First published on EverydayAyurveda.com
I’ve had a love affair with honey since childhood. Growing up, my parents bought fresh honey directly from the beekeeper in big jars and there were always different types of honey around, my favorite, I remember, being the creamy white unpasteurized honey that was such treat on warm toast. As a child I knew little to nothing about the delicious health benefits of honey. Only much later did I learn about all the good that comes from the busy bees.
Health Benefits Of Honey
Honey in its raw form can be used externally and internally for many different little afflictions and is possibly the best natural sweetener available.
To get the health benefits of honey it needs to be consumed raw and shouldn’t be heated, cooked or baked with. According to Ayurveda, heating honey destroys it’s medicinal properties, aggravates pitta Dosha and creates subtle toxin. Therefore honey shouldn’t be used in cooking or baking, or be added to any boiling or very hot liquids. If you like to put honey in your tea, a rule of thumb is to add the honey only after the liquid has cooled down to a point where you could stick your finger in it without burning yourself.
Just like any other sweetener, even though honey in its raw form has all these tremendous health benefits, overconsumption can have a similar effect as white sugar, it will derange the natural balance in the body.
It may also cause an allergic reaction in individuals who are allergic to bee stings. Being a byproduct of bees and pollen it may give symptoms similar to the ones experienced when stung, but much less severe.
With those details covered, here are 9 reasons to use honey every day!
- In Ayurvedic terms, honey is sweet, astringent and pungent and has a pungent, warm and sweet post digestive property.
- Honey increases Ojas, our life essence. If you are looking for a real boost try royal jelly and propolis which are even better for Ojas.
- Honey can also take on some of its flowers quality, for example Sage Honey will take on the quality of Sage and may act as a mild nervine, help to expel phlegm, nourish the mind, nerves and senses, and boost the immune system.
- Raw honey has a scraping function and is often used as a weight loss aid in Ayurvedic treatment. Especially when combined with other herbs, such as Trikatu or Triphala, it can be helpful in reducing excess Kapha in the body. Honey is a vehicle (anupana) to take other herbs into the deeper tissue layers.
- The power of lemon water with honey is known in all mainstream health circles and proposed to be the miracle cure in weight loss attempts.
- Aged honey, meaning honey that’s older then a year, can still be consumed even if it has crystallized. In fact, aged honey is believed to have stronger healing attributes than honey fresh from the hive. I buy my honey directly from a local bee keeper and put a big jar in the back of my cupboard, out of reach, to let it age. This honey I use medicinally in herbal formulas or small household emergencies. For everyday use regular “fresh” honey will do.
- Even in western healing systems we recognize that untreated raw honey is a natural antibiotic and can help with skin conditions, parasites,with cough as an expectorant, and diarrhea.
- Externally used, honey cleanses and heals wounds and can be used on cuts and scrapes as a first aid measure. Due to an enzyme that the bees add to it, honey is antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal.
- Personally I like to put raw honey on my dry lips in the winter and leave it over night ( when I’m asleep and not tempted to lick it off). Honey attracts moisture and doesn’t dry out your lips like many Vaseline based products do.
As a wrap up I think it’s safe to say that having some honey at home, be that in your kitchen cupboard or medicine cabinet, is a really sweet idea. Enjoy!