The healing effects of honey and honey-based remedies we can make
Honey: “From its [the bee’s] belly, comes forth a drink of varying colours wherein is a cure for people. Surely there is a sign for those who would give thought.” And – “If a person eats honey a thousand remedies enter his stomach and a million diseases will come out”. 1,400 years ago, according to the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (SAW ) Honey is not just a sugar, but also a complex combination of enzymes, organic acids, esters, antibiotic agents, trace minerals and vitamins. It is still used in hospitals to heal incurable skin lesions when modern medicines fail to do so. Honey has profound antimicrobial effects and is more than just a sweetener. Honey must not be given to very young infants as it may contain botulism spores and the baby’s immature intestine cannot yet eliminate them like you can.
Bees make honey by combining nectar from flowers with their bee enzymes. Honey is one of the oldest medicinal substances known to man. Honey is used to mask unpleasant flavours, (like a spoonful of sugar) to make the medicine go down and often it is more curative than the intended remedy! Honey from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs dating back a few thousand years was still found to be edible. Thus the shelf life of honey is longer than ours by far. It is a good preservative and wound healer and is very nutritious, being a complete food for the very active and hardworking little honeybee, let alone us lazy humans.
Honey can be taken as a medicine, mixed with medicinal herbs and spices or used as a vital ingredient in body care products such as cleansers, lotions and ointments. Honey, spices and herbs can cure many skin afflictions and infections. Some doctors give honey before surgery to prevent infections. Many cuts, infections and wounds are healed by honey alone because of its anti-microbial and curative effects. Pure honey is good for mouth and gum infections.
According to folk medicine from around the world, honey can be used for: coughs, muscle cramps, burns, stuffy noses, sinusitis, hay fever, bed wetting, insomnia, and on wounds, ulcers, infections, stings and rashes. Honey keeps a wound sterile and hastens the healing process. It is reported to be effective against bacterial conditions such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia in cases when antibiotics could not help anymore. Honey is also good for gut infections such as Salmonella, Shigella, E. Coli, and cholera that produce diarrhoea. When mixed with cinnamon, turmeric, fennel or cloves, the results are even more effective. Honey used with water and salt to replace fluids lost during diarrhoea and vomiting, proved to be more effective than electrolyte mixtures because of the additional anti-microbial effect.
Honey is approximately 35% protein due to the amino acids it contains. It is a highly concentrated source of essential nutrients with a high level of simple sugars, the B-complex vitamins with a little Vitamin C, D and E and minerals.
Effects of honey on the blood: Honey rapidly diffuses through the blood: When mixed with water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar molecules are accompanied by amino acids and supports blood formation. Honey helps to cleanse the blood and improves circulation. Experiments conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase twofold when diluted with water. It is very interesting to note that newly born bees in the colony are nourished with diluted honey by the bees to offer extra protection against microbes.
For coughs and viruses: The anti-tussive and expectorant properties of honey are related to its capacity to dilute bronchial secretions and improve the function of the bronchial epithelium. Combine honey with fresh ginger to knock out viruses and upper respiratory tract infections. A new microbial study was undertaken to detail the antimicrobial effects of fresh versus dry ginger. It was only the fresh ginger that knocked out viruses and mycotoxins that are responsible for upper respiratory tract infections – not the dry version. However, both forms of ginger were effective for blood thinning, inflammation and nausea.
Anti-diarrhoeal properties: At a concentration of 40%, honey has a bactericidal effect on various gut bacteria known to cause diarrhoea and dysentery such as Salmonella, Shigella enteropathogenic, E. coli and Vibrio cholera. In one study, honey given with oral rehydration fluid was shown to reduce the duration of bacterial (infectious) diarrhoea in infants and children. As an electrolyte: Honey used with water and salt helps to replace fluids lost during diarrhoea and vomiting are said to be more effective than electrolyte mixtures because of this additional anti-microbial effect.
Caution: Diabetics should be careful of taking too much honey by itself, as the body requires insulin to process the simple sugars it contains. When ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon is added to a teaspoon of honey, the effect of insulin improves, so this is highly recommended. You may prefer to use the bitter, crude blackstrap molasses as an alternative for making your honey remedies.
Oral hygiene: Use only pure honey for mouthwashes and throat gargles. When honey is combined with a starch such as bread, it is very bad for teeth as then it ferments in the mouth. Rinsing out the mouth with salt water kills germs and prevents sugar cravings.
Honey as a carrier for herbs and spices: A teaspoon of honey can be mixed with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon (diabetes) or ginger (nausea) or olive leaf powder (high BP, flu, viruses) and taken instead of tablets or capsules. It can also be taken with ground-up kalonjie seeds or kalonji oil.
A pleasant health drink: Mix a teaspoon of honey with a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of hot or cold water with a pinch of salt. We can thus enjoy all the top 4 condiments together!
Propolis is also made by bees. Bees make propolis to disinfect their beehives because of the strong antimicrobial effects it has due to the tree resins and other ingredients that are added by the bee itself. The warm humid interior of a beehive (and inside our bodies) is prone to developing mould, viral, fungal and bacterial infections. It is a very powerful antioxidant with analgesic, anaesthetic (works for bee stings and other bites) and anti-inflammatory activity. Medical studies have shown that topical application of propolis in tinctures or ointments helps against genital herpes, cold sores, dental caries, periodontal disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, scars, psoriasis and fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Bee stings or spider bites: Propolis tincture applied to bee stings gives instant pain relief and reduce swelling. Propolis remedies are also good for earache or infections of the outer ear. Propolis preparations can be applied to cuts, scratches and surgical wounds. A propolis, beeswax and honey ointment such as Nature Fresh Bee Balm is ideal for external use, especially on dry, scaly skin conditions, psoriasis and scars.
Respiratory complaints: Very effective if taken as a tincture for: colds, influenza, catarrh, rhinitis, sinusitis, laryngitis and sore throats. Doctors can support therapy for: asthma, chronic pneumonia and tuberculosis with propolis.
Stomach and digestive disorders: Stomach ulcers from helicobacter pylori infections. Effective in large, frequent doses for gastritis, dysentery, diarrhoea, and leaky gut syndrome caused by parasites, worm and fluke infestations.
Side Effects and special precautions of propolis: Few side effects, other than allergic reactions, have been reported with propolis. Do not use propolis if you are allergic to bee products, balsam or pine resin. Allergic reactions may cause swelling, redness, eczema or fever and it may irritate the skin, causing burning, peeling lips, irritation, lesions, itching, swelling, psoriasis or eczema. Dilute the propolis and test a small area first. When used in the mouth, propolis tincture or powder may irritate the mucous membranes.