I’ve always been a fan of honey, especially when spread on top of a warm piece of my mom’s English Muffin Bread. ;-) But recently I’ve realized that its delicious flavor is just one of many things worth loving about honey! In fact, people have used honey for a variety of health and beauty applications for thousands of years. Civilizations including the ancient Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, and Romans all took advantage of the various benefits of honey, just to name a few!
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing some of the best health and beauty benefits of honey with you, complete with suggestions for how to use it. I think that by the end of this post, you’ll walk away with a much more substantial appreciation of honey! (And, of course, for the hard-working honeybees that make it! :-)
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9 Health & Beauty Benefits Of Honey
1. More Energy
Feeling sluggish? The natural sugars in honey can provide an all-natural energy boost! A 2002 study at the University of Memphis showed that cyclists who ingested honey during a race finished faster than those in the control group. Honey provides your body with a source of available carbohydrates it can use for a quick energy boost.
2. Improved Sleep
Eating a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get a good night’s sleep. The natural sugars in honey raise insulin levels slightly, which allows the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan to enter your brain and work its magic.
3. Fewer Allergy Symptoms
Honey is believed to have some anti-inflammatory qualities, which may be helpful in controlling allergy symptoms. It is also believed that eating raw, local honey may be particularly helpful for seasonal allergy sufferers. Local honey contains small amounts of local pollen, which may help your body build up an immunity to that pollen if eaten regularly.
4. Treats Minor Wounds
Honey has an antibacterial effect, and it has been growing in popularity as a treatment for shallow wounds like cuts, scrapes, and skin irritation. After cleaning the wound with water, dab a thin layer of honey onto the wound and cover it with a bandage.
5. Boosts Immunity
According to a 2009 review, honey is rich in phenolic acids and other antioxidants that can protect against damage from free radicals, which are known to contribute to aging and certain diseases. The antioxidants in honey may also help protect against heart disease, inflammatory disorders, and neurological degeneration.
6. Moisturizes Skin
Honey acts as a humectant when applied to skin, meaning it helps your skin attract and retain moisture. One of my personal favorite skin treatments that features honey is my all-natural moisturizing facial cleanser. Get the recipe for that at the link below!
7. Banishes Blemishes
Thanks to honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, it makes a great treatment for blemishes! It helps fight bacteria, while also reducing redness and irritation. To use it, simply use a cotton swab to apply a bit of honey to the blemish. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse clean.
8. Adds Shine To Hair
Remember earlier when I said honey was a humectant? In addition to being great for skin, you can also use honey to achieve healthier, shinier hair! Just follow the instructions below for a moisturizing honey hair treatment.
Start by mixing 1/2 cup of honey with 1/4 cup of olive oil. (Those with oily hair should use less olive oil, about 2 tablespoons or so.) Work the oil and honey mixture into your hair a little at a time until it is evenly coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then remove the shower cap and wash your hair as usual for healthy, shiny hair!
9. Makes A Luxurious Bath Soak
Adding honey to your bathwater makes for a relaxing soak that leaves feeling soft and moisturized! Add 1 cup of your favorite carrier oil, 1/2 cup of honey, 1 cup of milk, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to a squeeze bottle. Shake well to mix, then squeeze about half of the mixture into your hot bathwater. (Store the rest in the fridge to use later.)
Bonus Tip: Choosing The Right Honey
When buying a honey to use for health and/or beauty reasons, you can’t go wrong with a raw, locally-produced honey. Some honey producers also offer unfiltered honey, which is packed with pollen, bits of honeycomb, and other good stuff that other producers filter out. If you’re using honey just for health applications (like treating wounds, etc.), you may want to consider using manuka honey. It’s quite a bit more expensive than regular honey, but it also contains additional healing qualities that other honeys don’t. (You can read more about the benefits of manuka honey here.)
Have you ever used honey for health or beauty reasons?