Once upon a time, we had a beehive in our backyard. I loved being an amateur beekeeper and we especially loved having a source of (really) local honey. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t love the occasional stings from stepping on a bee, and we had a devastating winter and wax moths took over the hive.
Health Uses for Honey
Our love of raw, local honey stuck around though, and while we don’t use it that often in cooking or eating (since we try to really limit sugar and fructose), I still have many daily uses for honey.
1. As a Natural Face Wash
Sound strange? I thought so too at first, but after trying it, I am a believer.
I usually use the oil cleansing method to cleanse my skin naturally, but if I wear makeup or need to wash my face more than once per day, I use honey.
Honey is naturally antibacterial and is a much gentler way to cleanse skin than harsh soaps and detergents. It doesn’t strip the skin’s natural oils but can hep soften skin and remove blackheads or whiteheads.
Here’s how to wash your face with honey.
2. To Speed Skin Recovery from Cuts and Burns
The same antibacterial properties that make honey excellent as a natural face wash make it wonderful for speeding recovery from cuts and burns.
Raw manuka honey is now being used in medical settings to help protect wounds (especially with burns) and speed recovery. I’ve seen it work several times in our family- once when my husband had a bad cut on his foot and once when I sliced through most of my finger with a spiral slicer. (The picture on the left is only four days after a really severe cut that bled for almost an hour and that opened back up twice the first night. The combination of topical honey with lavender essential oil and consuming a lot of gelatin helped it heal incredibly fast.)
There are some specific tips for using honey to speed recovery from cuts and burns in this post, but from that article:
“Regular raw/manuka honey can be used and I keep both of those on hand, but I also keep a specific medical-grade honey on hand since it has been verified to have a high concentration of manuka for additional antibacterial properties. I have the following three things at our house for burns and cuts:
- Medihoney Gel for burns and cuts
- Medihoney wound paste
- Medihoney wound dressings for big wounds“
3. Honey as A Cough Remedy
In the rare event that someone in our family comes down with a cold or flu, I use honey to make a natural herbal remedy.
This is one of the most simple natural uses for honey. I combine herbs like Ginger, Cinnamon and Marshmallow Root with raw honey to create a natural cough suppressant that also boosts the immune system to help the body bounce back more quickly.
Here’s the recipe: Natural Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe
4. Herbal Cough Drops
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even make herbal cough drops with honey and herbs. I’ll warn you, it can be tricky to get just right and really frustrating if you lose a batch, but if you manage to get them just right, the resulting cough drop is really effective and free of the artificial flavors and dyes that most cough drops have.
Natural homemade cough drop recipe.
5. Honey Shampoo
Honey isn’t just food for the skin- it is good for hair as well. I usually use my homemade mud shampoo or my coconut milk shampoo, but sometimes, when I want my hair to be extra silky, I’ll wash or rinse with raw honey.
The method is simple: just massage a small amount of honey into the scalp and hair and rinse. It is like a shampoo and conditioner in one and it works really well.
I often follow this with my homemade sea spray if I want extra volume or just let my hair air dry for super-silky hair.
6. For DIY Marshmallows
Store bought marshmallows are a disgusting combination of corn syrup, sugar, cornstarch, emulsifiers, and artificial flavors and colors. Traditional marshmallows (while still high in natural sugars) were a much better alternative of real food sweeteners and gelatin (which has many benefits itself).
We don’t make them often, but occasionally we make homemade probiotic marshmallows with real marshmallow root, raw honey, probiotics and gelatin. These are a great treat for the kids without the artificial ingredients.
7. Natural Sleep Aid
I don’t usually have trouble sleeping, but when I do, I have a simple go-to remedy that has never failed me. I simply scoop out a teaspoon or so of raw, organic honey and sprinkle it with about 1/2 tsp of salt. Instant sleep.
From my understanding (thanks to my wonderful doc), in a perfect world, we would have a natural cortisol spike in the morning, which would slowly decline through the day and reach a low at night. This isn’t happening in most cases (a topic for a post of its own) but many people have elevated cortisol at night.
Dr. Christianson talks about the importance of not consuming carbs in the morning and consuming them in the evening (from certain sources) since carbs naturally raise insulin and lower cortisol. You don’t want this in the morning, but when it is hard to fall asleep, this is exactly what you need.
It sounds crazy but it works wonders.
p.s. Honey isn’t the only wonderful thing bees make! Find out more about why I have bee pollen and bee propolis in my kitchen cabinet as well. (Although admittedly they are not as delicious!)
How have you used honey? Any other unusual uses I missed? Share them below in the comments! 🙂
Discussion (57 Comments)
Hi. I’m curious if anyone could point me in the direction of uses for bee pollen? I’ve been doing some mild research. Someone gave it to me, but couldn’t tell me how to use it. 😉 Thanks!
Bee Pollen is great for lots of things including increased energy, stronger immunity, anti-inflammatory and can help alleviate seasonal allergies if taken from a local source (within a 100 mile radius of where you live). you are essentially desensitizing yourself to the allergens causing you problems by ingesting small amounts daily. It can also suppress appetite therefore aiding in weight loss. It is a complete food meaning you could live off of it and water alone if you wanted to. It contains protein, amino acids, antioxidants and every essential element human bodies require. Bee pollen can also potentially help balance hormones, particularly during menopause.
I recommend raw, organically sourced pollen for the best benefits and starting slowly, just a few granules to start and gradually building up to a half teaspoon per day or more. The taste is “unique”. You’re literally eating the pollen that the bees have gathered from the plants and trees. I typically toss it back with water like a pill or slip it into smoothies, on top of yogurt, or even sprinkled over cooled oatmeal. High heat can degrade it.
We raise bees in northeast Ohio using organic beekeeping methods on 18 acres of chemical-free fruit trees, wildflower, herbs and clover. I swear by bee pollen for more stamina, mental clarity and immune defense. It just feels good!
Do you have a website that you sell products on?
I have used honey as a face wash at times and love it. I use the oil cleansing method every evening. Sometimes all I use in the morning is a warm washcloth,but if I have a little extra time I will massage a small amount of raw honey all over my face, and leave it on while I do my oil pulling. I rinse it off in the shower. Skin looks and feels wonderful!
Honey, I’m a honey fanatic! I’ve heard about washing my face with it, but I’m a bit of a hoarder and I’m still trying to get through all my face wash products, so it will be a while haha. As for a sleep aid I never knew that! It explains a lot though, I always have a cup of herbal tea and honey before bed <3. Thanks for the info.
Passing #7 onto my son who’s always had problems falling asleep. Keeping my fingers crossed that it works for him. Thanks!
I saw this article yesterday, and right before bed last night, I had some decaf tea with a good bit of honey in it. Last night I slept great for the first time in several weeks. I feel so joyful today! I can’t thank Wellness Mama enough for all the beneficial tips I’ve gotten here, but to be able to fall asleep and sleep fairly soundly all night? There aren’t words.
It makes me proud to be a beekeeper.
Hi, I’m looking for a good Natural Bodywash recipe.. I’ve been making one with Br. Bronner’s castile liquid soap, honey and vit E oil and essential oil (which I love) but I wanted to see what Katie might have to try but can’t find one on her site…Thanks!
I’m going to try this today! I love your ideas and am slowly working on making our household more natural and clean- we started with eating and I’m moving on to making products.
for waxing! I have tried this but not successfully yet. sugar, honey and lemon juice (: great idea if we could get the method down!
I’m just curious…what purpose does the salt serve in the sleep aid? Is it just you cut the sweetness of the honey, or does the salt do something critical? Thanks!
Good question. There is some evidence that salt, in the right amounts, is calming for the nervous system and good for the adrenals. Some sources say it may help inhibit the release of adrenaline, and there’s evidence that those on a low sodium diet may have sleep disturbances.
My husband and son are beekeepers. Yes, there is the occasional sting, but it is so worth it. Two of our children have suffered spring allergies. Last year was our first honey harvest and we make sure we eat a small amount every day. This past spring, neither boy had any allergy reaction.
Unfortunately, more honey is consumed in America than is produced in America. Honey that comes from Asia is often adulterated with high fructose corn syrup or other unhealthy ingredients. One study (no, I don’t have the reference) showed that approximately 70% of grocery store honey was not pure honey. And some of the remaining honey had been pasteurized (heated) which means it has lost the wonderful benefits described above!
Please support your local beekeeper. Get to know them, and seek a trustworthy supplier of this precious health food.
I love raw, unpasteurized, honey! It’s the only way I’ll buy it!
Great post, I may have to try it as a face wash!
I’ve always treated minor kitchen/cooking burns with honey, and I also use it to sweeten my coffee sometimes (instead of indulging in that sugar craving). I love honey and lemon in hot water to help me digest and relax after dinner, too.
We don’t use honey often but we do like it occasionally with tea in place of sugar. I have heard that when honey is heated to high temperature it becomes toxic for consumption. Was wondering if you know anything about that?
It doesn’t become toxic, as I understand it, but it does kill the beneficial properties of the honey, making it no better than organic sugar…
I HAVE USED RAW HONEY FOR MY ALLERGIES. IT HAS WORKED WONDERS BECAUSE IT IS LIKE TAKING A FLU SHOT. YOUR BODY GETS IMUNE TO THE POLLEN.
I have read that too, so I dont use honey w/tea anymore unless it’s warm & not hot.
I use it for my tea. I have one of the machines that dispenses hot and cold water. I get the hot, which is REALLY hot, then I just add enough cold to a temp. that won’t ruin the nutritional value of the honey.
I also use honey for burns and skin infections. If you get the honey on right when you burn yourself, it will not blister or hurt. When I had a “lapover” sometimes if I didn’t dry well underneath it would become infected. I just used honey and it didn’t take any time for the infection to go away. I also put honey on my face and leave on for about 1/2 hr. Really makes your skin smooth.
WHAT IS ACV? there where some good comments on the blogs i read and some great ideas i may try some and see if they work.
ACV= Apple Cider Vinegar.