Honey – a sweet and viscous substance that we have used for thousands of years. It sits in our cupboard and we don’t give it much thought typically even though ut’s been used as a sweetener, a preservative, a medicine, and even as a currency throughout history. In recent years, honey has gained popularity for its various health benefits thanks to amazing micro producers helping us better understand all of the key health benefits that come with this amazing treat.
Let’s explore the history of honey, its medicinal value, and what could be the best sources of honey for you!
History Of Honey
Honey has been used by humans for over 8,000 years. The first recorded use of honey was documented in a rock paintings found in Spain, dating back to 7000 BCE. Ancient Egyptians used honey as a sweetener and as a preservative for their food and they also used honey as a medicine to treat various ailments. In fact, honey was so important to the ancient Egyptians that it was often used as a form of currency.
Honey was also used in ancient Greece, where it was believed to have healing properties. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used honey to treat wounds and infections and he also believed that honey could help with digestive problems and respiratory issues.
In India, honey was used in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Honey was also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throat, cough, and constipation.
Medicinal Properties Of Honey
Honey has numerous medicinal properties that make it an excellent natural remedy for a wide range of health related problems. Here are some of the many health benefits of honey:
- Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and swelling. This makes it an effective remedy for conditions like arthritis, sore throat, and skin irritation.
- It has natural anti-bacterial properties that can help prevent infections. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for wounds and burns.
- Honey is also rich in antioxidants that can help boost the immune system. Regular consumption of honey can help prevent infections and illnesses.
- Honey has been proven to help sooth a sore throat, making it an effective remedy for cough and sore throat. It can also help reduce the frequency and severity of coughing.
- It can also help improve digestion and alleviate digestive problems like constipation and indigestion.
- Honey can help promote restful sleep. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleep.
Best Sources Of Honey
When it comes to honey, not all honey is created equal. Here are a few of my favorites that can be readily found in my part of the world. Your area might have others that we would love to learn about so please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us what they are!
Manuka honey is a type of honey that is produced in New Zealand. It is known for its powerful antibacterial properties and is often used to treat wounds and infections. Manuka honey is also rich in antioxidants, making it an excellent natural remedy for various health problems.
Raw honey is honey that has not been processed or pasteurized. It is often cloudy and contains bits of pollen and beeswax. Raw honey is rich in enzymes and antioxidants, making it an excellent natural remedy for various health problems.
Buckwheat honey is a dark honey that is produced from the nectar of the buckwheat flower. It is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Buckwheat honey is often used as a natural remedy for cough and sore throat.
Clover honey is a light-colored honey that is produced from the nectar of clover flowers. It is rich in antioxidants and has a mild, sweet flavor. Clover honey is often used as a natural sweetener and is a great addition
Best Places To Find Honey
Your local farmers markets is always a great place to get your fresh, locally sourced honey. You can often find a variety of honey types, including raw honey, wildflower honey, and more. We are HUGE fans of supporting local artisan producers and creators and you will find much more than fresh wholesome honey at your local market.
Or if you are lucky enough to have local beekeepers they might sell their honey directly to consumers. You can often find local beekeepers through a quick online search or by checking with local beekeeping associations.
Alternately your local health food stores often carry a variety of high-quality honey options, including organic and raw honey.
Finally there are a multitude of online retailers that specialize in honey that offer a wide selection of honey from different regions and types.
Note: When buying honey, it is important to read the label carefully to ensure that you are getting a high-quality, pure honey. Look for honey that is labeled as raw, unfiltered, or organic. Additionally, be sure to check the source of the honey to ensure that it is ethically sourced and not mixed with other additives or sweeteners.
Adding Honey To Your Diet
There are many delicious ways to add honey to your diet. Here are a few ideas to get you started or inspire you to try new ways.
It’s the original great natural sweetener that can be used in place of refined sugar. You can add honey to your tea, coffee, smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal for a natural sweetness. This is a great way to start out using honey and to get away from refined sugars.
Honey can be used as a base for salad dressings, adding a sweet and tangy flavor and you can try a simple mix of honey with olive oil, vinegar, and herbs for a delicious dressing.
It’s a great addition to marinades for meat or vegetables. It can add a sweet and sticky glaze to your grilled or roasted dishes. Be careful when you add sugar based marinades to your dish if you are cooking over an open flame or you might get a charred version of your vision!
It can be used in place of sugar in baked goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies. It adds a natural sweetness and moisture to the baked goods but using honey in this way takes practice to get your amounts just right. Be sure to check with other bakers out there to see what ratios you should use.
Honey can be used in sauces and dips like barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and hummus, adding a sweet and spicy flavor. It is also a great complement to cheese, especially soft cheeses like brie and goat cheese. You can drizzle honey over the cheese or serve it on the side and my favorite is using a very sharp parmesan with a light honey drizzle on top; the sharp and sweet flavors work extremely well!
Remember, although honey is a natural sweetener, has lots of healthy upsides and has a proven track record of being good for us, it’s still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.