For centuries in various cultures around the world people have used honey medicinally to cure a wealth of ailments due to its inherent antibacterial properties.
Just doing a Google search on the subject of honey will leave you feeling as if it does everything from clearing up skin blemishes to staving off cancer.
It’s one thing to make those claims and it’s another to have hard science to back them up. Luckily for all you natural skin care lovers, doctors, scientists and researchers are seriously looking at the powerful possibilities honey provides.
Estheticians Britta Plug and Caterina Vasquez, are among the holistic skin care professionals who have been extolling the wonders of honey as a treatment ailed skin for years. [Read: It’s the Bees Knees]
I’ve personally used raw, organic honey to soothe sore throats, combat seasonal allergies and it’s the only sweetener I add to my daily tea.
However it’s not just any regular honey that will give you maximum results for your skin’s health. So put down the squeezey bear! He’s cute, but he’s not going to make the cut. [Read why.]
We’re going to get into the scientific, specific points you need to know regarding the best honey to use, and why what you buy matters for our planet too.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
While that may be true for roses, it’s not the case with honey. In fact, every honey has a name associated with the flowers and plants where those particular bees gathered the nectar to produce it. Each kind of plant distinctly impacts the variance in flavor, color, and properties of the honey created [source]. While there are a myriad of honeys, Manuka and Thyme are two of the plants you must be on the look out for.
Of late manuka honey has become the darling of the natural skin care world, and for good reason.
Some promising studies have surfaced revealing that manuka honey, as a natural remedy in combination with other treatments, is surprisingly effective for curing both serious infections and wounds otherwise not responsive to traditional antibiotics.
Professor Rose Cooper, a researcher from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, explained that findings “suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues.” [source]
Those same antibacterial properties of manuka honey are something natural skin care professionals have come to rely on in facial treatments to help eradicate breakouts and irritations on the face, as well as simultaneously hydrating and calming skin.
Thyme is on your side
Thyme honey is lesser known, but I have a feeling it will soon have its own spotlight in the organic skin care world. Back in ancient times those indulgent Egyptians, Romans and Greeks were using thyme honey for its healing properties. They probably didn’t know the reason it was working so well is because thyme honey in particular is super high in antioxidants, which can seriously repair skin.
Just like with manuka honey, scientists are totally on board with thyme’s usefulness for treating acne in a gentle and highly effective way.
With regards to using thyme topically for acne, Dr. Gomez-Escalada explained, “Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments.” [source]
It’s a power-combo for anyone suffering with adult acne, since honey doesn’t dry out the skin (AKA make it look older) as most blemish treatments do.
P.S. It tastes amazing too!
Why Your Honey Needs to Be Raw
Raw honey is best because it contains a higher level of antioxidants, live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and pollen count. “Raw” means that during the processing from “the hive to the jar” the honey wasn’t filtered, strained or heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit in such a way to destroy these potent nutrients.
Think of the difference between conventional and raw honey being similar to the case of white bread vs. whole grain bread. Both are bread, but they aren’t equally nutritious.
The benefits of raw honey on skin are numerous. The antioxidants and enzymes found in honey are great for protecting skin from the internal and external culprits that speed up the aging process. Raw honey can also help soothe damaged skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
Save the bees and save our planet
As you might already know, consuming organic foods is such a critical quality for ingredients, which you may ingest, either through eating or through absorption when topically applied to the skin.
This is really bad news because bees are highly necessary in the biological functioning of life on our planet.
Moreover the extensive use of genetically modified (GMO) crops has made it increasingly more difficult to obtain honey that hasn’t been contaminated by GMOs, which contain pesticides within the very DNA of each plant that is then cross pollinated by bees and is also at fault for the massive bee die-offs that are occurring.
While buying raw, organic, non-GMO honey is the ultimate trifecta, it’s not always possible to find that combination of certifications.
So your best bet is to buy quality honey from a trust-worthy manufacturer. If you’re in the UK, EU, Australia and New Zealand, you are pretty lucky because it’s so much easier to find honey that meets these criteria.
In the U.S. currently the only brand of raw, non-GMO verified, organic manuka honey is from Wedderspoon, who imports it directly from New Zealand’s organic manuka flower fields. Incidentally all the varieties of their honey are raw and tested for 250 chemicals before sale.
When you consume high quality honey, either internally or topically, you’ll be getting the most amount of benefits of looking great while helping ensure the bees will live on to keep our eco-system in shape too.
Feature photo source