Honey is a remarkable food in many different ways. The noble scholar Ibn al-Qayyim classed honey as both a food and medicine. In his Prophetic Medicine, he gives many benefits of this unique substance, describing it as being a nutritious food and that "nothing of this kind has been created for us which is more excellent, nor even similar or near to it in quality." Some of the healing properties of honey he gives are:
- cleanses the body, including the digestive system,
- relieves diarrhea,
- is an effective preserver of food,
- preserves the health of teeth and gums,
- it can kill head lice and lengthen and soften the hair.
Ibn al-Qayyim also said that the Prophet (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) used to drink honey and water on an empty stomach for health preservation.
Honey is primarily composed of fructose, glucose, and water. It also contains trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, which keep the immune system functioning well. Typically, the darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants.
Honey has been used over the centuries as an energy food, to increase strength and stamina, for sweetening and as a preservative. It has medicinal properties: both internally as a hot, soothing drink for coughs, colds, and the relief of stomach pain and indigestion, and externally to heal wounds and cuts.
Honey acts as a prebiotic and aids in the growth of friendly bifidobacteria, thus improving gut health.
It also has a gentle laxative effect, easing constipation naturally, and the digestive bloating caused by a diet rich in processed foods and low in fresh fruit and vegetables. Honey is a natural diuretic and removes excess water from tissues and joints, thereby reducing inflammation in any part of the body.
Honey has been used as an effective antimicrobial agent, for treating minor burns and scrapes, and for aiding the treatment of sore throats and other bacterial infections. Honey can be used to treat symptoms of low immunity - such as fatigue, repeated infections, allergies and colds. To make a warming, immune boosting drink, mix together 1 tablespoon of good quality honey with some fresh lemon juice and a small piece of fresh ginger (or as much as you can take), in a mug of boiling water.
Honey comes in basically five different forms: comb honey, cut comb (liquid honey that has chunks of comb in it), liquid honey, crystallized honey, and whipped or 'creamed' honey (with the consistency of honey).
All forms of honey have medicinal benefits, but raw honey is superior to processed honey. Raw honey contains much more nutrients and beneficial substances like propolis and bee pollen, which are not usually found in honey that has been pasteurized, filtered or clarified.