two jars of honey-one dark, one light

Nature’s Antibiotic: Honey as a Healer

Honey’s healing properties are world renowned, treasured in remote tribes in Yemen as well as wound care wards of hospitals. Long before pure raw honey was stored in the pantry, it was used primarily as a natural remedy. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Honey to soothe a sore throat or cough

Squeeze an entire lemon into a mug, pour very hot water (just off the boil is fine) over the lemon. Stir in a teaspoon or two of pure raw honey. Sip to soothe. The addition of a bit of cayenne powder makes this extra powerful!

Recently, I kept waking in the middle of the night with a cough that would not go away. Not wanting to make a whole cup of lemon honey tea, I simply sucked on a spoonful of honey, sipped a bit of water, and went back to sleep.

Just a Spoonful of Honey Helps the Medicine Go Down

If your **child can’t swallow a pill, or say, has an upset stomach but doesn’t like the taste of ginger, simply make a “honey ball.” Using a teaspoon sized spoon mix a small amount of honey with the contents of a pill/herb/spice. Mix with a toothpick or knife until the herb is thoroughly mixed with the honey. Let the child suck on the spoon. This works for finicky grown-ups too (i.e. husbands).

Or, if you are using a particularly nasty tasting herb (such as Goldenseal) you can make an actual honey ball where you mix the powdered herb with honey, but keep it very dry. Roll into little balls and swallow. This is much easier for little ones to swallow as you can make the balls very tiny.

  • Cayenne honeyball is great for a sore throat
  • Goldenseal honeyball is about the only way to get down this potent but terrible tasting natural antibiotic (unless swallowed in pill form)
  •  Ginger honeyball soothes an upset stomach

Using Honey for Topical Applications

Pure raw honey is not only fantastic internally, it’s healing properties work externally as well. Honey is actually a powerful antiseptic. In one of my absolute favorite books on natural remedies, 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas, she recounts how honey acts as an antiseptic as reported by Murray Holt in his book The World of Bees (Bonanza Books, 1965).

Mr. Hoyt recounts how Dr. W.G. Sackett, a bacteriologist, set out to prove that honey was fertile ground for growing bacteria and ended up proving the opposite! Dr. Sackett inoculated honey with typhoid and dysentery bacteria. Within 10 hours the dysentery bacteria were all dead and within 48 hours the typhoid bacteria were dead! Dr. Sackett continued testing with other bacteria and found that this antiseptic activity was repeated over and over.

Burns- Honey is a well known burn remedy that has even been used by burn clinics in the U.S. Not only is it a powerful antiseptic, it’s also soothing, helps relieve pain, and has skin rejuvenating qualities. Simply apply a thin layer of honey to the burn. If it’s a bad burn use up to a 1/2″ layer of honey and cover with a clean bandage.

I like to cover paper cuts, and small abrasions with a thin layer of honey. Skinned knees and elbows love honey- no sting! Just cover with a bit of clean gauze or a bandage so that honey doesn’t end up coating your carpet, tables and vehicle!

Seasonal Allergy Relief

You may experience relief from seasonal allergies such as hay fever when consuming honey that was harvested within 25-50 miles of your home. Although there is no documented study that verifies this claim, the theory is that small amounts of pollen act as an inoculant against large amounts of pollen in the air (kind of like using snake venom to cure a snake bite).

*Please note that all honey is not created equal. Honey that has been filtered (had it’s impurities removed) and has been heated above 117 degrees Fahrenheit does not contain the same living and beneficial bacteria that raw, unfiltered honey possesses. Honey from a local resource that you can trust is always best!

**Raw honey should not be fed to infants under the age of 1 as they lack sufficient stomach acid to deactivate bacteria spores.

If you have other uses for honey that you’d like to share please leave a comment below.

To Your Health!

Alison

Resources: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas and Weston A. Price

 Picture Credit: http://www.alanrussophotography.com

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