Made by humble bees from pollen collected from flowers, honey has been collected and eaten by man practically for as long as we've walked the earth.
Honey is that golden, delicious, sweet, thick and gooey liquid that we love to spread on bread or toast.
We put it in hot drinks as a natural sweet alternative to refined sugar. We mix it with yoghurt to make a great tasting snack.
We use it in cake baking and bread making and kids love to eat it straight from the spoon!
But did you know that honey has many uses other than just a sweet treat?
Ancient Healing Remedy
In fact, honey is one of the oldest healing remedies known to medicine. So lets take a look at what exactly is in honey.
Honey is mainly made up of the sugars fructose and glucose with a small amount of sucrose and water as well as small amounts of maltose.
It contains the following minerals: potassium, chlorine, sulphur, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc.
Honey also contains the following vitamins: B1 (Thiamin) B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6 (Pyridoxine), B12 (Pantothenic acid), C (Ascorbic acid).
All in all, honey is packed full of goodness with abundant minerals and vitamins, especially the B complex, which are essential for maintaining the nervous system.
But honey has other properties that make it an excellent natural remedy for several ailments.
As a natural antibiotic, it can be used to help clear up a number of bacterial infections both internally and externally. Certain types of honey contain more or less of the essential constituents that make it useful as an external healing balm and wound dressing.
The now famous Manuka honey from New Zealand has been proved in clinical tests to assist in healing open wounds, burns and severe skin damage more quickly and with fewer complications than any pharmaceutical preparation or wound dressing available at the present.
I'd like to point out here that there are several grades of manuka honey. This means that not all manuka honey has the same levels of the additional antibacterial properties that make it such an important healing agent.
It's a sad fact that in the clamber and scramble to make money off the back of anything good, there are some unscrupulous vendors that try to pass off lower grades of manuka honey as being the high grade variety that contains the active "UMF" (unique manuka factor).
Thanks goes to Robert for commenting and highlighting this disturbing fact. More information about manuka honey can be found here.
Added to those amazing properties as a wound dressing are the following:
Honey has the ability to prevent further infections from entering wounds.
It also debrides wounds and eliminate malodours.
Its powerful anti-inflammatory activities reduce edema (swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body's tissues) and minimize any scarring.
Honey also stimulates the growth of granulation and epithelial tissues in order to speed the healing process further.
So you see, honey is not just a great sweet treat to eat or spread on your toast!
It is a respected and clinically proven natural remedy that has a more far reaching portfolio of health benefits than you might expect from this humble and ancient food.