Honey isn’t just something that gives your dish a delicious sweetness, it’s super healthy too! Check out these benefits of honey, according to Ayurveda.
Man has always been drawn to anything with the color of gold, and wars have been fought for it. This attraction also extends to a kind of liquid gold – the beautiful, viscous liquid called honey!
We’ve been using honey for a long time now, as far as 8000 years, if cave paintings are anything to go by! While for most of us honey is just a sweetener with a lovely mellow flavour, honey actually has a wide range of health benefits. And it’s not the regular vitamins and minerals we always talk about – what’s special about honey are the bioactive plant compounds and wide range of antioxidants in it.
Honey has a special place in traditional medicine like Ayurveda. Known as ‘madhu’ in Sanskrit, honey is both consumed as well as applied externally. Honey is also added to several other traditional medicines to increase its effectiveness. It is believed to balance the kapha dosha, one of the body constitutions according to Ayurveda.
With so many tall claims, it’s worth our while to take a look at honey in more detail! Let’s make it easier to understand by breaking it down into these 12 top benefits of honey, according to Ayurveda.
12 Benefits of Honey according to Ayurveda
Detoxes the Body
Honey is considered a great internal cleanser, removing all accumulated toxins from the body. While honey itself is easily digested and absorbed, it also improves the body’s digestion of other foods.
According to Ayurveda, honey acts as a laxative and clears the digestive system of accumulated waste and undigested food. It also decreases the production of acids responsible for heartburn, nausea, and vomiting as well as flatulence.
Aids Weight Loss
One important side effect of improved digestion is weight loss. When you lose all the gunk you accumulated in your body, you immediately feel lighter! Improved metabolism also ensures that you burn off calories faster. What’s more, honey is known to burn body fat, especially when consumed with a glass of warm water first thing in the morning.
Fights Chronic Illnesses
We’ve seen that honey is rich in plant-based antioxidants, and the main benefit of this is a lowered risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, stroke, heart health, and even cancer. One advantage honey has over regular refined sugar is its triglyceride levels, which are lower than that of sugar. In this regard, buckwheat honey is considered the best choice, since it has the maximum number of antioxidants.
Promotes Heart Health
Among all the chronic illnesses, honey has a particular benefit in fighting heart disease. The antioxidant compounds in honey lower blood pressure and blood triglycerides, both of which are important factors in heart health. Honey is also known for lowering bad LDL cholesterol and increasing good HDL cholesterol. Honey may increase blood flow to the heart by increasing the dilation of the arteries and preventing clot formation.
Heals Wounds and Skin Problems
Along with its many antioxidants, honey is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, which makes it an excellent substance to apply on wounds. Many forms of traditional medicine use honey as a topical treatment for wounds, burns and skin ulcers along with more serious conditions like psoriasis and herpes lesions. Honey is also a good home remedy for sunburn.
It’s no wonder that many commercial cough syrups feature honey as an ingredient – it’s because honey is perfect to treat cough. Honey helps to soothe an inflamed mucous membrane and alleviates an irritating cough. It also helps in treating other symptoms like itchy throats or trouble swallowing, without the side effects of OTC drug syrups.
Improves Skin Health
Honey is great for treating skin infections, but it’s also excellent for healthy skin. Honey is a natural humectant, drawing moisture into the skin and maintaining the moisture level. Honey is easily absorbed into the skin, making it more effective. It also helps to get rid of dead skin cells, revealing a brighter complexion.
Prevents Acne and Blackheads
Honey has the ability to unclog pores in the skin, which help prevent frequent breakouts. It also helps to get rid of excess oil and blackheads. Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that the skin is protected from acne and breakouts and that the pores stay tight and closed.
Promotes Hair Growth
It’s not just the skin that benefits from applying honey – your hair loves it too! Honey encourages the growth of epithelial cells on the scalp, promoting better hair growth. It also strengthens the follicles, awakens dormant hair follicles and helps to control hair fall. A hair mask with honey is considered an excellent way to detox the hair and cleanse the scalp.
One of the main causes of dandruff is the clogging of pores on the scalp and accumulation of dirt or product residue. Honey’s antibacterial and antiseptic qualities help to keep the scalp squeaky clean, making sure dandruff is kept at bay. Honey also keeps the scalp safe from skin infections and itchiness.
The humectant properties of honey make it a great moisturizer for skin, but it also works as a great conditioner for hair. It bonds to the molecules in water and ensures hair stays hydrated and nourished. Honey’s emollient properties help to smoothen the hair shaft, making hair shiny.
Improves Oral Health
Another medicinal use of honey in Ayurveda is as treatment for oral diseases like halitosis, gingivitis and other gum infections. Topical application on the teeth and gums prevents tartar and plaque deposits and makes teeth sparkly and strong. Honey’s antiseptic properties also prevent the growth of germs in the mouth.
To get the best results of these benefits, it is recommended to use pure, unadulterated raw honey – not the ones adulterated with sugar syrups. There are many varieties of honey – the darker types have higher antioxidant concentrations. Since it possesses anti-microbial properties, honey doesn’t spoil, even for thousands of years! So if you find a good kind of raw honey, stock up well!
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