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It’s so much more than a sweetener.
Chances are you have a jar of honey in your kitchen cabinet, but you should really stash a second pot in your medicine cabinet as well. That’s right — in addition to being one of our favorite all-natural sweeteners, the delicious product created by bees from flower nectar actually has some surprising health benefits.
But before we get into all the great things honey can do for your body, let’s look at why it’s so good. Composed primarily of water and sugar — mainly fructose and glucose — as well as the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide, honey includes health-boosting vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Plus, it’s a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, opening the door to a whole lot of healing.
There are over 300 different kinds of honey available just in the United States alone. The color, flavor and aroma are all affected by the flower nectar and bee involved.
But what kind of honey is best? Many people believe that the raw, unfiltered type (as it exists in the beehive) is better for you. When it comes to topical treatments, the pollen grains do have great antioxidants and antibiotic properties. (Look for the “raw honey” label on online, at the grocery store or farmer’s market.)
As for eating it though, processed or filtered honey — the kind that doesn’t have fine particles, pollen grains or air bubbles — boasts very similar properties, according to a 2012 study by the National Honey Board.
So what about those health benefits? It’s worth noting that, anecdotally and culturally, there are tons of ways to use honey. It’s a common home remedy for soothing an upset stomach, curing skin infections and alleviating allergies, but there isn’t a whole lot of modern research confirming these claims. Instead, these are four of the strongest, scientifically-proven perks to using nature’s sweetener.
A daily dose of tualang honey (about 3 teaspoons) could help improve the memory of postmenopausal women, according to a 2011 study published in Menopause. After 16 weeks, the participants’ short-term memory had improved just as much as that of those who had received estrogen and progestin therapy.
Someone should tell Mary Poppins that a just a spoonful of honey helps the cough go away! Children with upper respiratory tract infections who drank 1.5 teaspoons of eucalyptus, citrus or labiatae honey 30 minutes before bedtime saw more cough relief and slept better than sick kids who received a placebo, says a 2012 study in Pediatrics
This sweet substance should be a first-aid kit staple, especially when it comes to ailments like abrasion, bed sores and cracked nipples. Because of its antibacterial properties, honey helps clean wounds, reduce inflammation and promote new tissue growth, according to a 2017 study. Simply put enough honey on a bandage to cover the affected area (researchers found this to be more effective than putting it on the wound itself) and apply.
You know that initial pain after getting burned from the stove, sun or curling iron? Well, if you have honey on hand, it can help soothe your skin, according to a 2013 study. Not only will it help reduce discomfort, but also (you guessed it!) help the burn heal faster. 


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