29 Aug Honey for all Seasons and all Reasons
Legend has it that Cupid dipped his love arrows in honey before aiming at unsuspecting lovers, and since honey was valued highly and often used as a form of currency, tribute, or offering this Don Juan sure knew what he was doing. Honey is in fact as old as written history, dating back to 2100 B.C. where it was mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code, and the sacred writings of India and Egypt. It is presumably even older than that.
Honey is an organic, natural sugar alternative with no additives that is easy on the stomach, adapts to all cooking processes, has an indefinite shelf-life and a string of benefits as long at least as the great wall of China. A list so long and so widespread that I’ve taken great pains to narrow it down with only the juiciest bits of information – no matter what you think you know about honey, there is still more to learn!
Honey for Your Health…
- Honey has the ability to destroy bacteria which cause fungal infections such as yeast infections and toe nail fungus, because it contains glucose oxidase which has the ability to break down glucose into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. It is the slow release of hydrogen peroxide on damp skin which kills the bacteria causing the problems in the first place. To treat any bacterial or yeast infections, simply pour the honey onto the affected area for 20 minutes – yes even for the more private infections. A warm bath afterwards will clean the honey.
- Honey’s antiseptic properties also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and helps keep external wounds clean and free from infection. Honey has been used as a natural cure in first aid treatment for wounds, burns and cuts as it is able to absorb moisture from the air and promote healing. Its antibacterial properties prevent infection and functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, reducing both swelling and pain, and even scarring. For sore throats, take a spoonful of honey to soothe the inflammation or gargle with a mixture of two tablespoons of honey, four tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- A great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue of athletes. The glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly and gives an immediate energy boost, while the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. It is known that honey has also been found to keep levels of blood sugar fairly constant compared to other types of sugar. So, before your next workout, take a spoonful of honey to enable you to go the extra mile. Also, if you are feeling low and lethargic in the morning, instead of reaching out for a cup of coffee try a spoonful of honey in your tea or on your toast.
- Honey is genuinely a very powerful immune system booster. Honey’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight disease. Start every brand new day with this cleansing tonic if you want to see this health benefit of honey: before breakfast, mix a spoonful of honey and lemon juice from half a lemon into a cup of warm water and drink it.
- Honey does not cure cancer but what many people don’t think enough of or have overlooked is – honey possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties. According to the book Honey Revolution by Dr Ron Fessenden, scientists have found floral flavonoids in honey. These tiny traces of bioflavonoids, generally known as antioxidants, have powerful influences when entered into the body’s cells. When ingested, they immediately increase the antioxidant levels within cells, “decrease capillary permeability and fragility. They scavenge oxidants and inhibit the destruction of collagen in the body”. In other words, honey effectively remove the free radicals from the body, thereby improving the immune system.
- Honey can do wonders for a hangover. It is gentle on the stomach and contains a mix of natural sugars such fructose which is known to speed up the oxidation of alcohol by the liver, acting as a ‘sobering’ agent. Mix 15ml of liquid honey with 80ml of orange juice and 70ml of natural yogurt. Blend them together until smooth.
- Although honey contains more calories than sugar, when consumed with warn water, honey can help digest the fat stored in the body, thereby assisting in weight loss.
- Honey will also cure scalp infections, bacterial eye infections, is used in hospitals on wounds after operations, will kill off MRSA and e-coli. The medical benefits of honey are amazing and endless but thankfully are being recognised once again.
- Eating honey local to your area that has NOT been blended with honey from other areas will boost your immunity to hayfever. The opposite can unfortunately also be said for eating honey that is blended.
Honey for your Skin…
- Since it is only made with natural ingredients honey is very rich in nutrients which benefit the skin as well as our health. It contains healthy vitamins like vitamin B and C, minerals and amino acids. These key ingredients are known for benefiting the skin helping it stay nourished and healthy.
- Honey is a great ingredient because it doesn’t only act as an antibacterial it acts as a moisturizer as well, hydrating and softening the skin. This is because honey is a humectant which means it attracts and preserves water. This is one of the reasons that honey has been found to be so effective in treating eczema.
- Because it acts as an antibacterial substance it is beneficial for acne prone skin. Honey will inhibit the bacteria growth therefore reducing the chance of breakouts. Apply raw honey with clean fingers to spots and leave on the skin for 20 minutes before removing with warm water.
- The antioxidants found in honey benefit the skin and prevent it from premature aging effects.
Check out South Africa’s most loved range of honey based products
Baking with Honey? You’ll Treasure these Tips…
- To help that honey slide smoothly from your measuring utensils, simply lightly coat the utensil with a vegetable spray before measuring the honey.
- Unless the recipe calls for sour milk or cream, some cooks add the merest pinch of baking soda to the recipes of baked goods to counteract the slight acidity of the honey which may cause overbrowning.
- Since it has the ability to absorb and retain moisture, honey is used in the industry to keep baked goods moist and fresh. Use honey in baked goods you plan to mail to keep them bakery-fresh.
To benefit from the healing properties of honey, raw honey must be used that is neither blended; radiated or heated. We recommend the following brands of honey – all are as close to the beehive as one can get:
Honeystix (Pack of 10)
Weskus Cellars Choice Grade
Weskus Cellars Choice Grade
Lalibela Natural Raw Honey