Honey is a natural product made by bees from nectar which is a secretion of flowers of plants. The bees particularly of the genus Apis are known for honey production. Commercial honey production exploits bees through the perfection of bee keeping. Honey is, in effect, a natural product even at the industrial scale.
Honey has a long medicinal history; the ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds.
Today, many people use honey because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.
In addition to important roles of natural honey in traditional medicine during the past few decades, it has been subjected to laboratory and clinical investigations by several research groups and it found a place in modern medicine. Honey has been reported to have an inhibitory effect on around 60 species of bacteria, some species of fungi and viruses
The benefits are explained below:
Healthy sweetener: It can be used as a substitute for sugar in many foods and drinks. It contains about 69 per cent glucose and fructose, enabling it to be used as a sweetener which is far better for one’s overall health than normal white sugar.
Weight loss: Though it has more calories than sugar, honey helps in digesting the fat stored in one’s body. Similarly, honey with lemon juice or cinnamon helps in reducing weight.
Provides relief for cough: In 2012, a research was conducted on 300 children of age one to five years to find out the effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality. The results published in the Pediatrics Journals showed that honey could be a preferable treatment for a cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infections.
Boosts energy: According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon ; therefore, it is used by many people as a source of energy. Furthermore, the carbohydrates in it can be easily converted into glucose since it is simple for the body to digest this pure and natural substance.
Improves performance: Research has shown that honey is effective in boosting an athlete’s performance. It is a great way to maintain blood sugar levels, recuperate muscles, and restore glycogen after a workout.
Improves memory: Honey contains polyphenols that can significantly improve the memory-related functions of the brain. It counters deficits in recall functions and induces memory formation at the molecular level.
It is this modulation of neural circuitry that helps in improving memory. Research on Tualang honey, multi-floral honey found in Malaysia, showed that its intake improves the brain morphology to improve various learning and memory functions.
Rich in vitamins and minerals: It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins, minerals and their quantity depend on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Antiseptic property: It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines. In-vitro tests on different medical-grade honeys showed potent bactericidal activity even in the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause life-threatening infections in humans. However, the antimicrobial activity depends on the source of nectar.
Antioxidant properties: It contains nutraceuticals highly effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. As a result, one’s body immunity is improved against many chronic health conditions. A study on the antioxidant properties of honey, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, attributed these qualities to the presence of a wide range of compounds, which include phenolics, peptides, Maillard reaction products, organic acids, enzymes, and other minor components.
Anticancer properties: A review published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that there is growing evidence of honey’s anticancer potential. This is displayed by its antiproliferative, apoptosis, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the floral source also decides its properties. Another article published in the same journal pointed out that as a natural substance, honey is a sustainable and low-cost option in cancer care in developing nations.
Skin and hair care: Milk and honey are often served together since both of these ingredients help in creating smooth, beautiful skin. Consuming this combination every morning is a common practice in many countries for this reason. A study published in the European Journal of Medical Research investigated and confirmed the use of honey for dandruff and dermatitis. It said that crude honey could markedly improve seborrheic dermatitis, its associated hair loss and prevent relapse when applied weekly.
Speeds wound healing: Significant research is being carried out to study its benefits in the treatment of wounds. These have been listed below: honey possesses antimicrobial properties, helps in promoting autolytic debridement and deodorises malodorous wounds.
It also speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues and helps in initiating the healing process in dormant wounds.
These healing powers are not overstated. The Waikato Honey Research Unit provides details about the worldwide research being carried out on the benefits of honey in medicine.
According to a British Broadcasting Corporation report ; doctors at the Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester are planning to use it for faster recovery of cancer patients after surgery. Such research will provide scientific evidence for the beliefs held by honey lovers all over the world and will help in propagating the benefits to more people.
The Russians used honey in World War I to prevent wound infection and to accelerate wound healing. The Germans combined cod liver oil and honey to treat ulcers, burns, fistulas and boils .
Nearly all types of wounds like abrasion, abscess, amputation, bed sores /decubitus ulcers, burns, chill blains, burst abdominal wound, cracked nipples, fistulas, diabetic, malignant, leprosy, traumatic, cervical, varicose and sickle cell ulcers, septic wounds, surgical wound or wounds of abdominal wall and perineum are found to be responsive to honey therapy. Application of honey as wound dressing leads to stimulation of healing process and rapidly clears the infection. Honey has cleansing action on wounds, stimulates tissue regeneration and reduces inflammation. Honey impregnated pads act as non-adhesive tissue dressing .
Opthalmology and honey
Honey is used worldwide for the treatment of various ophthalmological conditions like blepharitis, keratitis, conjunctivitis, corneal injuries, chemical and thermal burns to the eyes . In one study, with topical application of honey as ointment, in 102 patients with non responsive eye disorders, improvement was seen in 85 per cent patients and in the remaining 15 per cent there was no disease progression. Application of honey in infective conjunctivitis reduced redness, swelling, pus discharge and time to bacterial eradication.
Helps for digestive issues
Honey is sometimes used to treat digestive issues such as diarrhoea, though there is not much research to show that it works. It is proven to be effective as a treatment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, a common cause of stomach ulcers. It is also a potent prebiotic. Prebiotics are a special form of dietary fiber that acts as a fertiliser for the good bacteria in your gut.
Soothes sore throat
Have a cold? Try a spoonful of honey. Honey is an old sore throat remedy. Add it to hot tea with lemon when a cold virus hits you.
It also works as a cough suppressant. Research has suggested that honey is as effective as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medication. Just take one or two teaspoonfuls of honey straight.
Antiviral effect of honey
In addition to antibacterial and antifungal effects, natural honey has showed antiviral effect. Al-Waili (2004) investigated the effect of the topical application of honey on recurrent attacks of herpes lesions and concluded that topical honey application was safe and effective in the management of the signs and symptoms of recurrent lesions from labial and genital herpes compared to acyclovir cream. Honey has also been reported to have inhibitory effects on rubella virus activity .
Prevents acid reflux
Research has shown that honey can reduce the upward flow of stomach acid and undigested food by lining the esophagus and stomach. This has helped to reduce the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD can cause inflammation, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Now that you know the benefits of honey, how do you eat it? You can eat it raw, add it to water or different beverages, and you can also add it to several recipes.
Honey is natural and considered harmless for adults. But pediatricians strongly caution against feeding honey to children under one year old.This is because of the risk of botulism. The spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that may make their way into honey. According to Jatinder Bhatia , MD , a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition, infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection.
For diabetics, they should consult their doctors before including honey in their diets.
The major problem is how to get pure honey; most of the honey you find in grocery stores are pasteurised. Many of the beneficial nutrients are destroyed in the process.
If you are interested in trying raw honey, buy it from a trusted local producer.
Let us look at ways to identify pure honey:
Take a teaspoon of honey, Put in a glass full of water. Adulterated honey will dissolve in water while pure honey will settle at the bottom of the glass as a lump.
Dip a dry match stick in honey, strike against the matchbox. If it lights, your honey is pure.
If you heat pure honey, it will caramelise quickly and will not become foamy. Impure honey will not caramelise.
When genuine honey is spread on a slice of bread, the bread hardens, fake honey will make the bread wet due to the moisture content.
Genuine honey does not get absorbed when poured on white blotting paper. Fake honey gets absorbed in blotting paper and leaves stains on a white piece of clothing. Honey is another gift of nature. Try to get a bottle.
‘Having sex makes men more likely to believe in God’
New research has proven that having sex could spur some sort of connection with divinity in us as human beings.
According to a Semester talk delivered by Christopher West and titled: “God, Sex and The Meaning of Life”, sex releases a chemical that is vital love and affection sharing.
The chemical, oxytocin, which plays a crucial role in social bonding, sexual reproduction in both sexes, and during and after childbirth, is also known as the “hug hormone” and “cuddle chemical”.
Oxytocin was discovered by an English pharmacologist and physiologist, Sir Henry Dale in 1906.
This bonding chemical occurs naturally within us and is stimulated during sex, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
For a long time, the chemical has been known to promote social bonding, trust, and even altruism.
Now, scientists at the North Carolina university in America say it could also incite spirituality in men too.
The many effects of bathing with warm water
We all can relate. The pressures of daily life provide a natural incentive to pace ourselves, and a warm shower or bath could act as a basic boost or relaxant, depending on the time of day.
However, research continues to prove warm water has significant benefits beyond a feel-good factor, with some studies placing its health advantages on par with physical exercise.
Here are a few reasons why choosing warm water shouldn’t only be a matter of personal preference.
Kick-starts your day, decreases stress. Heat from the water stimulates the heart to work harder and faster, thereby accelerating blood flow around the body. It’s also been proven to enhance oxytocin levels, which in turn elevates the mood and lowers stress.
According to Neil Morris, a psychologist at the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, bathing in warm water can significantly advance general psychological wellness. Morris studied 80 people who took a bath with warm water each day for a fortnight and found that it diminished feelings of depression and pessimism while developing a pleasurable, hedonic tone.
A warm shower before bedtime typically soothes the body, mind and nerves. Apart from that, warm water also affects the body’s production of melatonin – the hormone that regulates sleep.
At night, the body’s core temperature naturally falls, triggering melatonin production. A warm shower or bath around bedtime then slightly raises the body temperature, causing it to drop steeply on exiting the bathroom. This prompts a heightened production of melatonin, and more likelihood of a good night’s sleep – the benefits of which are widely recognized.
Lowers blood pressure and promotes muscle healing. Taking a regular warm bath – with its circulation and vascular function advantages – can help reduce blood pressure and stiffen blood vessels. The effect of heat-induced blood flow on the body is tantamount to a light exercise session. The warmth encourages muscles to expand and contract while loosening joints, tendons and tissues.
Although not an enduring cure for pain, five minutes under warm water can considerably ease pain, spur healing and restrict inflammation. It’s a more convenient alternative than a massage and more organic than medical treatments.
Eliminates bacteria. The elementary reason for having a bath is to cleanse ourselves. Clogged pores lead to blemishes and an accumulation of toxins in the skin. Warm water opens up skin pores, making it easier to clean out dirt and impurities. The temperature increase also has an adverse effect on most bacteria.
Taking these baths or showers is particularly useful if there’s a wound, as it helps kill bacteria, fend off infection, and promote circulation in the injured area for faster healing.
Relieves cough and cold symptoms. Nasal congestion is as a result of inflammation in the nasal passages. Inhaling steam from warm water activates the blood vessels in the face and nose, consequently opening up the airways, as well as loosening phlegm and mucus blockages that could be causing a cough or sore throat.
A warm bath also empowers the immune system to better fight viruses.
This list isn’t exhaustive – warm water’s various health merits range from weight loss to controlling diabetes. As it also has a number of physical wellness benefits, warm water bathing should not be reserved exclusively for cold weather. Warm water is proven to naturally enhance the body and facilitate a sense of calm all year round.
So the next time you contemplate a warm bath, think past the pleasant experience itself to its long-term value. Your body will thank you for it.
Boost your sex life with these eight fruits
Most people always find ways to improve their sexual experience hence scientists have linked a variety of foods that can boost sex drive.
Keeping the circulatory system in good working order is essential for healthy sex life. Better circulation can lead to an improved sexual response in men and women.
Foods that can help people improve their sex drive are commonly called ‘aphrodisiacs’, named after Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love.
Certain foods help in increasing the blood flow throughout the body. Your diet arguably has the biggest effect on how the body will function; here are foods that can boost your sex drive;
Strawberries and raspberries
The seeds of these fruits are loaded with zinc which is essential for sex for both — men and women. It is believed that women with high level of zinc in their bodies find it easier to prepare for sex.
In men, zinc controls the testosterone level which is responsible for producing the sperm. It is important that men load up on zinc as their zinc levels reduces during intercourse.
Did you know that the word “avocado” came from the Aztec word for “testicle”? Folic acid and vitamin B6 are both necessary for a healthy sex drive as contained in avocados.
Folic acid pumps the body with energy, while vitamin B6 stabilises the hormones.
Watermelon improves one’s erection and increases the sex drive.
The truth is this juicy tropical fruit does so much more than replenishing your body with fluids.
Almonds contain arginine which improves circulation and relaxes blood vessels.
This amino acid found in almonds helps you maintain an erection.
Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that boost dopamine.
It also contains arginine, an amino acid that increases the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and increases circulation.
Oysters have been associated with increased sex drive since the time of ancient Rome. With so much history behind it, the whole oyster-libido linkage probably has some truth to it.
Oysters are high in zinc, which is essential for proper functioning of the male reproductive system
Apart from the obvious shape of the fruit, it’s the potassium in bananas that can help improve your sex drive.
Since potassium helps increase muscle strength and contraction, achieving orgasms can become much easier.
Additionally, bromelain helps produce testosterone. Add a frozen banana to your post-workout smoothie or add banana slices to overnight oats for some natural sweetness.
Medically, this may not have been proven but traditionally, tiger nuts has been used as an alternative medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and related problems.
Its rich content of the Vitamin E also helps in men fertility issues as it aids in the free and active movement of the sperm which will easily swim to fertilize the egg leading to easy conception.
It also contains other vital minerals which will help boost sperm count and also improves its thickness. It also improves sex drives in both men and women.