Honey: The Good, the Bad, and the Sweet

Honey: The Good, the Bad, and the Sweet

Oh, honey…


Did you know honey can be toxic?

Wait, don’t toss your golden sweetener yet! Hear us out - on the flip side, it can be incredibly healing to your body!

So which is it… healing or toxic? And should you stir a spoonful of honey into that cup of tea?

Let’s break it down.

Healer or Potential Poison??

Known as "Madhu" in Sanskrit, honey's medicinal uses date back thousands of years and Ayurveda recognizes it as a powerful healer. It is known to balance the doshas and boost the effects of other herbs and treatments.

However, honey’s medicinal properties are dependent on how it is used. When eaten raw, honey is nourishing, antimicrobial, soothes the digestive system, and gives your skin a natural glow. However, there is a fine line between honey being used as medicine and becoming something toxic.

As Paracelsus, the Swiss physician and philosopher says:

“All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.”

This principle highlights the importance of HOW substances are used. Going back to honey then, the way it is processed and consumed determines whether it acts as a health tonic or a harmful substance.

According to Ayurvedic texts, heating honey beyond a certain point alters its molecular structure, making it toxic. This is because heating honey generates a compound called hydroxymethylfurfural (yes, it’s a mouthful), which is considered harmful. Heating honey past 98.6 F starts to destroy a lot of its nutritional value [1].

In this altered state, honey can create "ama" or toxins in the body, which disrupt digestion and can lead to various health issues.

Eating Honey: The Right Time and Method

So, what is the best way to consume honey? Ayurveda has it covered. Here is some detailed guidance based on Eastern Wisdom on how to maximize the benefits of honey:

  • Morning Use: Try consuming a small amount of honey with warm water in the morning to aid digestion and support weight management. Maybe add some to the water in your copper cup? Or combine it with your Potion for a super booster!
  • Herbal Combinations: Mixing honey with herbs like ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon can enhance their medicinal properties.
  • Seasonal Use: Honey is considered particularly beneficial during certain seasons, such as in winter, to boost immunity and combat colds and respiratory issues.
  • Avoiding Heat: To preserve its beneficial properties, honey should never be heated or added to very hot beverages. Instead, it should be mixed with lukewarm liquids or used as a topping for room-temperature foods.


You’ve learned HOW to eat honey - you may be wondering what KIND of honey is best?

The benefits of honey can vary based on the species of bees and the flowers they pollinate. In India, native species like the Indian honey bee (Apis cerana indica) and the rock bee (Apis dorsata) produce honey that is often preferred in Ayurveda for its potent medicinal qualities.

A recent study analyzed data from 18 controlled trials to explore the effects of honey on cardiometabolic risk factors. The researchers found that consuming raw and monofloral honey could significantly improve glycemic control and lipid levels, reducing fasting blood glucose and LDL cholesterol [2].

Honey's complex composition of sugars, organic acids, enzymes, and bioactive compounds contribute to these benefits. Raw honey, due to its nutrient-rich profile, offers many more health advantages than processed honey.

Top 10 Benefits of Raw Honey

  1. Rich in Antioxidants

Raw honey is a rich source of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, enzymes, and compounds like flavonoids and organic acids.

  1. Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties

Natural antibacterial and antifungal properties make raw honey effective in treating wounds, skin infections, and throat infections.

  1. Supports Digestive Health

Raw honey contains prebiotics, which nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, helping soothe digestive issues.

  1. Soothes Sore Throats and Coughs

Honey is a common remedy for sore throats and coughs. Its soothing properties help coat the throat, reducing irritation.

  1. Nutrient-Rich

Nutrients such as vitamins (such as vitamin C and B vitamins), minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium), amino acids, and enzymes provide energy and support various bodily functions.

  1. Promotes Wound Healing

Honey has been used in traditional medicine to treat cuts, burns, and ulcers. It creates a protective barrier, keeping wounds moist and preventing infection.

  1. Helps with Allergies

Consuming raw honey sourced locally is believed to help with seasonal allergies. It contains small amounts of local pollen, which can act as a natural immunotherapy. Over time, consuming small doses may help build tolerance to local allergens, reducing allergy symptoms.

  1. Boosts Immunity

The natural enzymes and nutrients in raw honey help boost the immune system. Its antimicrobial properties help fight off bacteria and viruses, while its antioxidant content supports overall immune health.

  1. Provides Energy

Raw honey is a natural source of carbohydrates, which provide energy. It contains simple sugars like glucose and fructose, which are easily absorbed by the body, offering a quick energy boost.

  1. Improves Skin Health

Have you ever used honey in your skincare routine? It helps hydrate the skin, reduce inflammation, and treat acne. Raw honey can be applied directly to the skin or used in homemade skincare recipes. Try this Ayurvedic face scrub recipe!

Immunity Potion in Copper Cup

Bee-yond Just Honey

Other bee products are also appreciated in Ayurveda, and are packed with some unique health benefits:

  • Pollen: Considered a superfood, bee pollen is loaded with nutrients and is known to boost immunity, improve digestion, and enhance energy levels.
  • Propolis: A resin-like substance, propolis has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is used in Ayurveda to treat wounds, infections, and to boost overall health.
  • Royal Jelly: Known for its rejuvenating properties, royal jelly is used to enhance vitality and support the immune system.
  • Beeswax: Used primarily in external applications, beeswax is valued for its moisturizing and protective properties for the skin.


In Ayurveda, honey is much more than a sweetener; it is a versatile medicine used as a powerful natural remedy.

Have you tried pairing honey with Immunity Potion? Now THAT’S a dynamic duo! 

(Plus it tastes good… don’t you love it when good health goes down sweet?)