ORLANDO, Fla. – We all know delicious, ooey gooey honey can add much-needed sweetness to a variety of food and drinks, but nature's nectar can do so much more than that.
As the daughter of a beekeeper, I use honey like the Constantine family from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" uses Windex.
Caught a cold? Down some honey. Accidentally cut yourself? Slap some honey on it. Crippling student loan debt? Smother it in honey.
Seriously, whether you're stocking it in your medicine cabinet or with your gardening supplies, there's no shortage of things you can do with honey.
Check out some of the little-known uses below. Keep in mind, you need to use raw, unfiltered honey for these home remedies.
Kick a cold
No one likes sniffling and sneezing or the other signs of the common cold. Unfortunately, honey won't cure this malady, but it can help alleviate some of the symptoms. The Mayo Clinic reports that in studies, honey has been found to help with nighttime coughing in children 2 and older and it can also help with sore throats.
If you find yourself in a hairy situation, honey can help. The experts at Benefits-of-Honey.com recommend pouring half a cup of honey and the juice from three lemons over two cups of sugar. Stir it over low heat -- never high -- until the consistency looks like the wax you'd see at a salon. Once the wax is ready, apply it to your skin, place a wax strip on top and pull it off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth.
With honey in your hair routine, you can forget the days of messy buns and sloppy ponytails. Add a few drops to your usual shampoo to help stimulate hair growth, seal in moisture and add nutrients, all of which will lead to luscious locks. For those who have dandruff, one study found that applying it to the scalp and leaving it on for three hours every other day can help reduce flaking and itching within a week.
Nix that itch
Instead of scratching, reach for the honey jar. The itch of bug bites and eczema can both be reduced by a dab of honey applied directly to the skin. In general, honey can also be used to soften your skin, particularly on your elbows and other dry spots. Apply some to the area of concern and wash it off with warm water after about 30 minutes.
Promoting plant growth
Honey can be used in a variety of ways in the garden, including for fertilizing and propagating. A mix of one or two tablespoons of honey with two liters of water can be used every other week to help promote flowering and produce sweeter, more flavorful fruits.
For propagating, you'll need to prepare your cuttings then dip the ends in honey to promote root growth. The cuttings can either be put in soil or water after they get their dose of honey.
For more ways to use honey in the garden, click here.
This one isn't just a family secret. Studies have shown that honey used as a dressing can help reduce scarring and inflammation, soothe pain and promote healing. If you suffer a burn, put tap water on it immediately to cool down the skin. Then you can either put honey directly on the wound or soak some gauze in honey and then apply it that way. To see some graphic photos of the burn-healing process with honey, click here.
Medically speaking, there's a lot honey can do. In 2017, Pharmacognosy Research published an article outlining how honey can help with certain diseases. Studies have shown that honey has anticancer properties, can help reduce inflammation associated with asthma, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular failure, can help with depression and other neurological diseases and can help those who suffer from gastrointestinal diseases. Of course, you should consult a doctor before adding or altering your medicinal routine in any way. You can click here to read more about the research.
Keeping acne at bay
Part of what makes honey so beneficial is its anibacterial properties and anti-fungal properties, which makes it perfect for treating acne. The writers at beauty and lifestyle website Byrdie suggest dabbing raw honey on a blemish and leaving it there for at least 10 minutes before washing it off with warm water. While you're at it, you can also use honey as a face wash, to exfoliate, to fade scars and as an ultra-moisturizing mask.
Kansas City Royals sports dietitian Mitzi Dulan told Active.com that the combination of antioxidants, enzymes, minerals and amino acids in honey are great for boosting energy levels and kicking any afternoon slump. In fact, it's often recommended for athletes to incorporate it into their pre-workout regimes. As an added bonus, there's also research suggesting that honey could help with weight loss.
Did we miss anything? Comment below with your favorite honey remedies.