There's nothing quite like honey spread on a freshly buttered hunk of crusty bread to wake you up in the morning, but did you know there are loads of other wondrous uses for honey besides eating alone?
Today we're sharing some new ways to use this fabulous, all-natural product for health and beauty that will completely change the way you see this cupboard essential.
What is honey?
Despite how much we eat the stuff, honey is actually meant for bees - it's stored in honeycombs so bees have something to keep them nourished during colder months when the environment is lacking in flowers.
Honey begins as nectar, but, thanks to the bees, slowly transforms into the gorgeous golden liquid we so love.
How is honey made?
Honey is made by thousands of committed bees. It begins as nectar (a sugary liquid) in flowers, which bees extract using their long, tube-shaped tongue.
After extraction, the honey is stored in the bee's secondary stomach, also known as the 'crop'. Here it mixes with enzymes that alter its pH and composition and make it compatible for long-term storage.
Once the bee's finished collecting, it heads back home, to the hive. Here the bee passes the nectar back through its mouth into the mouth of another bee, and so on and so forth until the partially digested nectar is deposited into a honeycomb.
It's here that the magic happens - bees waft their wings in front of the honeycombs to help water evaporate from the nectar and turn it into lovely, thick honey. Once most of the water has been removed, the comb is sealed by bees with a liquid that eventually hardens into beeswax.
Who knew little old bees did so much?
What are the health benefits of honey?
The process of honey-making is truly magnificent, so it comes as no surprise that the love bees put in develop nectar into a highly nutritious and beneficial food source, not just for bees, but for humans and other animals too.
High-quality honey is rich in antioxidants, is antibacterial and also anti-inflammatory, meaning it's not only good for our insides but our outsides too!
New uses for honey
Want to start reaping the many health and beauty benefits honey has to offer? Check out our favourite uses for honey below - you're going to love them!
1. Make a honey & egg hair mask
Egg? Yes, egg! You only need 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to make a super-nourishing hair mask.
Put all your ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to your hair, cover with a shower cap and leave to soak in for around 30 minutes then shampoo with cold water. Take care not to use hot water, or the eggs will scramble!
2. Use as an after-shaving treatment
Does your skin feel aggravated after shaving? Honey is super soothing and can help calm irritated skin.
Head to the kitchen cupboard, grab the honey and apply a layer to the skin. Let it dry and then rinse it off with cold water. The swelling will be reduced and the skin will be moisturised. Give it a whirl if your legs feel irritated.
Next time you shave, you'll want to know if you should exfoliate before or after shaving. Read our guide now!
3. Moisturise cuticles
Despite popular belief, cuticles should never be trimmed. To keep them looking their best, moisturising is key.
Mix 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar together with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1 tsp of honey, then massage into each cuticle. Leave your nails to rest for up to 10 minutes before washing with warm water to enjoy nourished and soft cuticles!
4. Cure dark lips
Have you been on a lovely holiday in the sun recently? Lips can tan too!
If your lips have suffered sun exposure then you can cure dark lips with honey. Apply directly to lips before bed and leave overnight - just try not to lick it off before it has a chance to work its magic!
5. Eat honey before exercise
Are you fuelling your workouts effectively?
Tucking into spoonful of honey before a workout will help release a slow and steady stream of glucose into your blood, resulting in an added energy boost.
It can help during exercise too, by preventing your muscles from getting fatigued. Keep them nourished and supple by drinking some water with honey in it.
6. Lighten your hair with honey
Here's another surprising use for honey!
Lovers of natural beauty have discovered many amazing ways to replace harmful products over the years, and today we're showing you how you can lighten your hair with honey.
Watch the video above to learn how to get lighter hair that shimmers and shines using all natural ingredients - honey, cinnamon and olive oil.
7. Honey for hay fever
Many folks believe that a spoonful of local honey helps to relieve symptoms of hay fever.
Supposedly local honey helps develop immunity against the allergy by desensitising you to pollen.
8. Treat a mild burn
Honey's anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties make it an ideal DIY burn treatment.
If you've burned yourself a little, first run it under cold water from the tap for five minutes to cool down the area. After, pour over manuka medicinal honey or organic raw honey and then dress the burn. Change the dressing once a day.
If the burn is more severe, do contact your doctor or health professional.
9. Prevent a hangover with honey
There's nothing worse than waking up with a hangover.
After a heavy night out, have a few spoonfuls of honey with some hot water before you go to bed. The sugar will help the body to metabolise and prevent sudden changes in blood sugar levels, as well as help the alcohol metabolism processes.
The next morning you should also have a little more honey to help further burn the alcohol.
10. Dandruff treatment
Embarrassed about your dandruff? There are many causes of dandruff, but thankfully, just as many remedies.
11. Treat a sore throat with honey
Give that sore throat some soothing TLC.
Add a tablespoon of honey to some warm milk and mix well. Your throat will be moisturised by the milk and soothed by the honey. Drink this mixture throughout the day and enjoy relief from your annoying sore throat and cough.
12. Treat acne
With antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, honey is an ideal treatment for acne. Try eating more of it in your diet, or applying it to your problem areas.
TOP TIP: If your honey has gone hard or crystallised, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds and it will soon return to it's glossy, smooth, runny former-self.
13. Nausea remedy
If you've been feeling a little sick, reach for that trusty pot of honey. Honey and ginger work wonders for nausea!
Cut peeled ginger root into small pieces and stir into boiling water. Boil this for five minutes and then add honey to taste to make a sort of tea. Stir and drink - yum!
14. Put it in the bath
Honey can have an amazing effect on the skin, making it softer and smoother than ever.
Add a tablespoon of honey in some warm water and give it a good stir, then transfer the mixture to a nice warm bath. Honey is full of antioxidants and your skin will love it.
15. Treat acne scars
Not only can honey help with acne, but it can also help with acne scars. Home remedies for life have created an amazing list of methods (all including honey) for you to try.
16. Nourish dry skin
We already know that honey is a great moisturiser, so if you're suffering from dry elbows or knees in the winter then reach for your trusty pot.
After a bath or shower, rub some honey into your elbows and leave for half an hour. Rinse off and enjoy your soft skin.
17. Heal wounds
There are still a couple more uses for honey to come, and this is one of our favourites!
Honey's antibacterial properties and thick consistency make it ideal for applying to wounds. It will prevent dirt from getting in and also keep skin from sticking to dressings.
18. Honey face mask
You may have already noticed lots of shop-bought face masks contain honey.
This is because honey's antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can be extremely beneficial for skin. It also works to moisturise and soothe skin to leave it soft and supple.
There's no need to spend loads of money on skincare - you can make your own honey and yoghurt facemask at home. Follow the video above to learn how to get gorgeous the natural way using honey.
NOTE: Please note that we do not provide medical advice, please contact your doctor or health professional with any questions you may have.
Who knew that honey could do so much? Let us know how you use honey in the comments below...