No wonder the word “honey” is a term of endearment. What could be sweeter and more appealing than the rich golden liquid? Honey can be enjoyed on cereal, toast, in yogurt, and on pancakes, and as a sweetener for green tea.
Honey is much more than just a liquid sweetener. It’s one of the oldest medicines known to man. Historically, honey has been used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, skin ulcers, wounds, urinary diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff. Modern science has validated many of these timeless treatments. New research has demonstrated that honey inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast, fungi, and viruses.
Honey contains at least 181 known organic compounds, and its antioxidant properties come from certain phenolics, peptides, organic acids, and enzymes it contains. Honey also contains salicylic acid, minerals, alpha-tocopherol, and oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides help increase the number of beneficial bacteria in our digestive system, reduce levels of toxic metabolites in the intestine, help prevent constipation, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Tests have shown honey’s antioxidant qualities vary depending on the floral source of the honey as well as how it was processed. In general, the darker the color of the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants. For example, Illinois buckwheat honey, the darkest honey tested, had twenty times the antioxidant activity of California sage honey, one of the lightest-colored honeys tested. Overall, color predicted more than sixty percent of the variation in honey’s antioxidant capacity.