Health Benefits of Honey
By Phillip Carter, Urban Regional
Extension Agent, Houston County
Honey has numerous
health benefits and it would take a long time to list them all.
However, there are a few benefits we should consider to improve
the quality and the duration of our lives.
Raw honey is about as natural as you
can get. Many beekeepers only filter larger particles. However,
some companies pasteurize their honey to prevent granulation
while it is in a store. There has been much debate as to whether
pasteurizing honey reduces some of its beneficial health properties.
Virtually, every county in Alabama has beekeepers so most individuals
should be able to locate a local beekeeper and purchase their
Many people are unaware of the numerous minerals, vitamins, and
antioxidants that are found in honey. In essence, it's like taking
a multivitamin. All you need is a teaspoon before bed and a teaspoon
in the morning. The minerals found in honey include magnesium,
potassium, calcium, sulphur, iron, copper, iodine, zinc, and
phosphate. The vitamins include A (carotenes), B1 (thiamin),
B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinic acid), B5 (panothenic acid), C
(ascorbic acid), H (biotin), and P1 (rutin). Without having to
go into a chemistry lesson, antioxidants are substances that
help the body reduce the effects of cellular damage and chronic
diseases. The concentration of antioxidants varies with the floral
sources of honey. For example, darker honey most often has more
antioxidants than lighter honey.
Honey also has some amazing antiseptic and skin healing properties.
It contains antimicrobial agents that prevent infections by killing
bacteria in and around wounds. Many types of bacteria cannot
survive in honey so wounds heal, swelling eases, and tissue can
grow back. Medical journals cite more than 600 cases in which
honey was used to treat wounds. It appears that a lot more research
is being done on using honey for burn victims. Honey is being
used in Iraq to treat burn wounds in children. Honey also has
a wonderful ability to attract water, which makes it great for
re-hydrating dry skin. Most individuals know how bad a sun burn
hurts. Honey can ease that pain and speed the healing process.
Bee pollen is another important substance found in honey. Bee
pollen in itself is high in protein and contains all the vitamins
and minerals previously mentioned. But more importantly it may
provide some relief for those who suffer with seasonal allergies.
Pollen can be purchased by itself to take separately; however,
one can still benefit from taking honey since it already contains
trace amounts of pollen. This trace amount of pollen every day
may help reduce the symptoms of pollen-related allergies by inoculating
yourself. In addition, it is very important that the pollen and
honey be purchased locally since that is where the allergens
are located. Because every individual is different, one can only
try it to determine its effectiveness.
There are numerous books and Web-based
resources that have additional information. Try some local honey
and start feeling better today.
Blackiston, H. (2002). Beekeeping for dummies. New
York: Hungry Minds, Inc.
Bonney, R. (1993). Beekeeping: A practical
guide. Massachusetts: Storey Publishing.
Needham, A. W. (2008). Health benefits of honey. Bees-online.com. Retrieved January 16, 2009.
Healthful Honey. (2005). Honey-the wonderful. Health Benefits of Honey. Retrieved January
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