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Food by Letter – H is for Honey

H is for Honey

Honey

Mmmmm, honey! That yummy, magical substance only produced by honeybees and enjoyed the world over. The first record of beekeeping (and honey eating) dates back to 2400 B.C., in Cairo. For millennia, people around the world, including the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, and–of course–Bendites, have enjoyed the sweet substance.

Honey is most commonly used as a sweetener. After all, it’s made up of 70% percent sugar…the rest is water, minerals, and protein. What do we love most about honey? Read on for some of our favorite trivia about the nectar of the gods.

To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers, fly over 55,000 miles and will be the lifetime work of approximately 768 bees.

Back in the 11th century, Germans held honey as a high-valued commodity. In fact, lords of Germany used to force peasants to make payments to them in honey. A single honeybee will only produce approximately 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

When stored in an airtight container, honey can last indefinitely. The substance is naturally acidic and low in moisture, which means it is an inhospitable environment for bacteria.
Honey has antibacterial properties, so it has been relied on as a health food and topical treatment. Burns, cuts, infections, stomach ailments, and more have been treated with honey (more on that below).

FBL Tips and Tricks

Surprisingly, honey is just as versatile outside of the kitchen as it is inside. Here are some of the top medical uses for honey.

Soothing Burns: Honey has been used as a salve to heal burns and prevent infections for thousands of years, according to the Mayo Clinic. Results also show that honey may reduce burn healing time.

Diabetes: Honey has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels the way sugar will. This makes honey a better option than sugar for diabetics. In one study, researchers found that swapping honey for pure sugar is an effective way to keep blood sugar levels steady.

A sore throat remedy: Suffering from a scratchy, tight sore throat? Next time, trickle a spoonful of honey down your throat for a sweet and soothing feeling that will help you sleep through the night. You can also add honey to a cup of hot tea to do this, too!

Sunburn relief: For burns, mix together 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice and put it on the sunburned area. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off with water.

Homemade lip balm: Help heal chapped lips by combining honey, beeswax, olive oil, and cocoa butter for a nourishing homemade lip balm.

Fight Insomnia: There’s a specific type of insomnia called “early waking,” which is where you don’t have trouble falling asleep, but you wake up after a few hours and are unable to get back to sleep. A teaspoon of honey with a sprinkling of salt will help reset the stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that are responsible for keeping you awake.

The moral of this sweet story: pack some of this sticky cure-all in your first-aid kit for your next road trip, hike, or camping adventure, and add a jar to your bathroom beauty stash!