7 Surprising Benefits of Honey You’ve Probably Never Heard Before
Ah, honey. The sweet liquid gold is made from the nectar honey bees collect from flowers. It’s easy to see why honey has been used as a delicious sweetener for centuries. But did you know that there are countless health benefits to eating honey?
In honor of our new beta product, the Lion's Mane Honey Tincture, we wanted to do a fun little feature on honey and all its benefits to showcase its amazing properties!
A Quick History
Ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to recognize the health benefits of honey and they even placed great religious & spiritual reverence on the sweet nectar. Bees were even associated with royalty with a bee being a symbol of the King of Lower Egypt as early as 3500 BC. There exist many examples of bees, honey, & beekeepers in hieroglyphics records. In fact, beekeeping has been practiced in Egypt for thousands of years. Archeologists have even found pots of honey in Egyptian tombs that are still edible over 3,000 years later, potentially due in part to it's extreme anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties. (1)
Perhaps honey can pass on some of its longevity properties to us. Research suggests that the health benefits of honey are as sweet as its taste. Below we’ve listed the top 7 benefits of honey so you can have more reasons to enjoy it.
As you’re reading, keep in mind that not all honey is created equal. The majority of the honey you find at the grocery store is often heavily processed or corn syrup disguised as honey. When we talk about the health benefits of honey, we’re referring to organic, dark, unrefined honey.
1. Honey May Be Good For Your Dental Health
You’re probably wondering, “How can honey be good for your teeth if it’s mostly sugar?” It sounds counterintuitive, but the medicinal benefits of honey can actually help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. (2)
Honey naturally contains hydrogen peroxide that combats bacteria on your teeth and gum line.(3) In one study, researchers measured the dental plaque bacterial counts on orthodontic patients before and after chewing honey. They found that honey significantly reduced bacteria counts and inhibited the growth of bacteria. (2)
If you’re concerned about cavities but still need to fulfill your sweet tooth, honey may be a great alternative to white sugar. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that honey is still a form of sugar and should be used in moderation.
2. Honey Promotes Burn and Wound Healing
Ancient Egyptians were some of the first people to use honey topically as a burn and wound treatment. A practice that is still common today. Manuka honey from New Zealand has even been approved by the FDA as an option to treat wounds. (4)
Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers believe that this is why it’s able to treat wounds so effectively. (5) In one study, honey was used to significantly reduce the size of wounds or completely heal wounds for 86.6% of patients. (6) In another study, honey healed an astounding 97% of patients with diabetic ulcers. (7)
The medicinal benefits of honey have been found most effective for treating second-degree burns and wounds that have become infected after surgery. (8) Astonishingly, honey has been used to successfully treat burn wounds when conventional treatments failed. (9)
3. Honey is High In Antioxidants
Oxidative stress is damaging to your cells and can lead to early aging along with a wide range of diseases. Fortunately, one benefit of eating honey is that it’s high in antioxidants which help fight oxidative stress. (10)
If you’re looking for a healthier sweetener, honey may be a favorable option. It has been shown to help protect your body from oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant activity in your plasma. (11) In particular, buckwheat honey has been shown to create the most antioxidant activity in your bloodstream. (12)
4. Honey Can Help Suppress Coughs
Having a cough can be miserable. It can keep you up at night and disrupt your day, diminishing your quality of life. Conventional medications sometimes fail to provide relief and can have side effects. Interestingly, the medicinal uses of honey are very effective for coughs and might be a better option. (13,14)
Evidence indicates that honey may be better than some cough medicines. In one study, honey performed better than two conventional cough medications. (15) It may be able to help you sleep better when you have a cough as well. (16)
Honey can be an effective cough suppressant. But please note that honey can cause botulism in infants and should never be given to children under the age of one. (17)
5. Honey May Be Good For Your Heart
High LDL or “bad” cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. It also plays a role in the fatty build-up in your arteries which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Some fascinating studies have demonstrated that one benefit of eating honey is it may improve your cholesterol levels. It lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol while simultaneously boosting “good” HDL cholesterol. (18, 19, 20, 21)
In one study, 55 patients swapped their white table sugar for honey. This simple substitution led to a 5.8% decrease in LDL and a 3.8% increase in HDL cholesterol. The patients also lost a small amount of weight. (22)
6. Honey May Be Good For Your Skin
If you want a natural solution for a healthy, glowing complexion, you might want to consider lathering your face in honey. Medicinal uses of honey can treat common skin conditions and keep your face looking fresh.
Honey benefits skin health because it is a natural humectant (which means it attracts moisture) and antioxidant. Both of these qualities help keep skin soft, moisturized, and looking younger longer. (23)
Bacteria on your skin can contribute to annoying pimples and acne. Since honey is antibacterial and can kill a vast amount of bacteria. Therefore, using it on your face might help reduce breakouts. (24)
Honey may help treat other skin conditions as well. It has effectively been used to treat atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and herpes lesions. (25,26,27)
7. Honey Might Make You Smarter
Honey doesn’t only keep your skin youthful, it can keep your brain youthful as well. Several studies suggest that honey has nootropic properties and can prevent early cognitive aging. (28)
A few studies examined the benefits of honey on animals. They found that honey improved spatial memory and reduced anxiety in rodents. Some researchers believe that this is evidence that honey may be able to reduce memory loss and cognitive decline in humans as well. (28)
The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. High-quality honey is full of antioxidants that can help protect against oxidative stress. This can help preserve brain cell structure and enhance cognitive performance. (28,29)
In fact, one study demonstrated that eating a tablespoon of honey may help prevent dementia in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. (29)
Final Thoughts on Eating Honey
The benefits of honey are seemingly endless. It’s no wonder that the sweet, liquid gold has been a household staple for thousands of years. The medicinal uses of honey are as vast as its culinary uses.
There are countless medicinal benefits to eating honey. It can help your wounds and burns heal faster, suppress a nasty cough, it may even protect your teeth from cavities. It’s amazing how honey can, literally, benefit your body from head to toe.
So if you’re looking for a natural remedy for common ailments, consider eating more honey. In moderation of course...(or not, we won't tell) and if you want to combine the synergy of mushrooms and honey, give our new Lion's Mane Honey Tincture product a shot!