Honey is the world's perfect food. Containing all of the nutritional elements necessary to sustain life, it is also naturally antibacterial, and delicious. Its use even predates history, with the world's oldest honey sample being found in Egyptian pyramids dating back 3000 years ago. Surprisingly, it was still edible. In addition to it being a sweet treat since ancient times, honey's natural properties make it a powerful tool in the medicine cabinet as well.
Sore throat? Honey can be found in many commercial-made lozenges on the market, but it is just as easy to make something to sooth your throat on your own (and they're healthier). In a saucepan over medium heat, stir 1 cup of herb-infused water (peppermint or ginger are delicious), with 1 1/2 cups honey until the mixture reaches 300 degrees when measured with a candy thermometer. Drop, by the teaspoonful, onto waxed paper-lined cookie sheets and allow to cool until hard. Take 1 lozenge whenever a sore throat comes on.
Studies have shown that 2 teaspoons of honey given at bedtime can stop a dry, hacking cough just as well as over-the-counter cough medicines can. As always, do not give honey to children under 1 year of age. In rare cases, honey has lead to infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning.
Cuts, Scrapes & Burns
Honey is naturally antibacterial, making it an ideal dressing for a variety of wounds. One study showed that honey applied to a wound, then wrapped with a bandage has been shown to not only rapidly clear the existing infection, but protect the area from any additional infection. It also reduces any bad odor that may result and lessens the likelihood of scarring.
While dry, winter skin may be helped by commercial lotions, honey might be a better option because it is a natural humectant; this means it attracts water. When applied, allowed to sit for a while, then rinsed off, honey provides relief from dry skin and even eczema. It also has the added antibacterial benefit of healing acne-prone skin.
In your cupboard, ready for your next cup of tea tea or in your bathroom cabinet beside the band-aids, honey can add benefit to your daily life. It is truly a wonder food that has a use in every home.