Liquid Gold: Health Benefits of Honey
The Companion Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that,
"A man came to the Prophet Mohammad and said, 'My brother has some abdominal trouble.' The Prophet said to him: "Let him drink honey." The man returned to the Prophet and said, 'O Messenger of Allah! I let him drink honey, but it caused him more pain.' The Prophet said to him: “Go and let him drink honey”. The man went and let his brother drink honey, then returned and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, it did not cause him except more pains.' The Prophet then said: "Allah has Said the truth, but your brother's abdomen has told a lie. Let him drink honey." So he made him drink honey and he was cured." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Not everyone is aware of the health benefits of honey. Here are some of them:
· Anti-inflammatory action: It alleviates inflammation of the cornea if it is used locally on the eye.
· Facilitates healing and prevents scarring: When used in the treatment of wounds, thanks to its ability to absorb moisture from the air, honey facilitates the healing process and prevents scarring. This is because honey stimulates the growth of epithelial cells that form the new skin cover over a healed wound. In this way, even in case of large wounds, honey may eliminate the need for tissue transplantation.
· Tissue regrowth: Honey stimulates the re-growth of tissue involved in the healing process. It stimulates the formation of new blood capillaries and the growth of fibroblasts that replace the connective tissue of the deeper layer of the skin and produce the collagen fibers that give strength to the repair.
· Reduces swelling: Honey has an anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the swelling around a wound. This improves circulation and thus hastens the healing process. It also reduces pain.
· Used as an ointment: Honey does not stick to the underlying wound tissues, so there is no tearing away of newly formed tissue, and no pain, when dressings are changed.
· Antimicrobial natural dressing agent: Thanks to its aforementioned antimicrobial property, honey provides a protective barrier to prevent wounds from becoming infected. It also rapidly clears any existing infection from wounds. It is fully effective, even with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike antiseptics and antibiotics, there is no impairment of the healing process through adverse effects on wound tissues.
· Fights infection: Some studies showed that honey is a good treatment against hospital infection bacteria "superbugs", for example, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
· Bactericidal agent: As honey does not act as a medium for the growth of bacteria, this bactericide (bacteria-killing) property of honey is named "the inhibition effect." There are various reasons of this anti-microbial property of the honey. Some examples are: the high sugar content that limits the amount of water microorganisms need for growth, its high acidity (low pH) and composition which deprive bacteria from nitrogen necessary for reproduction. The existence of hydrogen peroxide as well as antioxidants in the honey prevents bacteria growth.
· Antioxidant action: Antioxidants are the components in cells that get rid of harmful byproducts of normal metabolic functions. These elements inhibit destructive chemical reactions that cause spoilage of food and many chronic illnesses. Researchers believe food products rich in antioxidants may prevent heart problems and cancer. Certain antioxidants like Pinocembrin are found exclusively in honey.
· Treatment for ulcers: Honey is used to treat gastric and duodenal ulcers, as it decreases the secretion of hydrochloric acid to a normal rate, thus helping to heal such ulcers and alleviate the pain and side effects like vomiting and colic. For the treatment to be effective, honey should be taken dissolved in warm water one or two hours before meals.
· Treatment for enuresis: Honey can be used to treat involuntary urination during the night. Such a disease could due to psychological or neurological causes. If the child is given one small spoon of honey before sleeping, this will have a positive effect, as honey has a sedative effect on the nervous system. Concentrated sugar also helps to absorb water from the child body.
· Helps blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis.
· Treatment for respiratory diseases: Honey is used to treat colds, flu and pharyngitis.
· Treatment for liver disorders: Honey is used to treat cases of chronic hepatitis, as it increases the glycogen stores in the liver by increasing the blood glucose level, thus helping the liver to function properly.
· Treatment for insomnia: Honey has a sedative action on the nerves, as it contains tonic minerals like sodium and potassium.
· Treatment for alcoholic poisoning: Honey is one of the main nutrients prescribed in hospitals and de-addiction clinics to alcohol addicts, as it protects the liver from alcoholic poisoning. Fructose and vitamin B group in the honey helps oxidize the alcohol remaining in the body.
· For treating cough.
· In cosmetics: A mixture of honey with lemon and glycerin is considered of the best old medical prescription for the treatment of skin cracking and roughness, the inflammation and wounds of lips, sun stroke, and dermal pigments. Many ointments and creams contain honey as the main element for the treatment of skin diseases.
· For treating muscular spasms of the face and eyelid muscles. A simple cure involving honey is to have one big spoon of honey for three days after each meal.