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The Many Benefits of Honey

By , Robert S., SparkPeople Contributor
What is one food that was eaten thousands of years ago, is still eaten today in probably the exact same form, and is just as good for you today as it was then?  Honey!   Some refer to honey as liquid gold because in the good old days honey was the only opportunity many people had to eat something sweet, so it was considered a great and rare treat.

General Health Benefits

Honey offers benefits to the entire body.  A tablespoon of honey only has a little more than 60 calories. Honey is fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free.  No wonder health conscious people add honey to their tea rather than sugar or a sweetener substitute.  Honey is comprised of 80% carbohydrates, 18% water, and a 2% mix of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, so honey adds a mighty health wallop.

Help Ditch the Cough

Honey is a cough suppressant.  In a 2012 study, the journal Pediatrics recommended that when children between the ages of one and five years take two teaspoons of honey 30 minutes before bed, they coughed less, which made falling asleep easier.  Although the exact reason honey helps is unknown, most believe that honey coats and soothes the throat, especially the nerve endings that might cause the “itch” creating the cough.  Honey can also be used to treat upper respiratory tract infections.


Honey can also help people who have trouble falling asleep.  Honey can help create a release of serotonin.  Serotonin helps improve a person’s mood, which in turn makes sleep come easier, and honey even improves the quality of sleep a person gets.  Another sleep benefit of honey is that some of the amino acids in honey include tryptophan, which is the same amino acid in turkey that tends to make it harder to stay awake after the big Thanksgiving meal. 

Allergy Relief

Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that sooth coughs and other allergy symptoms.  Although the scientific evidence is harder to prove, the anecdotal proof is evident.  Additionally, naturopathic doctors have been prescribing honey for people with allergies for years.  One belief is that the pollen has antibodies that when introduced to the body helps decrease, over time, the body’s reaction to pollen.

Energy Drinks

With only 17 grams of carbohydrates in a tablespoon, and because it offers unprocessed sugar, honey can be a benefit as an energy drink.  The fructose and glucose of honey enters the blood stream directly, which means drinking a honey-based energy drink right before a workout pays dividends immediately, and it continues to offer an assist during longer, more involved workouts.

Cancer Fighter

Some of the properties found in honey are also found in anti-carcinogen meds and other foods.  Yearly, there are more and more studies that indicate that honey has a role to play in the prevention of cancer, and in the prevention of the formation of tumors.

Cuts and Burns

Who knows why the first Egyptian found this out, but honey is beneficial for people who are suffering from cuts and burns.  Honey has antiseptic properties that keep wounds clean and free from infections.  It is believed that honey is able to take moisture from the air and to promote healing while keeping bacteria away.  Honey has even been recognized as a successful treatment for athlete’s foot, yeast infections, and arthritis pain.


In the unlikely event that a person would drink too much and wake up with a hangover, honey has been found to be one of the more effective and reliable home remedies.  Honey helps sooth the stomach, and it even allows the liver to expel remnants of alcohol faster.  A simple recipe for a hangover cure is to take eight parts orange juice, seven parts natural yogurt, and 1.5 parts honey and blend them together.

Honey is one of the best natural remedies and natural preventatives a person can find.  Like most foods, it is most effective when taken in moderation.  Whether you’re suffering from a cold or allergies, or if you want to ensure that you’re doing all you can to fend off cancer, honey offers many benefits.

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DONIGOODY 10/21/2020
Honey and cinnamon are amazing for joint pain Report
Honey healed my friend’s diabetic foot ulcer (sore)! Doctor said it would need surgery. Apply 100% natural honey directly to the spot, daily. It was nothing short of amazing. No further treatment necessary. Honey is truly powerful medicine. Report
CECELW 8/26/2020
i have honey everyday in my tea Report
LISAMARIE2015 8/26/2020
😁 Report
MJ7DM33 8/26/2020
Good read! Thanks! Report
LUVNMEA4MEA 8/26/2020
I use honey when I get a cold sore. It works great if u catch it at the beginning and a lot cheaper than $20 abreva! Report
MWHIGGINS 8/26/2020
The more I read about honey the more amazing it is Report
BONNIE1552 8/26/2020
Interesting. Thanks. Report
I recently looked at a label on supermarket honey and discovered that it included honey from four different countries. I will be buying my honey from the local beekeeper at the farmers market from now on. Report
Thank you for the beneficial information about Honey for I did not know as much as you posted so again thank you. Report
AQUAGIRL08 8/26/2020
Very interesting! Report
RCLYKE 8/26/2020
Great info Report
DXTECH 8/26/2020
I use honey to substitute for sugar in my bread making and cooking. As a diabetic I have to limit honey as well as sugars. I do use it for coughs/colds and would like t try it for sleep help. LOL I do want to say that thought it was hilarious that the only recipe they gave for all of the above was the one for hangovers. ???? Report
AZMOMXTWO 8/26/2020
thank you Report
It needs to be local honey to get allergy benefits. Check out your local farmer’s market or call Ag extension to see if you have any honey producers within 20 miles. I’m lucky we have several in my area, even our high school Report
TERRY3 8/26/2020
I use honey on cereal and sometimes drizzled on greek yogurt! Report
-POOKIE- 8/26/2020
Interesting. It certainly is useful. Report
DEE107 6/15/2020
thanks Report
RAPUNZEL53 5/13/2020
Thanks Report
ALUKOWSKY 5/13/2020
I have always loved honey, but it is still SUGAR, so I have sworn off it. The only time I use it now is for making a "hot toddy" on the rare occasions I suffer a miserable cold. Report
I add honey to cereal sometimes and waffles when I get them. Report
So glad to read this. My family has been eating honey our entire lives ( grandfather was a bee keeper). Report
I think you can go overboard with honey , at least
I know how quickly the caliries can add up. Personally, it is ny favourite in coffee, in yogurt, on toast, but I must monitor amounts carefully. Report
Good to know. Report
thanks for sharing this Report
Thanks for the article. I use honey daily, and love it! Report
I have managed to give up both white sugar and fake sugar substitutes for organic natural honey. One of the better things I have done on my back to health journey. Report
Don't like the taste of honey, or how cloying it is. BUT--I do enjoy baked goods that use honey as a sweetener. 6 of 1, half-dozen of another, I guess. Report
Honey is also very good for the hair. Honey mixed with olive oil is an excellent remedy to restore hair. Report
Good blog. My mom used to give me a heaping teaspoon of honey when I was a child and had a sore throat or a cough. She also would give us tea with lemon and honey when we had colds. I think some of these old remedies are head's above all the chemicals we shove in our bodies today. Another old remedy I remember is my dad would make me a tea by boiling bay leaves in water. He would strain it and add a teaspoon of honey or sugar and I'd drink it as soon as it was cool enough to do so. It really got rid of a belly ache! Report
I have honey in my cabinet and very seldom use it. This is an excellent article and most of this I did not know. I will be using my honey much more now that I know this. Thank you. Report
Haven't had a need for this in years; but, have found ginger tea (slice and boil the root in water, remove root after boiling) along with a little local honey and fresh squeezed lemon to be an excellent sore throat remedy for me. Report