Honey has some amazing health benefits (as we learnt in part 1 of this 3 part series), but that’s not all! Honey is incredibly versatile and has been very popular in home remedies and beauty treatments for many years. Let’s find out why!
Honey home Remedies
Using honey to treat the common cold
A study has found that honey can be just as effective in reducing coughing as over-the-counter cough suppressants – providing relief from coughing at night and improving sleep in children.
Honey, ginger and lemon tea
Next time you have a cold (or anytime you need a good pick-me-up), try a warm, soothing Honey, ginger and lemon tea (see full recipe here). Honey, ginger and lemon have long been used in home remedies as they all have cold fighting properties and taste great together! Doctors recommend drinking lots of fluids when you have a cold – by adding these powerful natural ingredients, you can help ease cold symptoms and fight the cold itself while you stay hydrated.
Honey and cinnamon paste
Honey and cinnamon have been used in oriental and Ayurvedic treatments for many years. Both honey and cinnamon have anti-microbial properties to help stop the growth of bacteria, and they can help soothe a sore throat too. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to form a paste. Take this 2-3 times a day to help provide relieve from cold symptoms.
Using honey to prevent allergies and hay fever
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that taking pure (raw, unfiltered) local honey can help calm or prevent seasonal allergies and hay fever. This is based on the theory of immunotherapy, which basically means that taking honey (which contains small amounts of spores) helps your body build up resistance over time - like a gradual vaccination, however there isn’t much conclusive scientific proof of this (yet). As the spores found in honey are in quite small amounts, they shouldn’t trigger an allergic reaction. For best results, look for honey at your local farmers market – locally produced honey will be most effective as it contains pollen from plants commonly found where you live and work – the closer, the better. It is recommended that you take 2 teaspoons a day, starting a couple of months before the hay fever season hits (not recommended for children under the age of 5 or people with compromised immune systems).
Using honey to boost your energy
Honey is a great natural energy booster and is much better for you than coffee or caffeine filled energy drinks! Honey offers sustained energy – it has a low to medium GI and and some athletes even use honey to help performance endurance and ease muscle fatigue. Take a teaspoon or dissolve in some water or warm milk for a pick-me-up at any time of the day.
Using honey to treat wounds, burns and cuts
Honey has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can be really effective in the treatment of wounds, cuts and burns (including sunburn). Honey was used to treat burns and wounds during World War I and many medical professionals still use honey today. It promotes healing, prevents the dressing from sticking to the wound and may also help reduce swelling and scarring. See the amazing health benefits of honey for more on this, and why manuka honey is so good at treating wounds. To help heal a small wound, cut or burn, dress it daily with sterilised gauze brushed with honey. For more severe wounds, seek professional medical assistance first.
Other honey cures and uses
Honey is recommended in many alternative therapies - including treatment of poor circulation, bladder infections, hair loss, anxiety, asthma and hangovers – mostly based on anecdotal evidence with little scientific backing, but some people swear by them. Some people even use honey for laundry pre-wash stain treatments and as antifreeze in their cars.
Honey DIY Beauty Tips
Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great natural acne fighter. It gives you a really gentle cleanse and helps heal breakouts. There are many people who have had success in clearing their acne with honey, some have even found that it helps fade acne scars and pigmentation - this may sound surprising, but check out the amount of positive reviews on acne.org and makeupalley. To wash your face with honey:
- Make sure you have your hair tied back to keep it out of the sticky honey before you get started! If you are wearing makeup, you’ll need to remove it first as honey is quite a gentle cleanser. Use a mild cleanser or the oil cleansing method to remove any makeup, then pat your skin dry.
- Get a small scoop (between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon) of honey and gently massage it into your dry skin (it warms up on your skin and becomes easy to move around).
- Leave the honey on your skin for 5 to 30 minutes (tends to be more effective if you leave it on for longer than a few minutes)
- Rinse off with warm water – it will wash off quite easily
- Gently pat your skin dry
Honey face scrub (great for rejuvenating dull skin)
For a luxurious, deep cleansing and exfoliating face scrub – mix 1 tablespoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of finely ground almonds and half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Massage gently around your face in circular motions for about a minute, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Honey face mask
As with any medical treatment or remedy, if symptoms become aggravated or if you notice any side effects - discontinue use and see your doctor. Honey can cause infant botulism (a rare but serious form of food poisoning), so it is not recommended for children under 12 months of age or people with compromised immune systems.