Honey is the sweet, syrupy elixir of the gods. Ancient Egyptians baked honey cakes to placate their deities, and Olympic athletes downed swigs of honey to fuel their bodies on the way to championship glory. Over the centuries, honey has been used as a sweetener, a medicinal cure, and even as a weapon of war. Historically speaking, honey has always been, well, the bee’s knees. More practically, honey already has its place in your kitchen. I know I love to drizzle mine on toast and add it to morning pick-me-up smoothies.
Ready to get your hands sticky? Enjoy every last drop to reap the benefits!
1. Alleviate allergies
If you sneeze and sniffle through transitional seasons, try adding a spoonful of honey to your breakfast before you head out the door. It's ironic, since the culprit for our misery is pollen -- which bees, in turn, use to make honey -- but some doctors dictate that this gradual desensitizing can alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
We all heard this beauty mantra growing up from our mothers, right? Ward off wrinkles with this secret (and significantly less expensive than anything store-bought) skin-renewing elixir. Legend has it that one of history's most beautiful women, Cleopatra, even took daily baths in it. Due to its antioxidants, honey makes for a rich moisturizer.
3. Get a great night's sleep
Do you suffer from insomnia? The days are getting shorter so nighttime descends sooner, but that doesn't necessarily mean you feel ready for bed. Tossing and turning is no way to catch your beauty sleep. If your circadian rhythm is out of whack, a tablespoon of honey in your tea can help deepen your quality of sleep. (Even better, add a soothing herb like lavender or mint to the mix.)
4. Soothe a sore throat
This time of year means crisp autumn mornings and cool breezes ... but that also means dry skin, chapped lips, and (gasp) flu season. Keep this head-to-toe home remedy at the ready -- it helps suppress coughing and soothe sore throats as effectively as the common cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. You'll be more than prepared for that next sick day.
5. Fight infection
Have a slip at the stove or cutting board? Don't worry, we've all been there. Honey serves as a salve for burns, cuts, and scrapes. So keep a jar of it handy -- it can be a long walk to the medicine cabinet.
6. Boost energy
According to clinical studies reported by the U.S. National Honey Board, honey is a natural fuel that, unlike refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup, won't leave you feeling depleted. Kiss your sugary afternoon coffee goodbye.
Try it out: Below, watch Sarah Carey make a delicious mango-citrus honey smoothie.
7. Promote healthy (and delicious) eating
No pantry is complete without this natural sweetener. Its proven properties for fighting heart disease and even cancer give you the best excuse in the world to spoon honey into everything and anything. The goopy golden nectar gives a gleaming finish to so many recipes. Drizzle it on crusty toast or a fruit salad, swirl it into a smoothie, smear it on an Apple Honey Almond Sandwich, mix it into a creme brulee or these pretty Honey-Saffron Panna Cottas -- and yes, even pizza!
Is your sweet tooth still unsatisfied? Browse more of our sweet recipes and ideas.