Raw honey: versatile, delicious and healing
You are probably aware of the bliss of licking rich, thick honey from the spoon. But did you know that there are numerous other uses for honey besides using it to sweeten foods and beverages?
Quality counts, so buy raw honey
Most store brand honeys (you know… those ubiquitous honey-filled plastic bears) are an extremely processed product. Pasteurized at very high heat, the enzymes are denatured and probiotics killed. Additionally, these processed honeys are often completely stripped of the beneficial pollen. Finally, there is great controversy about the production methods of mass-produced honey and the well being of the bees.
The worst part about processed honey, however, is not what is removed but what is added. Processed honey is often cut with corn syrup, antibiotics, and heavy metals, even if the product is labeled “pure honey.”
Always buy raw honey, which may be labeled “unpasteurized.” If at all possible, buy it from a local beekeeper. If you are not able to source honey from a nearby beekeeper, I recommend Y.S. Eco Bee Raw Honey.
Without further ado, here are 10 unusual but really cool uses for honey!
1. Wash your face with honey
Dump your face wash and switch to raw honey. I use honey cleansing every morning because, since it gently cleanses without stripping the skin, this method reduces acne and normalizes sebum production. Raw honey also provides natural antibacterial and healing properties to soothe and clarify the skin.
2. Wash your hair with honey
Raw honey provides a moisturizing hair and scalp cleanser to leave your locks silky and smooth. Sudsing shampoos strip your scalp of protective oils, causing your hair to overproduce oil to compensate for the harsh cleaning. Honey Poo, however, balances the oil production and is also pH balanced for a healthy scalp.
3. Make healthy honey marshmallows
Store bought marshmallows typically contain the following ingredients:
corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, dextrose, water, gelatin, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, artificial flavor, and blue 1
Umm… YUCK! Talk about artificial, processed, GMO-laden ickyness. If you want to enjoy the puffy, ooey-gooey deliciousness of marshmallows without the nasty ingredients, make honey-sweetened marshmallows. As a bonus, these boast the healing properties of grassfed gelatin.
4. Stock your emergency kit
I put away a gallon of raw honey in my family’s emergency food supply because it is a perfect emergency food. First, it never spoils… archeologists have found edible honey in Egyptian tombs! Second, it provides quick energy in its perfect balance of glucose and fructose. Finally, it contains beneficial vitamins and live enzymes.
5. Make a soothing, natural honey cough syrup
Quickly relieve a cough with this herbal cough syrup. Kids (and adults) love this stuff, and it works!
- 1 quart of filtered water
- ¼ cup ginger root (fresh grated or dried)
- ¼ cup chamomile flowers (I’ve skipped this and it still works!)
- ¼ cup marshmallow root (this soothes and coats the throat)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup raw honey
Get the recipe here, at Wellness Mama.
If you don’t want to make the herbal version, simply dissolve 2 Tbs. raw honey in 1/4 cup warm water and the juice of half a lemon. Sip this as needed, it is extremely soothing.
6. Make a sweet honey lip balm
Homemade lip balm is on of the easiest DIY beauty projects. This replenishing lip balm recipe uses a bit of honey for a shiny finish.
As a side note, hand wash all the dishes you use to make beauty recipes if they contain beeswax. Do not accidentally put these dishes into the dishwasher, where the wax will clog up the valves. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
7. Enjoy better blood sugar
Evidence suggests that honey, in comparison with sugar-free sweeteners and table sugar (sucrose) may improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. In another study, diabetic patients consuming honey had lower blood sugar than the diabetic patients consuming sucrose and dextrose (1).
8. Make a heavenly, three ingredient caramel sauce
Three ingredients creates a thick, dreamy caramel sauce free of dairy and refined sugar.
9. Make homemade dark chocolate
These adorable dark chocolate cups are make with raw honey, coconut oil and cocoa powder. You can also pour the chocolate mixture into molds to make homemade chocolate bites. Delicious, healthy, and so easy!
10. Make homemade honey taffy
Everyone should experience taffy pulling in their lifetime. Grab your friends, make a batch of honey and cream taffy, and let the fun begin!
11. Make a healthy sports drink
The raw honey and sea salt in this homemade sports drink lowers the harmful stress hormones that rise during anaerobic exercise. As a bonus, this herbal sports drinks has a base of tulsi tea, an adaptogen which helps your body adapt to stress and may boost athletic endurance. I sip this sports drink every time I work out.
Do you frequently wakeup between 2am and 4am? These wakeups often mean that your levels of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are out of whack. These hormones are supposed to follow natural peaks and dips as part of the circadian rhythm, but when there is hormonal disbalance they can spike to abnormal levels.
Health researcher Matt Stone in his book Eat for Heat (which I highly recommend!) suggests sprinkling a little bit of salt and sugar on the tongue to go quickly back to sleep after these wake ups.
Why salt and sugar? Both these ingredients combat rising levels of stress hormones to reduce the adrenaline spikes. I prefer raw honey over the processed sugar, however, so I recommend keeping a little jar of salted honey on your nightstand instead of the salt and sugar mixture. A little honey and salt on a spoon and you will quickly fall back asleep!
13. Make herbal honey cough drops
Sore throat? Skip the corn syrup laden cough drops and make these easy honey-based herbal cough drops instead. The slippery elm and marshmallow root, paired with the healing raw honey, soothes and coats the throat.
14. Reduce seasonal allergies with honey
Many folks find impressive relief from seasonal allergies by taking a few teaspoons of local honey each day. The small amounts of pollen in the honey supposedly builds up an immunity to the pollen… like an allergy shot, but much tastier and without the needle!
This has not been widely studied, but one immunology journal published research that showed birch pollen honey decreased symptoms in those allergic to birch pollen. Additional studies show that honey rarely produces allergic symptoms in individuals who are allergic to pollen (2).
Make sure you are using LOCAL raw honey. The local honey contains the pollen that is causing the allergies.
15. Use it for burn treatment
Surprisingly, raw honey has been extensively studied for the treatment of burns. Not only does it soothe and heal the skin, but the natural antibacterial properties effectively prevent infection. Here is how to treat a mild burn with raw honey (warning: the article shows pictures of a mild burn). I also use raw honey instead of Neosporin when I get little cuts and scrapes for a natural antibacterial gel.
Are you a fan of raw honey? How do you use it?