Honey: Three Reasons to Have it at Home
Honey has been used as a traditional remedy for coughs, colds and burns for a long time. Scientists have investigated the efficacy of honey as a natural remedy and have found that it is an effective remedy for small ailments, and that it may also have cancer fighting properties.
What is honey made of?
Honey is usually made by bees and some species of wasps when they collect and store nectar that is rich in glucose and fructose. Generally, bees partially digest the nectar before storing it as a honeycomb. The honeycomb is let unsealed until all the water content evaporates to prevent fermentation, and is then sealed for storage.
For human consumption and use, honey is extracted from the honeycombs, strained for debris, and then sold as either raw honey or after it has been pasteurised, or in other forms. Honey is mostly made of sugars, and has no essential nutritional content .
If it’s mostly sugar, why is honey good for health?
Well, specific applications of honey can actually help you stay healthy, while others are to be avoided. Having too much honey will just end up exposing you to too much sugar, so honey must only be consumed moderately.
1) Honey to heal wounds
One study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine in 2011 claims that honey is effective as a balm for wounds due to its anti-microbial activity and its physical properties . Honey tends to keep the site of a wound moist and warm, and the high viscosity creates a protective layer over the site.
The antimicrobial activity, attributed by some studies to the production of hydrogen peroxide and other to the high volume of sugar, keeps the site from getting infected, thus helping heal the wound .
Researchers at Lund University and Sophiahemmet University in Sweden have also discovered that lactic acid bacteria, present in fresh honey for the first few weeks, has been effective in treating MRSA and some types of E.coli. More advances in the field may be able to harness this to create antibiotic alternatives .
2) Honey to help prevent cancer
According to a study by Othman in 2012, honey can help prevent cancer . The study claims that honey is, amongst other things, an immune booster, an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-microbial agent, a cancer preventative, and a natural balm for ulcers and wounds.
While Othman does not lay out all the mechanisms through which honey prevents cancer, the study does explore cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest as possible preventative mechanisms.
3) Honey for coughs and colds
While exactly why honey helps a cough has never been proven scientifically, its antimicrobial and wound healing properties have been touted as possible causes. Nevertheless, according to the NHS, honey with lemon is as effective a remedy for a cough as over-the-counter cough medication