The syrupy sweetness of honey makes it a popular and healthier substitute for sugar, and a tasty treat on its own. Honey cannot be produced artificially and is made by bees which collect nectar from pollinating flowers. In addition, since microorganisms don’t grow in honey, a sealed container of honey is unlikely to spoil, even thousands of years later. The demand for honey has grown exponentially in recent years, as consumers grow more health conscious and disposable income levels rise.
Based on the honey market forecast, the largest market for honey is the Asia Pacific, which is also the fastest growing market with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2 percent till the year 2020. At a global level, the key honey producing regions are China, India, Turkey, Europe, and the U.S., accounting for over 60 percent of the production of honey globally. The U.S., Japan, and Germany are leading importers of honey while China, India, and Argentina are the main exporters.
Apart from being tasty, honey has multiple skin and health benefits, which are further driving the global market for honey.
Role of Honey in Skincare
Honey is produced by bees through enzyme activity, live bacteria and plant matter, making it effective in application to the skin for several purposes. The best form of honey to be used on the skin is raw and unpasteurized honey.
- Honey As A Moisturizer
Honey is a popular additive and even base ingredient for a variety of cosmetics, especially lip balms and lotions. Due to the presence of enzymes, honey can easily seep into skin and condition and soften skin from within. Honey also acts as a natural humectant, drawing moisture from the air into the skin. The application of honey onto the skin hydrates the skin, brings a natural glow and helps reduce wrinkles. The moisturizing properties of honey make it suitable for the treatment of dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
- Honey As A Pore Cleanser – Fighting Acne and Pimples
Honey has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties along with containing antioxidants which make it effective as a pore cleanser, removing excess oil, blackheads and clearing out blocked pores which prevent the occurrence of acne and pimples and treat existing pimples. The anti-inflammatory properties also make honey a great remedy for sunburns.
- Honey As An Exfoliate
Honey has excellent exfoliating properties, and regular use can eliminate dead skin cells on the face, making the skin look brighter and fresher. Also, the application of honey as a spot treatment on scars, especially those from acne, can help in the fading of the scars.
Role of Honey in Healthcare
Honey is cholesterol-free, sodium-free and fat-free, with 80 percent of its composition made of carbohydrates, 18 percent water and 2 percent of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. However, honey is sweet and in large doses would significantly add on calories, which is why a limited intake is advised. There are numerous health benefits of honey, a few are listed below.
- Honey for Heart Health
Honey contains plenty of antioxidants, as well as polyphenols and flavonoids, all that are helpful in keeping the heart healthy. Antioxidants are known to reduce the risk of cardiac diseases and heart-attacks. Honey helps lower blood pressure, lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, inflammation and triglycerides while increasing the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. In addition, honey has been found to aid in the dilation of heart arteries, boosting blood flow, and helping prevent blood clot formation which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
- Honey To Treat Coughs
Coughs have become a common ailment in modern times, especially with the increase in pollution worldwide. Honey is an ideal natural alternative to cough medications, as the syrupy rich consistency soothes the throat and protect the throat against incessant coughing from within itself. Apart from the common cough, honey is also useful in treating upper respiratory tract infections.
- Honey As An Energy Booster
Containing only 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, honey is a great source of natural energy, the consumption of which adds unprocessed sugar in the form of fructose and glucose directly into the bloodstream, providing an instant boost of energy. Apart from carbohydrates, honey also contains small amounts of proteins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids, adding to the overall energy level of a person. In comparison to energy drinks with artificial sweeteners, honey gives more energy and in a healthier manner. The antibacterial properties of honey make it useful in boosting overall immunity, and decreasing the chances of frequent illness.
Honey is an excellent natural substance which has useful applications in consumption, skincare, and healthcare. The increased awareness of the myriad applications of honey has resulted in a greater demand for honey. However, the sudden increase in demand for honey has also led to the prevalence of lower quality and adulterated honey, posing a challenge to the overall honey market.