10 Impressive Health Benefits of Honey

Updated: Dec. 08, 2022

Honey might add sweetness to your food, but it also keeps your body healthy and your skin glowing. Don't miss these benefits of honey.

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Hands scooping honey hand scrub out of a jar.
Taste of Home

Moisturize Skin

The cure for dry, chapped winter hands may be sitting in your pantry. Honey acts as a natural moisturizer because the sugar molecules hold water in the skin, says dermatologist Patricia Farris, MD. Try our four-ingredient honey hand treatment at home or look for skin care products containing honey extract at the store. Our favorites are Burt’s Bees Hand Salve and Bee Naturals Honey Sugar Scrub.

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child eating honey
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Suppress Coughs

Another health benefit of honey? It can help fight that pesky cough. This natural sweetener has been found to be just as effective as a typical over-the-counter dosage in suppressing coughs and easing irritation. Take 2 teaspoons before bed to ease nighttime coughing and help you sleep. Or better yet, squeeze some into a hot toddy for an adults-only remedy. Do you think honey has an expiration date? The best thing about pure honey is that when stored correctly, it can last forever.

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Honey being poured into wooden bowl
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Use as a Body Wash

Believe it or not, honey belongs in your shower, too. This powerhouse ingredient hydrates skin and kills bad bacteria that can cause acne or body odor. To make a fuss-free body wash, combine 2 teaspoons of honey with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. You can easily turn this recipe into a body scrub by adding 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. (For another healthy skin care product that you can make with pantry items, try this DIY coffee scrub.)

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Honey poured onto spoon

Improve your Cholesterol Profile

A Dubai study found that compared to participants who took a glucose solution, those consuming 250 milliliters of water with 75 grams of natural honey for 15 days lowered their total and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, while raising “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Check out more drug-free ways to lower your cholesterol.

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honey on face treatment

Treat Acne

Honey’s antimicrobial properties may reduce inflammation from acne, according to Joey Green, author of Joey Green’s Magic Health Remedies. For a perfect acne home remedy, mix equal parts honey and ground nutmeg and apply it to pimples for 20 minutes before washing it off. This easy honey face mask packs in tons of healthy nutrients for your skin, too.

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Honey on gray counter

Soothe Sore Throats

In addition to quelling coughs, honey can act as a mild antibacterial that can benefit you if you have a sore throat. Pour 1/2 cup of water over 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, then add the juice of 1/2 of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey. Gargle the mixture for relief. For more remedies, try these other natural gargles that can soothe a sore throat.

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Honey in small jar

Add Shine to Dull Hair

Say goodbye to dull, lackluster hair. Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 cups of warm water for a hair treatment that will give your locks a healthy-looking shine. Simply apply to hair after you shampoo and let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse. Your hair will feel rejuvenated, as the honey helps to trap in moisture and strengthen hair follicles. Next up: Try this easy avocado hair mask.

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Heal Burns

One classic study found that burns treated with honey healed faster and showed less inflammation than silver sulfadiazine, a common burn treatment. Here are more surprising home remedies for burns.

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honey bears

Eliminate Dandruff

Using a honey hair wash can soothe your scalp and help fight dandruff. Researchers studied the use of honey on patients suffering from dandruff and found that using a honey wash relieved itching and improved scaling. Even if you only have occasional dandruff, washing with honey can help. Honey has anti-fungal properties and moisturizes the scalp. Dilute honey with a bit of warm water and massage into your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes.

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Pouring aromatic honey into jar, closeup; Shutterstock ID 764193367
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Raise Low Blood Sugar

It’s no secret that honey is super sweet. For times when you’re suffering from low blood sugar, honey can be a quick and effective treatment. A single tablespoon of honey is packed with 15 grams of carbohydrates that help the body quickly absorb the sugar, helping you feel back to new in no time. You can also try incorporating the ingredient into honey recipes, like these yogurt and honey fruit cups.

Also, find out if honey is good for diabetics.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest