Everybody loves the thick, syrupy sweetness of honey. But did you know that it's also good for you?
Honey has a long history. The Ancient Greeks were the first beekeepers. They revered the golden liquid as "mortal man's nectar," considered it the food of the gods, and used it extensively in religious rituals, cooking, beauty products, and medicine. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, highly recommended honey for its nutritional and medicinal properties. The Ancient Greek naturalist Theophrastus claimed that honey had "a calming effect on elephants, eunuchs, parrots, and temperamental cooks."
Apitherapy refers to the therapeutic use of honey. Over the course of history, honey has been used as a remedy for indigestion, insomnia, anxiety and stress, headaches, coughs and colds, generalized weakness and fatigue, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and skin wounds.
Here are a few recommended uses for honey:
Need to relax? Just mix a small amount of honey and lavender oil together and add it to your bath water.
To relieve a sore throat, mix honey, lemon, and black pepper together. For a cough or other minor respiratory complaint, add a small amount of freshly-chopped thyme.
Looking for a natural hair conditioner? Mix honey and olive oil together, massage it into your hair, and leave it in for a minute or two. Then thoroughly wash your hair.
Apply a small amount of honey to a minor cut or abrasion and cover with a sterile dressing. Honey contains inhibine, a substance known to kill germs and prevent infection. Before the invention of antibiotics, honey poultices were used on wounded soldiers on the battlefield during both World Wars.
Due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant microbes, honey is making a comeback as an effective treatment for wounds.
Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany have been using medi-honey as an alternative to antibiotics to treat serious wounds. They have discovered that dead tissue sloughs off sooner, and healthy tissue regenerates more quickly. Dressings don't stick to the wounds, and the honey helps to reduce foul odors. Medi-honey does not produce resistance to microbes and effectively kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA.
An enzyme called glucose-oxidase allows small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to be produced from the sugars in honey. This kills infection-causing germs without damaging healthy tissue. Chronic wounds, such as diabetic ulcers, have been found to heal in a few weeks using medi-honey.
Two dozen hospitals in Germany are now using medi-honey in their wound care programs.
Dawn Pisturino, RN
June 13, 2007
Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All rights reserved.