Honey is a fragrant, sweet, sticky liquid made by honeybees. The bees collect nectar from a variety of plants, carry it to their nests and convert it to honey. The colour, fragrance and properties of honey are determined by the source of the nectar.
Its beneficial effects, both on human health and as a topical treatment, were soon discovered. It is believed that honey was added to make medicines more palatable and to provide easy to digest nutrition to those with compromised immune systems or ill health.
Evidence shows us that honey contains nutrients and antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant and antifungal substances. Left undiluted, honey is also self-preserving and will remain edible and usable for years, although it may crystallise (a natural process, which can be remedied by the application of a little heat).
Honey has been used as a skin ointment for over 2000 years, and was often used to lighten skin and hair, because it contains an enzyme that produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide when diluted. This action is responsible for much of honey’s antibacterial effect and was called ‘inhibine’ before it was identified as hydrogen peroxide. When diluted in water, the hydrogen peroxide becomes more active and can act as a slow-release antiseptic. The other phytochemical substances in honey buffer the antibacterial action and make this a very safe way to help skin heal itself.
Honey has been successfully used to treat problematic skin conditions, such as diabetic ulcers, and it is a traditional remedy for infected acne spots. Honey is also being investigated in the fight against the so-called super-bug MRSA.
Poppea, the second wife of Nero, used a mixture of milk and honey for her complexion and Cleopatra bathed in honey and asses’ milk. It is said that du Barry, an infamous mistress of Louis XV of France, used honey as a face. Honey is a natural humectant (it attracts and retains moisture), and therefore, a wonderfully gentle moisturiser.
Honey is one of the fresh ingredients in our Honey Bee Bath Ballistic. When dropped into a hot bath, the honey is dispersed through the water, moisturising the skin and creating a nourishing bath fit for a queen.
The antibacterial action of honey helps to thoroughly clean the skin in our Flying Fox shower gel.
The delicious Whipstick and Honey Trap lip balms contain honey. They moisturise the lips and protect them against damage.