Recently, honey has been touted as a new health miracle with benefits both external as a salve and internal as a cough suppressant or digestive aid. However, the human body’s positive reactions to honey are far from a modern wonder: documents thousands of years old describe honey’s medicinal properties in many different cultures around the world. Below are only five of the myriad uses for honey.
Many individuals suffering from acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) find relief when they ingest honey. It seems honey’s thick viscosity coats the esophagus and stomach, alleviating hydrochloric acid’s overwhelming presence in the stomach lining. By coating the inside of the stomach, less acid is able to seep past the esophageal sphincter and into the throat, thereby relieving symptoms of reflux.
A long touted remedy for allergies is honey. Because bees gather pollen from plants closely associated with many environmental allergens, a small dose of honey stimulates white blood cells to form antibodies to those specific types of pollen. The body’s defensive mechanisms quell allergic rhinitis because of the antibodies formed with the introduction of honey containing those same respiratory stimulants.
My grandmother often dosed me with a tablespoon of honey when she heard me cough. Science is backing her home remedy. Honey quells coughs because of its viscosity, and it also has the power to calm inflamed membranes in the respiratory system.
Although infants should not ingest honey, young children experiencing gastroenteritis found their symptoms shortened when they ingested honey. Honey can also be substituted for glucose in an oral electrolyte solution with good results.
The topical application of honey seems rather sticky but has been found to be effective in treating a multitude of skin situations, from cellulitis to skin ulcers. A key antimicrobial peptide in honey, bee defensin-1, destroys harmful bacteria and may even prevent infections from forming. Honey even outranks oral antibiotics in treating specific infections in some cases.
Stock up on honey for your first-aid kit as well as your kitchen cabinet. With its wide range of uses, you and your family will benefit from its applications. Best of all, honey tastes great so your children will complain far less when you tell them to eat honey for their upset stomach.
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