Oh Honey! Why is it so good?

There are many reasons why honey sometimes gets the nickname of liquid gold.

Not only is it a delicious sweetener for all sorts of recipes and snacks, but there are also many reported benefits of honey.

At Zarbee’s, we can’t get enough of the stuff! Honey features throughout our whole product range. But what makes it so special?

Let’s dive into the origins of honey and find out why it’s been used for thousands of years.

Where did it all begin?

The honey making process is both fascinating and a little peculiar.

After bees collect nectar from flowers, they take it back to their hive and regurgitate it. There it is stored in honeycomb where the fanning of bees’ wings helps to cause evaporation, turning honey into the sticky sweet liquid we know and love.

The exact origin of humans using and consuming honey is difficult to pinpoint as it has been used by people all over the world, all throughout history. Historians have even found evidence to suggest its usage in prehistoric times.

Cave paintings discovered in Cuevas de la Araña in Spain are thought to depict the earliest known record of humans foraging for honey, which date back around 8000 years.

The earliest records of beekeeping, meanwhile, were found in a temple that was built in 2400BC near Cairo.

In ancient Egypt, honey was baked into cakes and offered as gifts to their gods. It also served as an ingredient in the embalming process.

The ancient Greeks also used it as an offering for the gods, and extensively in many recipes – including the alcoholic drink of the gods, mead.

Babylonian and Sumerian cuneiform writings dating back to around 2000 BC also alluded to using honey in offerings and in sacred buildings.

Since then, honey has had many uses from food and drink to religious rituals and as a natural medicine.

It was the major source of sweetness before processed sugar, but it remains hugely popular today.

While it’s most commonly used as a sweetener to add to tea, baked goods, and sauces, there are also many health benefits on honey.

1. Honey & cough relief

Honey has been used as a natural remedy for coughs for years. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also endorses the inclusion of honey as a cough remedy for children.

Coughing is the natural reflex action of your body trying to clear your airways from irritation or excess mucus.

But especially at night, coughing can disturb your sleep and leave you feeling tired and irritable the next morning.

The consistency of honey means it can coat an irritated throat and mucus membranes, which has a soothing effect that can reduce cough frequency and severity.

If you’re suffering with a cough, consider using Zarbee’s Adult Cough & Sore Throat Syrup, or the Children’s Cough & Sore Throat Syrup for kids above the age of 2 which also contains glycerol and ivy leaf extract to help soothe your throat.

2. Beneficial properties in honey

Many minerals and nutrients have also been found to be present in honey. This can be dependent on the type of honey, but it has been found to contain phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Although they only exist in small amounts, the nutrients from honey make it a healthier dietary choice than regular sugar

3. Honey is slightly better for your blood sugar levels

Honey has a slightly lower glycaemic index (GI) (a measure of how quickly a food will increase your blood sugar when consumed on its own than refined sugar, which means that it will still raise your blood sugar levels, but not quite as quickly as sugar would.

Honey is also generally sweeter than sugar, meaning you may be able to use less of it in your cooking.

Plus, honey is a naturally stable food, meaning it can easily be stored at room temperature in dry conditions and rarely spoils.

Can everyone benefit from honey?

Many people can get the health benefits of honey. However, some people can be allergic to honey and have mild to severe reactions, especially those who are already prone to pollen allergies.

If you have any concerns, speak to your GP.

Honey should also not be given to babies under 12 months. This is because their still-developing digestive systems increases the risk of developing infant botulism, a rare type of poisoning which can cause serious illness. 

Nevertheless, for many people honey can have many health benefits.

But before you start adding it to everything, just remember that honey still counts as an added sugar and as such should always be consumed in moderation. Speak to your GP if you have any concerns.

For any products containing honey, including Zarbee's, always read the label.