Nature’s All-Purpose Miracle Drug

Features Issue 185 Apr, 2017

Discover just a few of the many amazing benefits to be found in one of nature's own sweet, delicious wonders.

At my grandparents’ home, a spoonful of honey with a dash of ginger is the cure-all when it comes to any throat-related disease, especially the flu. This isn’t a unique experience, as this is considered the go-to remedy in most, if not all, households in Nepal. One of the staples in Ayurvedic medicine, the use of honey has been well documented through history for its all-purpose medicinal properties. From helping indigestion and acidity to preventing infections in open wounds, honey truly is nature’s miracle drug.

The world’s oldest and most efficient antibacterial and anti fungal source, honey not only prevents the growth of bacteria, but it also kills the ones that it comes in contact with. Unlike regular antibiotics that have been overused to the point that we fear an epidemic of resistant bacteria evolving, raw honey has been tried and tested for centuries for its properties. As it doesn’t contain any water molecules, it provides an inhabitable environment for bacteria to grow, eventually killing them. Due to this property, raw honey can be used to protect scrapes and burns from getting contaminated and causing further trouble from infections. On the other hand, refined honey should not be placed on an open wound, as it may increase the chances of infection. So, sticking to raw honey is the safest bet.

Along with this, raw honey also has enzymes that create small amounts of hydrogen peroxide when diluted with bodily fluids. This property makes honey perfect for the treatment of skin diseases such as herpes and eczema, as well as yeast infections and gum diseases. Another use of this property comes in treating hyperacidity. As it lowers the acidity of the stomach,it is also used in the treatment of stomach ulcers. In addition, it also boosts your immunity system, reducing allergies,and works marvelously as a cough suppressant.

Honey also has moisturizing properties that can help you in many cosmetic worries, such as dry skin and dandruff. A hair mask with honey is all you need to minimize the persistence of dandruff and dry hair, as it will moisturize and enrich the scalp with nutrients. If you suffer from dry skin, using a honey-enriched skin product should help you rejuvenate your skin and keep the moisture locked for longer. Honey can also help you in reducing acne, as the enzymes can help fight the bacteria that clog your pores.

And for those trying to cut back on sugar,but prefer not to use artificial sweeteners, honey can be used as replacement, as it is naturally sweet without any of the cons of sugar. It helps in controlling cholesterol levels as it has a lower GI value, meaning it won’t raise your blood sugar levels as quickly. Another added benefit of honey is its high natural fructose level (the thing that makes it sweet) that gives it the capability of helping our body breakdown the alcohol in our system, so it can be used avoid the awful hangover headache, since the fructose metabolizes the alcohol more quickly. So, a spoonful of honey after a night out is all you need to avoid a hangover. On the topic of sleep, honey is also known to help get a good night’s sleep. A spoonful of honey before you go to sleep is all you need to wake up feeling energized and refreshed.

Honey has slowly begun to rise again as the world’s go-to medicine, but in the field of Ayurveda, it has always cemented itself as one of the core ingredients. As more and more of its benefits are being discovered, medical doctors are also beginning to recommend the use of honey instead of expensive drugs and treatments. With no expiration date and a multitude of benefits, honey truly is nature’s very own miracle drug.

Prakash Adhikari runs Mount Everest Honey Suppliers, as well as a Save the Bee program in Nepal. He says,“Nepal has a variety of bees, with some being commercial bees that are used as ‘cash crops’ and sold to farmers. Honey of four types of bees—Apis Laboriosa, Apis Dorsota, Apis Cerena, and Apis Mellifera—are sold in the market; with the first two being more difficult to cultivate. Traditionally, in Nepal, beekeepers used to cultivate honey for its medicinal and Ayurvedic properties, and to do so, they had these mudhe-gharsthat are circular in shape.” He has a variety of honey jars in his office from each of the bees mentioned above.