Honey has been touted for ages as a health food. Made by a regurgitation of nectar, spit, and goodness, it feeds the entire colony of bees in which it was made. It’s no secret how delicious it is.
However, honey is magical. Seriously, what I use to dip my chicken nuggets with is a never-rotting, disease-fighting,
baby-preserving (NSFW), bacteria-killing, wound-healing miracle substance. It genuinely blows my mind.
Records of the human consumption of honey date back as far as 21st century BC, being documented in the cuneiform writings of Babylon and in biblical times, even naming Palestine as the “land of milk and honey”. It was said to be used as currency, once as highly valued as the status of those who could afford it. Primitive practitioners, such as Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) and Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC), would also use it’s healing properties to aide your ailments of varying severities. Well, if you were around back then, I’m sure that’s one of the best options you had.
However, in today’s hustle bustle one-pill-fits-all world, such a simple compound has gone largely unnoticed, garnering attention only as alternative medicine, not quite making it into mainstream. To add to it’s confusion, the positive effects are very well-documented and are far from outlandish.
Let’s get started.
What are the nutritional benefits of honey?
For starters, despite it’s overtly obvious sweetness, it is not sugar. It is made of over one hundred different compounds, all of which have enough sustenance to support life in this form.
It has vitamins, minerals, amino acids (18 to 20 of them!), and loads of other things that I’m not-so-sure that we know. Not every bee nor flower is unique and there are numerous blends of honey on the market. It is a heart stimulant, a cholesterol killer, and has an interesting property as an inverse syrup, meaning that it is instant energy for those who may need it. It makes for quite a rich nutritional profile (PDF, pg 469) and is a much safer alternative to those horrible sugar-substitutes. The invulnerable Livestrong also recognizes these benefits, even going so far as to state that it is the right thing for diabetics to use as opposed to sugar. They go on to add that it allows for much better blood glucose control and has an anchor spot on the glycemic index, not causing your metabolism to spike erratically. Otherwise, it could ruin your appetite or cloud your mind – especially if you’re sensitive to sugar.
What are the medicinal benefits of honey?
Remember how I stated that honey doesn’t go bad? That it kills bacteria? Well, that’s absolutely true! Honey is an anti-microbial due to it’s low water content, oxidizing qualities, and high acidity level. Also, due to a lovely compound called Methyglyoxal, it is able to snuff out bacteria and resist the spread of disease and germs.
In fact, modern medicine has commercialized bandages made entirely out of honey due to these qualities. Studies have shown that honey applied topically causes healing time to shorten on wounds, ulcers, and burns – as much as four days sooner in some cases! When traditional bandages don’t work, honey steps in.
Seasonal allergy sufferers may also have a case for honey. Although there has yet to be a peer-reviewed study on the matter, it has been shown anecdotally and via small-scale research that locally-obtained honey will gradually eliminate the immunoresponse to allergens in the air. It’s amazing how simple of a concept it is: since bees obtain the pollen from floral sources near where you live (which causes typical allergy symptoms in most sufferers), ingesting their honey will slowly build up your resistance towards those irritants. Has your mind been blown yet?
If one had unlimited resources and a considerable amount of free time, I could spend hours writing about the benefits of honey. One might think you’re crazy to believe that such an innocuous substance like the spit of a honey bee could provide us with such benefits, but the data tells the story. I didn’t even dive into the more traditional benefits like cough treatment, skin care, and the like. I strongly encourage you, Wonder Reader, to dive more into the matter and discover what lies beneth this magical sweet substance.
And your Lord inspired the bee(s), saying: “Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. (68) Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you).” There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for mankind. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think. -Qu’ran (16:68-69)
Further Reading and Major Data Sources: