If you’re buying honey from the grocery store that is always liquid and isn’t labeled “raw”, stop and switch to local, untreated, raw honey. Real unadulterated honey is so much more than a natural sweetener. Raw honey contains a spectrum of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you just don’t find in store-bought honeys. The range of nutrients will vary somewhat, depending on the flowers from which the bees gathered the nectar. You can also taste the difference between clover honey and orange blossom honey. But no matter what flowers provided the nectar, all raw honeys have remarkable health benefits. Here are the top five ways you can use this amazing natural superfood:
Raw honey is a potent infection fighter
Since ancient times, people have applied raw honey to wounds to prevent the wound from festering, and to speed healing. Honey is an amazing wound dressing because it kills bacteria, maintains moisture, and provides a barrier to prevent further infection.
Support for your immune system
Raw honey is often included in traditional herbal cold and flu preparations. One of the most well known natural remedies for the common cold is to make a cup of hot tea with plenty of lemon and honey. The lemon is full of vitamin C, and the honey helps to kill the pathogens that are making you sick. Raw honey can be mixed with garlic for respiratory discomfort, and dabbed on cold sores to ease the pain and speed healing. Pro tip: in a small glass jar, stir 3 drops of geranium essential oil into a teaspoon of raw honey; apply as needed to cold sores. Many people swear by locally sourced raw honey to help them get through allergy season.
Natural first aid for minor burns
Raw honey is my favorite burn ointment. It has been used in Chinese medicine but has been shown in modern scientific studies to be an effective way to heal minor burns naturally. You can make your own burn remedy to have on hand at home with this simple recipe. Fill a small wide mouth glass jar with a couple tablespoons of raw honey. Stir in 60 drops of lavender oil, and cap the jar tightly. To use: rinse the affected area with cool water. Next, apply a thin layer of the lavender-infused honey to the affected area, and cover with gauze. Change the dressing several times per day. This is a very sticky remedy, and the honey will become runny from the warmth of your skin. If the gauze sticks to your skin, dab it with cool water and it will come off easily. (For serious burns, seek professional medical treatment.)
Raw honey makes a wonderful anti-aging facial
The benefits of raw honey aren't just medicinal; honey is rich in enzymes and antioxidants that rejuvenate and moisturize your skin. The effects of a raw honey facial are similar to a spa treatment, but costs only pennies. To make a raw honey facial, wash your face like usual, and pat dry. Secure your hair away from your face (or end up with a sticky hairdo) and apply a thin layer of raw honey on your face. Gently pat your face with your fingertips for several minutes; this brings fresh circulation to the surface of your skin, which helps to remove impurities and detoxify your skin. Gently rinse with cool water, removing all traces of honey from around the hairline. You can finish by applying a few drops of a natural unscented oil like jojoba or almond oil to your skin, and mist a little rose hydrosol or water and massage your face with sweeping upward motions.
Honey is a great carrier for other herbal remedies
One of my favorite ways to get people started using herbs is to blend them with honey. Not all wellness herbs taste good, and if you want to reap the benefits but can't stand the flavor, consider adding your herbal powders or tinctures to a spoonful of raw honey. For cold and flu, mix 1/2 cup of raw honey with the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon (or more) of minced fresh ginger, and a teaspoon or two of echinacea tincture. Stir well and store in the refrigerator. At the first sign of a cold, take a spoonful of this honey straight up, or stirred into a cup of hot tea. Many people mix cinnamon powder and ground turmeric into honey, but you can also blend other powders such as reishi mushroom for immune support, maca powder for energy, ashwagandha powder for fatigue, and amla powder as a rich source of herbal vitamin C.