Origin: Ancient cave paintings tell the story of honey depicting that it has been around for 8,000 years. Spain’s cave painting dating back to 7000BC talks about the earliest records of beekeeping. However, researchers have discovered a fossil of honey bees date back approximately 150 million years.
A 2400 BC sun temple situated near Cairo, Egypt holds the earliest record of keeping bees in hives. Ancient Egyptians used honey for multiple purposes such as a sweetener, an offering to Gods, an element in embalming fluid, etc. During the First Dynasty (3,200BC), a bee was the symbol of the king of Lower Egypt.
The gorgeous Egyptian queen Cleopatra used to take bath using milk and honey.
Archaeologists have discovered honeycomb in Egypt that was buried with the pharaohs in their tombs.
Honey is mentioned 500 times in 900 ancient Egyptian remedies. Smith papyrus, an Egyptian text dating from between 2600 and 2200 B.C., states honey as a prescription for the wound.
The ancient Greeks were also aware of the significance of honey and its medicinal properties. Euripides in the fifth century BC described cheesecakes process as “steeped most thoroughly in the rich honey of the golden bee.”In the third century BC, the Greek city of Ephesus was home to coins that had bee emblem. In addition, the bee was also the symbol of the Greek goddess Artemis.
Oenomel, an ancient Greek beverage made using honey and unfermented grape juice, is an ancient remedy for gout and certain nervous disorders. The famed Greek scientistHippocrates recommend honey for pain, acute fever, baldness, wound healing, laxative action, cough, and sore throat, eye diseases, treatment of scars, etc.
The ancient Romans offered honey to Gods and used it also for cooking purposes. Bee was a part ofPope Urban VIII’s emblem
Honey held a significant position in Europe until the Renaissance. The reason being, then sugar entered the scenario. By the 17th century, sugar had majorly replaced honey as a sweetener.
The Islamic medical system considers honey as a healthy drink.
The ancient Vedic civilization addresses honey as nature’s gift to mankind. Ayurveda considers honey as the best cure for week digestion, cough, teeth, and gums, insomnia, skin disorders, cataract, etc.
Scientifically: A review from The Cochrane Library states that honey might have burn healing benefits. As per another research, honey helps with diarrhea.
Recent research also indicates that honey reduces the upward flow of stomach acid and undigested food by lining the esophagus and stomach.
In 2010, scientists from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam mentioned in FASEB Journal that honey can kill bacteria because of its protein.
Honey is blessed with high levels of monosaccharides, fructose, and glucose, and has 70 to 80 percent sugar. Honey has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
The Scientific World Journal, researchers confirm with data that natural honey is equally effective as a eusol antiseptic solution in treating wound infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends honey as a natural cough remedy.
Honey embraces vitamin B6, copper, iron, manganese, calcium, sodium, and potassium. It keeps skin naturally hydrated as it attracts and retains moisture from the air as it’s a natural humectant. It pulls out the skins impurities while addressing breakouts, helping with redness and inflammation.
Honey also helps in curing cracked, dry, pimply, or clogged skin.
Honey contains 200 substances such as fructose, glucose, fructo-oligosaccharides, many amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. However, honey composition depends on the plant on which bee feeds.
Mauka honey is considered excellent as bees have fed on flowers of Manuka plant.
Natural honey contains flavonoids, phenolic acids (such as ellagic, caffeic, p-coumaric and ferulic acids), ascorbic acid, tocopherols, catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), etc.
Recent studies signify that honey reduces cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2, thus has anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it also reduces inflammation and exudation, scar size, etc.
Raw honey holds phenolic compound making it excellent for skin and hair. It also has hydrogen peroxide thus it eliminates bacteria and fungus.
Usage: Ayurvedic medicine recommends honey for stress, weakness, sleep disturbance, vision problems, bad breath, teething pain, in children over a year old, cough and asthma, hiccups, stomach ulcers, diarrhea and dysentery, vomiting, bedwetting and frequent urination, high blood pressure, obesity, jaundice, hangover relief, eczema and dermatitis, burns, cuts, and wounds, arthritis etc.
Below are some DIY remedies with honey:
- Mix two tsp each of green gram flour, wheatgrass paste to one tsp of honey and water. Apply this to face for fifteen minutes and then wash off.
- Take 1 tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of lemon, mix them together and apply on body and skin before taking a shower. Let it be on for 15 minutes and then rinse.
- Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash it to make a smoothie paste. Mix it with two spoons of honey and apply it over your face. Wash it after 20 minutes to get a glowing skin.
- Take equal amounts of honey and yogurt, mix them together and apply on the face for 15 minutes. Rinse as usual. This works excellent in controlling sebum production and reduces acne.
- Apply honey directly to the face and rinse after 10 minutes. This helps in moisturizing the skin well.
- Take a teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of ginger with a pinch of turmeric and apply on the acne. This reduces the size and the redness of the acne.