RAW HONEY: DAILY HEALTH BENEFITS, MEDICINAL VALUE & NUTRITIONAL FACT………….DANGERS & COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
Raw honey is that sweet thick yellowish substance that is produced by bees. This common kitchen ingredient has a lot of medicinal benefits as we shall get to know about in this article. For one, it is usual to use honey as a substitute for sugar. This and many more are some of the uses of honey, which has been used since ancient times as it was mentioned even in the Bible.
The honey-making process
Honeys are made by bees (we’ve already stated that), but not many people know how the bees produce this highly cherished product.
According to scientists, thousands of bees traversing more than a million flowers are involved in the honey-making process. The flowers contain nectar which is necessary for the production of honey; the bees store the nectar in one of their stomachs. Inside this stomach, the nectar combines with enzymes and is then retched into the mouth of some other bee.
The above process goes on and on until there is a partial digestion of the nectar which is then stored in a honeycomb – the hexagonal beeswax structure that bees store the honey. Inside the honeycomb, the liquid nectar is processed into honey after several other processes.
Nutritional facts about raw honey
Before we dive in and look at the health benefits of this wonderful staple, it wouldn’t be out of place to first take a look at some nutritional facts about honey.
Raw honey is a mixed bag of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, B vitamins, carbohydrates, and calories. Raw honey is used for medicinal purposes due to the presence of polyphenols that help to boost the body’s immune system.
Honey is used as an alternative to sugar because the most part of honey is made of carbohydrates, which are mostly natural sugars.
The presence of these vitamins and minerals gives honey its medicinal properties including helping to fight bacterial and fungal infections as well as in providing instant energy.
Though there are more facts about honey, but for this article, we’ll have to stop here so as to continue with the main focus which is the health benefits.
Health benefits of raw honey
A source of essential vitamins and minerals: From the nutritional information of honey we see that honey contains lot of vital nutrients needed by the body. Minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium which are important to the body are found in honey; also, honey contains vitamins like the B vitamins and vitamin C.
- Promotes sleep
A lack of sleep can be the result of a stressful lifestyle and can lead to various health conditions. Consumption of honey helps to stimulate the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) by promoting the release of insulin, which in turn activates serotonin – the base material for melatonin. The production of melatonin helps to promote night sleep while an underproduction leads to insomnia. Therefore, instead of popping those sleeping pills before bedtime, take a teaspoon of honey to do the trick.
- Good for the eyes
Researches have proven that the application of honey to the eyelid can help to cure several eye diseases. For this purpose, diluting honey with water in a 50:50 ratio is recommended and a particular type of raw honey, Manuka honey is considered most effective. Just to add, the Indians have long discovered this secret as they are the first to treat eye diseases using honey.
- Good for the hair
Applying honey to the hair and scalp helps to keep the hair moisturized; thus, preventing hair problems like dandruff. Moreover, this application also makes the hair to feel soft and gives it an enviable sheen. To treat dandruff using honey, dilute the honey with water and apply on the scalp; rinse the hair after some hours.
- Good for the heart
Raw honey help to regulate the body’s cholesterol level, thereby, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- For prevention of allergies
Natural allergies against grass and pollen can be prevented by consuming raw honey. Apart from the prevention, raw honey can also help to alleviate allergies. The presence of small amounts of pollen in raw honey helps to create a tolerance to pollen when consumed.
- For sore throat and cough
Sore throat and cough can be the symptoms of some health conditions such as flu. Drinking a teaspoon of raw honey helps to soothe the irritation associated with sore throat as well as in fighting off any microorganisms that contributes to the condition. It is believed, by experts, that the thickness of honey is what helps to soothe the throat to reduce coughing.
Cough syrup can be prepared using a combination of raw honey, marshmallow root, cinnamon powder, ginger root, and pure water. Mixing the mixture in a pot to boil, strain and allow to cool then pour in an air-tight container.
- For wounds and burns
Raw honey has been used for the treatment of wounds and burns since ancient times as far back as in ancient Egypt. A report by the British Journal of Surgery showed that topical application of honey to leg ulcer patients produced a 98% result effectiveness.
- Improves libido
Lack of sexual urge or libido can cause strains in relationships. While there are many remedies for this health problem, you wouldn’t go wrong if you decide to use honey. Raw honey is known to be a natural aphrodisiac – any substance that stimulates sexual desire – and thus, can be very effective in mending your already strained relationship. For this purpose, you will need to add honey to your daily diet.
- To lower blood sugar
Although honey is a natural sweetener as it is made of mostly sugars, it is still healthy to the body and helps to reduce high blood sugar levels. A 2014 report showed that honey can increase the body’s insulin levels without increasing the blood sugar levels. So, if you are hyperglycemic, you can derive a lot of benefits from honey. A word of caution though, taking too much honey with medication to reduce high blood sugar can result in hypoglycemia.
- For stomach problems
Gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea and gastritis can be treated by ingesting honey. Honey is effective in treating such diseases due to its antimicrobial properties. Besides, honey can stimulate the repair of damaged tissues in the intestines and stomach due to such diseases.
- For oral health
Mouth problems due to bacterial infection or a poor hygiene such as plaque and gum disease can be treated using honey. This is because of the antibacterial property of raw honey. This makes honey a great alternative to mouthwash.
- To boost the immune system
To ward off infections and diseases, the immune system needs to be strong enough. A regular consumption of raw honey can help to strengthen the immune system due to the antioxidants found in honey. Honey is also a good detoxifier and can help in cleansing the body of harmful chemical substances.
- Raw honey is a natural energy source
We already pointed out that raw honey is mostly carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are mainly in the form of sugars (fructose and glucose) and are readily absorbed into the body releasing instant energy. This can come in handy for people who have are physically active such as athletes. Even more, honey also helps in sustaining muscle collagen, which is a form of carbohydrates that the body can use when needed.
- Good for the skin
Skin problems such as acne and sagging skin due to aging can be treated using honey. You can get rid of that persistent acne by adding honey to your diet or by applying it topical to the affected areas and subsequently washing it after some minutes. Other skin conditions such as eczema can also benefit from the use of honey.
- A remedy for hangovers
Hangovers can be debilitating as they can make your whole day useless. The accompanying headaches during a hangover can be relieved by consuming honey. Honey is helpful in this scenario due to the fact that it contains fructose, which is needed to process the excess alcohol in the body. As a result, the intoxication is rapidly reduced and your head becomes clear.
- To control appetite
Honey helps to lower the level of leptin in the body. Leptin is a hormone that controls your appetite, determining when you are hungry or not. Your voracious appetite can be as a result of high leptin levels in your body, thus, taking a teaspoonful of honey can help to control this instability.
- For cancer prevention and treatment
Raw honey has been found to have cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing properties. While some persons may be double-minded about this as it is a fact that cancer cells thrive on sugars; the case is different with honey. Honey contains flavonoids and phenols such as elegiac acid, ferulic acid, and gallic acid, which gives it its cancer-fighting capabilities. Thus, the consumption of raw honey is a natural and quick way of treating cancers as well as in preventing the formation and spread of cancer cells.
Risks and side effects of using raw honey
Doubtless, honey is beneficial to the body in several ways; but, like with some other natural products, moderation in use is important. This means that you should take honey in moderate amounts to enjoy its many benefits.
Diabetics should consult with their doctors to know how much honey they should take. This is because honey contains fructose and glucose which are sugars, albeit they are natural forms.
While this article has briefly detailed some of the health benefits of using raw honey, there are bound to be cases where the effect may not be immediate or non-existent at all. So, if you don’t start seeing some benefits don’t worry.
In conclusion, make sure that you get your honey from local stores as there are many processed, adulterated versions which may not offer the same benefits as the raw, unprocessed version.