Long before there were pharmacies selling vitamins and medication, nature provided many of the things that we needed to stay healthy and well. Honey is not only a delicious sweetener and alternative to granulated white sugar, but it contains many surprising health benefits. Honey is an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant.

Honey is at its freshest in the summer and fall.  It is the end result of a process that begins with the bees collecting the nectar from flowers in their mouths.  The nectar that they collect mixes with special enzymes that are in the bees’ saliva.  This mixing process creates honey.  The bees the n carry the honey back to their hive.  The honey is deposited into the cells on the wall of the hive.

Health Benefits of Honey

How beneficial honey is to your health depends on the quality and freshness of the honey.  Pollen can be collected from many different plants by the bees. Processing and heating the honey can remove the phytonutrients that are found in honey that comes direct from the hive (raw honey). Raw honey is the best type of honey to enjoy for health reasons.  If you are using honey in a recipe, you can choose local or otherwise.

Honey contains a variety of friendly bacterial which make it beneficial as not only a food but also used topically in salves and creams. Some studies have been done that show that consumption of honey may improve blood sugar control which is beneficial for both diabetics and athletes. Honey also contains flavonoids which help to reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

One of the ways I am most familiar using honey for health reasons is to heal wounds.  Honey has been used to help heal burns and wounds for centuries. Honey absorbs the water in the wound and helps dry it out at the same time inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi.

People have also been known to take honey to help with seasonal allergies. By eating local honey, you are ingesting much of the same pollen that causes you to sneeze and have watery eyes.  Much like how your flu shot contains a bit of the flu virus, taking a bit of the pollen that causes your allergies may help you fight the symptoms.  Note that they honey MUST be raw and LOCAL in order to be beneficial. You need to eat the same types of pollen that are causing your allergies and those will be found in local honey more often than that produced in another state or area of the country.

What is your favorite way to enjoy honey? Have you tried it for health reasons?