34 Unusual uses for honey to try today
We consume 25,000 tonnes of honey in the UK every year - that's a lot of very busy bees! Honey has been valued for its nutritional and health benefits for thousands of years - the Ancient Egyptians used medicinal honey as an ingredient in embalming fluid, as a sweetener and as a gift to the gods. The Greeks viewed honey as a healing medicine as well as an important food, and Manuka Honey, produced in New Zealand, is renowned for its ability to treat wound infections and burns.
But how can you put that jar of honey in your kitchen cupboards to good use? You might already use honey to sweeten your tea or your morning granola, but there are plenty of other ways you can use it too for health and beauty. Here are 34 ways to use honey that you may or may not have known about!
#1. Sweeten your food
We'll start with the obvious. Honey is a great, natural alterative to refined sugar - it does contain more calories spoon for spoon than sugar but it's loaded with antioxidants and you'll find you need less of it (1).
#2. Make a sore-throat cure at home
Mixed with fresh (or bottled) lemon juice and some hot water, forget chemical-laden lemon cold remedies and make your own sore-throat cure at home for a vitamin C boost.
#3. Treat wounds
Honey is a natural antiseptic which can be used as a topical treatment for minor wounds (2) - but don't use store-bought honey from your local Tesco. Medicinal grade honey such as Manuka Honey, is what you need.
#4. Cleanse your skin
Raw honey contains enzymes which work to naturally slough off dead skin cells, leaving your skin clean, clear and glowing. Just mix one tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil, massage gently onto clean, dry skin and rinse thoroughly with tepid water for natural beauty.
#5. Moisturise those split ends
Forget those paraben and chemical-laden hair treatment masks and make your own moisturising treatment for parched locks at home. A tablespoon of honey mixed with a couple of tablespoons of coconut or olive oil makes a great deep conditioning treatment - apply to the bottom two-thirds of your hair, wrap in a warm towel and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing.
#6. Swap out sugar in baking
Replacing sugar in your baking recipes for muffins, cookies and cupcakes with honey is a great idea. Honey is naturally sweet, so you'll use less of it, and although it contains more calories, it's loaded with antioxidants and is ideal if you're trying to eat clean.
#7. Soothe chapped lips
Did you know you can make your own lip balm with honey, beeswax, cocoa butter, vitamin E and olive oil for soft, moisturised lips all winter long. Get the recipe here.
#8. Make goats cheese canapes
It might sound like a strange combination, but creamy goats cheese is the perfect complement to sweet, sticky honey for last-minute canapes if you have guests coming over. Simply put a round of goat's cheese in a ramekin and top with some honey and chopped walnuts for an energy boost. Serve with crusty baguette and some wine for near-instant gratification!
#9. Sweeten herbal tea
Herbal teas and green tea are great alternatives to tea and coffee (although green tea does still contain caffeine, it's loaded with antioxidants) - if you need to add a little sweetness, steer clear of refined white sugar and try a little honey to taste.
#10. Boost athletic performance
Need a little extra energy for your morning run or gym workout? A tablespoon of honey before your next workout has been proven to boost athletic performance (3) to keep you going, and going, and going...until you reach your goal!
#11. Moisturise dry elbows
Honey is known for its moisturising properties, and there's nothing worse than dry, scratchy elbows - we all get them in the wintertime. After showering, rub some honey into your dry elbows and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing off for baby-soft skin.
Honey is the perfect ingredient in a home-made facial or body scrub thanks to its natural moisturising properties. Two tablespoons of honey mixed with a tablespoon of baking soda (or try brown sugar if your skin is particularly sensitive), gently massaged into your skin in circular motions will remove dead skin cells for brighter, fresher skin.
#13. Banish your hangover
Honey can help banish your hangover if you've over-indulged on a night out! It's loaded with fructose which can help your body to metabolise alcohol more quickly (4), so add some to your morning porridge or enjoy a few spoonfuls on wholemeal toast.
#14. Boost your energy levels
Honey can be used for a quick energy boost whenever you're flagging, so swap your usual cup of coffee for a cup of tea, sweetened with a little honey or blend it into your smoothies for a post-workout energy boost.
#15. Use it to preserve fruit
Preserving fruit in honey? Yes, really, honey 'sauce', made with one part honey to ten parts water (5), is a great way to preserve summer berries and other fruits for use in the winter months.
#16. Enjoy a soak in the tub
A long, hot bath is a great way to wind down and relax for a good night's sleep, and adding two tablespoons of raw honey to your bath water will moisturise your skin whilst protecting it against environmental damage - perfect for the winter months.
#17. Speed up your metabolism
Honey can help to speed up your metabolism, which could encourage weight loss (when combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan) - it's also great for your cholesterol and blood pressure (6). Try adding some to your morning porridge or sweetening your smoothies with it.
#18. Make honey marshmallows
Marshmallows are an essential part of winter - toasted or enjoyed melted in hot chocolate - yum! However commercially available marshmallows are loaded with corn syrup and artificial flavours, so make your own with this amazing recipe!
#19. Whip up dairy-free caramel sauce
This dairy-free, refined sugar-free caramel sauce has a whole host of uses - we love it drizzled over bananas for a (sort-of) healthy treat!
#20. Enjoy a healthy sports drink
Protein shakes and green smoothies are great, but why not whip up your own healthy sports drink with honey, sea salt and trace mineral drops. This can help to lower stress hormone levels in your body for a healthier workout and can boost your endurance when running or at the gym. Get the recipe here.
#21. Get a good night's sleep
Waking up regularly between 2am and 4am could mean that your body's levels of stress hormones are out of sync. Rebalance them with a teaspoon of honey mixed with a little salt the next time you wake up. This salt and sugar combination is said to reduce spikes of adrenaline.
#22. Make herbal cough drops
#23. Tackle seasonal allergies
A few teaspoons of local honey could help to reduce seasonal allergies. It's thought that trace amounts of pollen in the honey could increase your immunity to pollen (7). It's important to use LOCAL honey.
#24. Treat burns
Honey's naturally antiseptic qualities - medicinal grade honey, not shop-bought regular honey - means it has been used for centuries to treat minor burns.
#25. Remove parasites from your system
If you've picked up a bug whilst travelling the world, try a blend of honey, water and vinegar to tackle worms and other parasites (8).
#26. Get rid of spotty skin
Honey is the perfect acne treatment as it won't dry out your skin like some spot treatments can. Just apply a dab of raw honey to spots, wait for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse off for clearer skin in a few days.
#27. Make almond milk
#28. Infuse your own honey
Honey doesn't have to be boring - why not try infusing your honey with other flavours? Lavender honey, spice honey, ginger lime honey and even rose petal honey are all easy to make at home, and you'll find plenty of inspiring ideas here.
#29. Fade scars
Honey can be used to lighten skin (slightly) whilst reducing the appearance of scars. Mix a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of coconut oil or olive oil and massage into your scar, cover with a warm washcloth and leave for around 15 minutes until cool. Repeating this daily should help to fade scars.
#30. Moisturise your cuticles
Our hands and nails can get neglected in the winter months, so give your cuticles a natural moisturising treatment at home by blending a teaspoon of raw honey with a teaspoon each of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar softens skin and balances pH levels, honey heals and nourishes and coconut oil leaves your skin soft and protected. Rub into your cuticles and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing.
#31. Give your shampoo a boost
Honey's humectant qualities means it can regulate moisture levels in your hair whilst strengthening follicles for healthy growth, so add a squirt of honey to your regular shampoo every few days to keep hair shiny and strong (8).
#32. Create a home-made sweet treat
The next time a chocolate craving hits, why not whip up these home-made dark chocolate cups with coconut oil, cocoa powder and raw honey? Super yummy, healthy and perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.
#33. Enjoy a relaxing facial
On those nights when it's time for a pampering session, don't use face masks packed with chemicals that could irritate and dry out your skin. Give yourself a relaxing honey facial with 2 tablespoons of honey mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk. Apply to clean skin and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off. Legend has it that this was the mixture Cleopatra bathed in to stay young and beautiful!
#34. Make a honey cocktail
There's nothing like a tasty, imaginative cocktail on a Friday night, and provided you drink in moderation, a little of what you fancy does you good. Why not try this delicious honey gin cocktail?
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