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January 14, 2009
Honey is one of the most useful and valuable natural remedies for a great number of health problems. It has a unique pleasant taste and for centuries it has been helping the humanity in combating various diseases and ailments. In Ancient Greece, honey was used for its remarkable anti-bacterial, anti-viral and wound-healing properties. Apitherapy, or treatment with honey bee products, has many therapeutic effects on our body and mind. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-allergic, expectorant, cancer-preventing, relaxing, sedative, to name a few, are the main healing properties of such products. And, according to many specialists, the main advantage of honey as an effective natural remedy is the absence of serious side effects (allergies and other negative reactions of the body are possible mainly in the case of overdose).
Honey is a beautiful sweet golden liquid rich in nutrients, antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. It has a special natural composition, including such minerals and elements as magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, sodium, potassium, iodine, sulfur, manganese and chlorine, Vitamins E, D, C, K, Vitamin A and betacarotene, B-group Vitamins, folic acid, caffeic acid and other organic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, hydrogen peroxide and many others. Some people try to avoid eating honey believing that it is a very caloric food which can cause extra weight gain. However, 1 teaspoon of a high-quality honey has only 25-30 calories, and honey has a property to be converted easily into energy causing no extra fat storage. Eating 50-100 g of honey a day allows everyone to enjoy the healing benefits of this magic food.
According to the findings and results of recent studies and researches, presented a year ago at the First International Symposium on Honey and Human Health, honey is valued, first of all, for its anti-microbial activity. Australian scientists discovered that 2-16% honey solutions are effective against a broad variety of fungi and bacteria. Honey is an excellent remedy for healing wounds, burns, insect bites and skin diseases, as it can deprive the bacteria from air and water it needs to thrive, resulting in diminishing the activity of viruses. Honey improves our immune system, stabilizes hemoglobin levels and boosts the capacity of our body to regenerate damaged cells.
In folk medicine, honey is also known for its positive effects on our respiratory system and for its capacity to relief cough and symptoms of cold. This property was researched by the specialists from Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania, who studied the the effects of honey as a cough suppressant. This group of researchers also reported about very good properties of honey as a sleep stimulator. An experienced pharmacist Mike Mclnnes presented the results of his research, showing that eating a little of honey before going to sleep can stimulate the function of sleep through creating glycogen stores in our liver, necessary for our brain, and relieving metabolic stress in our body.
Besides, small doses of honey can be used by diabetes patients as a safe natural sweetener. Specialists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service Beltsville have been studying human body’s tolerance to honey, which proved to be better than tolerance to glucose or sucrose. A group of experts from the University of Waiketo (New Zealand) was studying the effects of honey on anxiety, memory and weight gain. According to Dr. Nicola Starkey, regular consumption of honey can assist in weight management, improve HDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lower oxidative damage, decrease anxiety and have positive effects on human memory. Finally, the abundance of antioxidants containing in honey make this food a source of beauty, youth and vigor.
Now, we can see that honey is not just a sweetener. It has scientifically proven nutritional and medicinal benefits. It can provide us with a variety of vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients and other useful elements, improve our skin and immune system, have positive effects on our liver and lower heart disease risk, help us to calm down, as well as give us a plenty of positive energy and boost our athletic performance. Mike Mclnnes says: “Honey is an intelligent food, an informed food, and it must be differentiated from other sweeteners“. Every morning, drink a glass of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of honey, and you will feel perfectly ready for starting a new day. Also, if you use honey as a sweetener for your morning tea, remember that honey loses the majority of its healing properties at the temperature over 60C, so before adding this beautiful source of perfect health into your cup of tea, wait until the beverage gets a little colder.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.