This month is National Honey Month, so to celebrate this sweet occasion I will be sharing the history of honey.
For some, the word honey is a sweet term of endearment, but today we will be learning about the food and not the term of endearment! Honey has lots of different benefits that many people don’t even know about. We all know that it is sticky, sweet, and of course yummy. But did you know that it has a long history and also can be used medicinally?
Honey has a deep history of use and has also been used in religion as well as symbolism. It is loaded with enzymes and also has antiseptic, antioxidant, and cleansing properties for our health and our bodies. Honey can also be used topically for cuts and scrapes as well as for skin care and beauty treatments. It is also great for sweetening your tea, baking, or even tastes great by itself.
The History Of Honey
Humans have been collecting honey for thousands of years. Archaeologists have found honey remains on the inner surface of clay vessels unearthed in an ancient tomb that dates back 4,700-5,500 years.
According to Wikipedia.org and of course the Bible, honey was used in ancient Egypt, India and China. The Mayans of Mesoamerica also used honey as a sweetener. Honey has also played a role in religions across the world and throughout history.
In Matthew 3:4, John the Baptist lived for a long period of time in the wilderness on a diet consisting of locusts and wild honey. Honey is mentioned over 60 times in the Bible.
Honey bees are a significant component in today’s agricultural market. They perform the vital function of pollination, or the transferring of pollen from plant to plant. About one-third of the U.S. diet is derived from insect pollinated plants and honey bees are responsible for about 80% of the process. Almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries are just to name a few of the major crops that depend on honey bees. Wellness Mama has a really great article on How You Can Help Save the Honey Bee. If your like me, and would like to know how honey is made, then I would encourage you to read How Honey Is Made from the National Honey Board.
Honey has surely made its mark. It has been used for consumption, art, and religion. But there is more sweetness when it comes to honey!
The Medicinal Value of Honey
For centuries, honey has been used as a kitchen staple, but honey is so much more than just a culinary staple. Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts and retains moisture, which can give your skin a natural glow and is also the perfect ingredient to add to your beauty routine. Honey is an effective and all natural energy booster that contains 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. It’s powerful healing attributes have long been used for thousands of years and is known to promote healing for cuts, ailments and diseases. Honey has also been used for centuries as a natural cough suppressant.
Raw honey is loaded with vitamins and is high in minerals which are vital for maintaining health including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese, and selenium. Amino acids are also found in honey, which are nature’s building blocks. Incredible plant compounds are found in honey that gives your immune system the boost that it needs.
There are different kinds of honey available, in fact there are more than 300 different honey varieties found in the United States. Depending on what flowers the bees are pollenating, it will affect the taste of the honey. The color, flavor, and even the aroma will vary among the different varieties. I personally like to use local honey.
Honey is naturally made for our bodies. It has so many benefits and also tastes heavenly. But honey should never be given to a baby under 1 year old because there is a risk that it could contain spores of Clostridium Botulinum Bacterium (that is a big word) which could cause infant botulism.
The Sweetness of Honey
With all of the health problems that we are plagued with today, many people are choosing to eliminate sugars from their diets. Most Americans eat way too much sugar anyway, honey is the perfect option for sweetening up your favorite desserts or smoothies. But honey should be used in moderation when it comes to diabetics or those suffering from fungal infections.
I hope you enjoyed this history of honey and how it has played a role in many religions throughout different societies, and also how honey can be used medicinally. Whether you are baking, enjoying a cup of tea, or just enjoying it by itself.
Of course the only way to end this sweet history of honey is with a recipe for Cinnamon Infused Honey. This is what I like to call “Kitchen Medicine” and I plan to share many more “kitchen medicine” recipes with you in the future! This cinnamon infused honey tastes amazing in tea, on toast, or eaten straight off the spoon. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants, has anti-fungal properties, and it also helps to break up congestion and clear sinuses. As if there aren’t enough benefits, just a 1/2 tsp. of honey per day has been shown to also lower cholesterol levels.
“Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)