has to be honey. As discussed earlier, it most definitely won’t go bad in your lifetime – just keep it in an airtight container and you’ll have no issues. But aside from that, honey has a ton of medicinal properties such as treating burns, easing stomach ulcers, soothing sore throats, reducing allergy symptoms, boosting energy (just mix with water and use in place of an energy drink), enhancing the effects of vitamin A on the body, preventing colon damage, it’s an antiseptic (it contains a good amount of hydrogen peroxide), it removes acne, improves blood flow (due to honey being rich in glucose) and on top of that it’s a great source of antioxidants to help prevent heart disease and cancer – not that these are at the top of your list of concerns during Armageddon.
5. Preserve fruit
In this day and age of the ubiquitous hipster, making your own jams is the epitome of cool. But how about you get one step ahead and start making your preserves with honey? Simply use one part honey to ten parts water (you can also add some cane juice so as not to overpower the flavour of the fruit), add it to a jar with the berries of your choice (raspberries and blackberries are best) and you’ll be the envy of Williamsburg/Shoreditch/Mile End/Fitzroy etc.
If you didn’t already know, honey is “a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties”, which basically means it will treat your skin so well that you’ll keep coming back. To help give your face the glow that the pressures of the world keep attempting to take away, you can use a simple honey wash by mixing one spoonful of honey into two tablespoons of warm water and slowly massage the mixture into your skin. If you want to step it up a bit, you can make a cucumber, honey and milk facial mask by gently blending some cucumber (don’t purée it, silly), then add it to the milk, honey and brown sugar mixture. Massage the lotion all over your face, leave it for half an hour then wash it off.
3. Remove parasites
Been traveling to a different part of the world and brought some unwanted friends back with you? No dramas, honey can help! Although this sounds pretty gross, blend honey, vinegar and water and drink it as soon as you’re aware you have parasites. Apparently the acidity in the vinegar and the therapeutic elements in the honey are enough to expel any bodily intruders. Drink as much as you can until you’re sure they’re gone, and most definitely see a doctor.
2. Hangover cure
Everyone has their own ‘sure fire’ cure for a hangover. One that’s a little more proven involves – you guessed it – honey! Add some honey to your toast; to a cup of tea; or just eat it straight out of the jar. The fructose will help metabolize the alcohol in your system, leaving you ready to go sooner rather than later! What’s not confirmed is if you add honey to your alcoholic beverage, whether that will pre-neutralize the hanger occurrence. There’s only one way to find out…
1. Weight Loss
Almost everybody has considered trying to lose weight at one time or another, and at this point it comes as no surprise that honey can potentially play a key role in your fitness regime. Before you get too excited, honey must be treated like any other part of your diet. If it meets your calorie allowance, then sure, use it to replace sugar and other sweeteners. A drink of warm water and honey before bed can help ease hunger, burn fat and stop those nasty sugar cravings. Honey also helps speed up your metabolism, allowing you to process food and nutrients faster. That said, everyone is different so please consult a physician/dietician/nutritionist before changing your diet. And of course, as with anything in life, moderation is key.