Cave paintings in Spain dating back to 7,000 B.C. show people collecting honey from beehives. Temples, tombs and sarcophagi of Egyptian pharaohs and kings buzz with depictions of bees and honey. Virgil and Pliny extolled honey. Hippocrates prescribed it. Invading Roman armies carried beehives with them for food, medicine and energy. Ancient Britons attributed strength to mead, a fermented honey beverage.
Unlike sugar, honey is a nutrient-rich sweetener, providing numerous minerals and B-complex, C, D, and E vitamins. Concentrated carbohydrates boost energy for sports. Paradoxically, honey also is thought to promote sleep. It soothes sore throats and quiets nighttime coughs.
Studies showed lowered blood triglycerides in people who ate honey. It slowed tumor growth and cancer spread in mice. Honey inhibits cells that cause bladder cancer and protects against colitis. It has antiseptic properties that make it a good topical treatment for infections, sores and burns.
For pollen allergies, local honey is a more pleasant and cost-effective remedy than shots. Honey gathered within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of your home is said to inoculate you against nearby pollen. Noted pediatrician Dr. Leila Denmark, who graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1928 and practiced medicine until she retired at age 103, recommends adding 1 teaspoon (2.1 grams) of local honey to your daily diet to cure pollen allergies.
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