7 Surprising Uses for Honey and Health Benefits

Bee honey is a medicinal ingredient that can be used as an adjuvant against different problems. We invite you to discover some uses for honey you may not have heard of before.
7 Surprising Uses for Honey and Health Benefits

Last update: 21 May, 2021

Most of us know many of the uses for honey. This natural ingredient has been part of alternative medicine since ancient times. In fact, because of the evidence for its properties, it’s one of the few natural remedies accepted in the medical community.

Of course, it’s not a first-line treatment, nor is it a substitute for conventional medicines. However, in many cases, it’s a good adjuvant to control symptoms or to help improve the recovery process. Do you want to know more about it?

How to choose good honey

A jar of honey being stirred.

Not all honey is the same. Today, we can find many varieties and different qualities in any supermarket, some at very low prices.

In order to benefit the most from all its medicinal properties, you should choose raw honey that hasn’t been subjected to high temperatures. You can be sure if the honey is solidified or crystallized.

At home, you can put it in a bain-marie to make it liquid. The honey should also be of the highest possible quality, natural or organic, to ensure that no chemicals have been added to preserve it.

1. Cure and heal wounds

One of the most widespread uses of bee honey is as a topical treatment for burns and wounds. Its constant application improves the appearance of the skin and prevents infections.

A study published in the Wisconsin Medical Society found that honey can even help treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Applying honey to wounds kills bacteria and microbes because honey contains anti-inflammatory properties that stimulate the immune system. In addition, honey fights irritation, relieves pain, and fastens the healing process.

  • All you need to do is allow the honey to dry on the wound and continue repeating this process until the wound heals.

2. Masks for your skin

Honey is a great natural ingredient for maintaining your skin’s natural moisture. Unlike oils, it prevents your skin from drying out without adding a greasy texture, making it the perfect choice for a mask for all skin types: Dry, combination, and oily.

In addition, as highlighted in a review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, it helps to regulate the pH and favors the relief of wounds and burns.

  • Apply a layer of honey all over your face and leave it on for half an hour. Then rinse the skin with lukewarm water.

3. A natural shampoo

Honey in the shape of a heart.

If you’re looking for a completely natural shampoo to wash your hair, try a tablespoon of honey diluted in 200 ml of water. According to a study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, honey is beneficial against dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp.

  • If your want to use your usual shampoo, you can try this remedy as a conditioner or mask.

4. As a base for cough syrups

Undoubtedly, the preparation of natural syrups is one of the most widespread uses of honey. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, this ingredient helps to improve this symptom.

In fact, a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that honey worked better than two common cough medicines.

  • To this syrup, you can add lemon and orange peels, ginger, cinnamon, or thyme.

5. It regulates the intestines

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that, in the intestine, honey acts as a mild laxative to promote evacuation.

  • To enhance its virtues, you should drink some every morning on an empty stomach. Just add one tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.

6. It improves digestion

A small jar of honey and a tray of walnuts.

Honey is a medicinal remedy for many digestive problems like heartburn or stomach ulcers. It regulates the secretion of gastric juices, while its anti-inflammatory effects help heal and replace digestive mucus membranes.

Want to know more? See: The 5 best anti-inflammatory foods

7. It helps you sleep better

Are you feeling anxious or are you struggling with insomnia problems? Honey can also help you with this. Besides being rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, it contains sugars that naturally increase insulin levels and produce serotonin.

This hormone is related to our mood and produces a feeling of relaxation. A study published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN concluded that the mixture of milk and honey improves sleep.

  • We can drink, every night, a relaxing infusion or a glass of milk with a teaspoon of honey.

We can use honey as a complement to various treatments. However, we should moderate its intake and use it only when necessary. In addition, it should not replace medical treatment for any reason.

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  • Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, Samini F. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Res. 2017;9(2):121–127. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.204647
  • Jull, A. B., Cullum, N., Dumville, J. C., Westby, M. J., Deshpande, S., & Walker, N. (2015). Honey as a topical treatment for wounds. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD005083.pub4
  • Eddy, J. J., Gideonsen, M. D., & Mack, G. P. (2008). Practical considerations of using topical honey for neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers: A review. Wisconsin Medical Journal.
  • Burlando, B., & Cornara, L. (2013). Honey in dermatology and skin care: A review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12058
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  • Ladas, S. D., Haritos, D. N., & Raptis, S. A. (1995). Honey may have a laxative effect on normal subjects because of incomplete fructose absorption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/62.6.1212
  • Fazalda A, Quraisiah A, Nur Azlina MF. Antiulcer Effect of Honey in Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Induced Gastric Ulcer Model in Rats: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018;2018:7515692. Published 2018 Jul 15. doi:10.1155/2018/7515692
  • Fakhr-Movahedi, A., Mirmohammadkhani, M., & Ramezani, H. (2018). Effect of milk-honey mixture on the sleep quality of coronary patients: A clinical trial study. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.08.015