Oh honey. That decadent gooey substance we sweeten our tea with and slather on toast. Its namesake is a term of endearment, if for no other reason, than it can elevate a chicken nugget to a whole new level.
But wait, it's also so good for you! Honey can do wonders for your skin, ease a cough, provide relief from allergies, heal a burn and help you sleep. How can this be? How can something so delicious be so good for you?
It all starts with those adorable little bees, of course. Once a worker bee finds a flower, she drinks the nectar, swallows it, adds an enzyme and regurgitates it as honey. Ok, she vomits it up.
This enzyme, glucose oxidase, is extra special because, in the regurgitating process, it releases hydrogen peroxide. Thus, honey becomes antibacterial and able to kill food born pathogens such as E. Coli and Salmonella as well as making it safe for topical healing applications such as burns and cuts.
But one drop of honey is surely not enough, so the worker bee continues buzzing from flower to flower in roughly a four mile radius from the hive, picking up bits of pollen with each stop. This pollen, which causes us so many annoying allergies and respiratory issues, winds up in the honey in minute amounts. Ergo, when we consume local honey, our bodies are building up an immunity to the flora in our area.
Fun fact: It takes about 556 worker bees (all of which are female, btw) visiting roughly 2 million flowers to produce 1lb of honey.
When the honey first arrives back at the hive, its content is still highly water based. The honeycomb allows air to circulate the honey, leaving the syrupy substance in a perfectly humectant state once the water has evaporated. When applied to skin, it is able to attract moisture and hold it in. Combine this with the naturally occurring acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory effects and you have an ideal remedy for anything from a mild cough to a burning rash.
So go ahead, indulge yourself. It's good for you!