Many people think of the medicinal properties of honey as something Grandma used or even an ol’ wives tale, but more and more people are coming to learn that there are many truths to these old remedies and honey is quite an amazing living food. Further, more and more scientific studies are proving the benefits of honey. Let me first preface this by saying that we are discussing RAW honey, preferably local grown, not commercial processed honey purchased in most grocery stores. Some of this product, much to my surprise, isn’t even honey at all but rather honey flavored corn syrup similar to maple flavored syrup.
Some health benefits of this raw liquid gold include:
- A bounty of nutrition includimng enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals
- Promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract
- Good for your skin
- Promotes heart health by reducing homocysteine levels
- Tames allergies (if using local grown raw honey)
- Can help fight viruses and bacteria
- Helps sooth a cough
- Helps prevent tooth decay
Raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral and helpful for wound healing.
“The wound healing properties of honey may, however, be its most promising medicinal quality. Honey has been used topically as an antiseptic therapeutic agent for the treatment of ulcers, burns and wounds for centuries. One study in India compared the wound healing effects of honey to a conventional treatment (silver sulfadiazene) in 104 first-degree burn patients. After one week of treatment, 91 percent of honey treated burns were infection free compared with only 7 percent receiving the conventional treatment. Finally, a greater percentage of patients’ burns were healed more readily in the honey treated group. Another study examined the wound healing benefits of honey applied topically to patients following Caesarean section and hysterectomy. Compared to the group receiving the standard solution of iodine and alcohol, the honey treated group was infection free in fewer days, healed more cleanly and had a reduced hospital stay.”
“In healthy subjects, while sugar and artificial honey had either negative or very small beneficial effects, natural honey reduced total cholesterol 7%, triglycerides 2%, C-reactive protein 7%, homocysteine 6% and blood sugar 6%, and increased HDL (good) cholesterol 2%. (Like C-reactive protein, homocysteine is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.)
In patients with high cholesterol, artificial honey increased LDL (bad) cholesterol, while natural honey decreased total cholesterol 8%, LDL cholesterol 11%, and C-reactive protein 75%.” source
But what about my blood sugar? Isn’t honey just as bad as sugar?
Originally this was thought to be true and certainly is true of commercially processed honey – which is pretty much rendered void of any nutrients. But more and more studies are showing that raw honey is usually lower on the glycemic index than sugar. Even as low as 30 or 40. According to the Glycemic Index Database, locust honey has a GI of 32, yellow box honey has a GI of 35 and stringy bark honey has a GI of 44.
Now this is still a moderate level on the glycemic index so you can’t go wild over wild raw honey, but you can have it. With proper food combining (plenty of fiber and maybe some lemon or cinnamon) you will reduce your overall glucose impact.
“And in patients with type 2 diabetes, natural honey caused a significantly lower rise in blood sugar than either dextrose or sucrose (refined sugars).” source
To tell you the truth, I am pretty excited about this news. I don’t use artificial sweeteners and have pretty much only used Stevia as my zero calorie choice (although I don’t count calories). However, I can taste the difference. Sometimes, I’ll use a small amount of raw honey or real maple syrup, but have avoided using much of it due to blood sugar concerns. I will have to start doing some testing to compare the impact on my own blood sugar. Maybe a blend of honey or maple syrup and a touch of Stevia is the answer.
If you are an info-geek like me, you may want to study further. Here are some resources: