Honey is a popular sweetener throughout the world. According to an Associated Marketing survey conducted for the National Honey Board in 1997, almost 77 % of U.S. households use honey along with other sweeteners and syrups and 45 % of them consider honey a good value because it is “natural/good for you/better for you than sugar.”
Overall, honey has a positive profile with nearly 62 % of users “especially liking” it for its taste and flavor, 24 % because it is natural and 16 % because it is good for you. From ancient times, honey was not only used as a natural sweetener but also as a healing agent. Many health-promoting and curative properties attributed to it are the basis for some traditional folk medicine treatments throughout the world today.
From ancient times, honey was not only used as a natural sweetener but also as a healing agent. Honey was prescribed for a variety of uses including baldness, contraception and as a wound treatment. Frequently honey was mixed with herbs, grains, and other botanicals. Uses that have continued into modern folk medicine include treatment for coughs and sore throats, lotus honey for eye diseases in India, infected leg ulcers in Ghana, ear aches in Nigeria, topical treatment of measles in the eyes to prevent corneal scaring, gastric ulcers and constipation.
The past two decades have brought a resurgence of interest in learning more about antimicrobial and wound healing properties of honey. Studies conducted in various parts of the world indicate the following:
- Honey is a natural source of energy for the body. Sugars are the fundamental unit of energy for our bodies. Honey is high in monosaccharide glucose and fructose. These sugars are quickly absorbed, providing the body with boost of energy. Doctors say that these sugars works best to enhance athletic performance and prevent fatigue.
- Dr. Susan Percival of the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition found the honey is rich in vitamins, amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc-, all of which are essentials to good health. Honey contains several compounds that function as antioxidants. Antioxidants perform the role of eliminating free radicals, which are reactive compounds in our bodies. Free radicals are created through the normal process of metabolism and are believed to contribute to many serious diseases when left unchecked. Antioxidants play a large role in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
- Research by Peter C. Molan Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry, has shown that honey stops the growth of dental plaque bacteria and reduces the amount of acid produced, which stops the bacteria from producing dextran (a component of dental plaque).
- Honey has anti-inflammatory effects. It is used to relieve sore throat pain.
- Honey is a carbohydrate and will increase the level of tryptophan-an amino acid that is used in the production of serotonin-, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that will induce a sense of calm and drowsiness. That is why some people drink a cup of water with a spoonful of honey before sleep.
- A regular administration of honey helps to prolong and to give a better life quality to the seniors. The famous Chinese doctor, Tao Hongjing believes that: “People that want to have a long and healthy life should use honey daily”. In recent research, it was demonstrated that in a survey of 100 people aged over 100 years old, over 80% of them regularly consumed honey. Honey benefits human longevity due to its high-energy action, and the presence of chemical elements, vitamins and enzymes that are important for the good operation of the human body.