Honey – The skincare ingredient of choice throughout the ages
Honey is a commodity that is liked by all, from Cleopatra to Kendall Jenner, honey has mesmerized many through different eras. In general, honey is derived from beehives and then further processed in factories, and at the end of the day, it reaches the customer.
Generally, honey has uses in food applications. Whether as an additive or for end-use, honey is most popular in the food industry. But honey finds application in another domain which originated in India, i.e. medicine. Traditional medicine makes use of honey for its curative properties. It has been used to treat mouth burns and also cold.
What does honey contain?
Honey is rich in carbohydrates such as fructose and glucose, which provides energy when consumed. Another important constituent of honey is that it contained both essential and non-essential amino acids (except for asparagine and glutamine). Essential amino acids are those that are required by our body for survival, but our body is not able to produce them on its own. Thus, consuming honey can help introduce these into our body. Honey additionally also has some proteins, vitamins, minerals and even polyphenols. It is these ingredients that impart the medicinal properties of honey.
What medicinal properties does honey have?
Sushruta was the first physician to have developed a connection between diagnosing disease and finding an effective prognosis to treat it. He made use of natural ingredients and observed for potential benefits. Honey was one of them.
- Antioxidant – Honey, as mentioned, contains polyphenols. These polyphenols impart the antioxidant property. They prevent heart diseases and are proven to check cancer.
- Antimicrobial – Due to the high concentration of sugar and enzymes, honey has been proven to prevent bacterial and fungal growth.
- Anti-inflammatory – Especially used during cold, honey helps in providing relief to sore throat and reduces any swelling in your throat.
- Anti-proliferative – Proliferation of cells or rapid growth of cells is what takes place in a tumour or a cancerous cell. It replicates and spreads the tumour/cancer. Honey potentially inhibits proliferation. Multiple research work has been undertaken, and there is sizeable evidence backing this claim.
An overview of the regenerative properties of honey
When you were young, you might have had a mouth ulcer, and it must have hurt a lot. Then, your grandmother might have suggested that you apply a little honey on the inflamed area. After using, you must have immediately felt a wave of relief. And in some days’ time, your ulcer healed. You might not have realized it then, but it was honey that reduced the inflammation, healed the scar and allowed new tissue to develop over it after healing the ulcer. If you have never experienced this, try it the next time you develop a mouth ulcer.
There are enough studies and evidence to prove that honey aids in the repair of damaged cells and the growth of health newer cells. Depicted as one of the oldest medicines in history, honey has been used by the Egyptians and Indians. And this age-old medicine is gaining attention in the modern medicine era. Honey stimulates cell growth and thus prevents the use of skin grafts or dressing. Whether it is the ulcer in your mouth or a scar that you got after falling, honey can fasten the healing process.
How does honey help repair damaged cells?
What honey does is that its viscous nature completely envelops the wound. Due to the high concentration of sugars, it prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. Then its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties allow your native body cells to regenerate and heal the wound. The enzymes in honey prevent any further cell damage and expedite the cellular healing mechanism. There is substantial evidence which proves that honey heals wound much faster than conventional dressings.
Usage of honey at home for its healing properties
- Ulcers – Mouth ulcers are a pain to everyone and cause an enormous amount of discomfort. A drop of honey on the ulcer directly will provide with not just relief but faster recovery. Initially, it will burn a bit, but then it’ll numb the area and will promote healing
- Acne and pimples– Acne and pimples are caused due to the growth of harmful bacteria in the oily environment, and applying honey can have a positive effect in removing the bacteria. Honey will also prevent scarring. Apply a little natural honey on the acne and leave it for 15 mins and then wash with warm water. This should be performed before sleeping.
- Burns – Honey has been proven for its abilities to help in the healing of partial-thickness burns and also wounds that have become infected after an operation. Honey will prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms and aid in cell repair. For minor burns, honey can be directly applied to the skin and left as it is. But for major burns, it should be used as per the physician’s instructions.