7 surprising uses for honey

There’s a reason the lovable Winnie the Pooh knew that “eating honey was a very good thing to do.” Raw honey is a super versatile ingredient. Aside from sweetening up some of our favorite recipes, it can work wonders on the body via medicinal means. Check out these unexpected uses for honey. You may just keep an extra jar around the house!

Pro tip: When shopping for honey, make sure to look for pure and local products on the shelves—not anything that is listed as a “blend,” which can mean it has been cut with additives to lower costs. Find out if you’ve buying the fake stuff. In general, the darker the honey, the higher in antioxidants it will be and the stronger the taste.

1. Allergy relief

Already dreading allergy season? You might be able to relieve seasonal allergies with a little bit of the stuff that causes them! It might seem counterintuitive because of honey’s connection to pollen, but it may work a little like an immunization. It was shown in a small study of birch pollen honey that eating honey made from the pollen that causes the allergic reaction may help reduce your symptoms.

2. Antiseptic

Looking for a more natural alternative to help heal a cut or abrasion? Think of honey as a natural Neosporin thanks to its antimicrobial properties. You might find honey pre-infused in band aids, but using a bit on the affected area can do the trick, too! In fact, it’s one of history’s oldest antiseptics, referenced in the Bible and historical texts for its healing properties.

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3. Beauty product

Honey is the perfect beauty treatment for a harsh winter’s night. If you have super dry elbows or knees, massage a little honey onto dry spots and leave on the skin for 30 minutes before rinsing off in the shower.

4. Soothe small burns

Kitchen burn? You can naturally and rapidly soothe a small burn with honey.

5. Cocktails

You might want to store honey on your bar cart too! We know honey is a delicious sweetener in cooking, so why not use it to sweeten up your favorite cocktail?

6. Hangover cure

If you went a little overboard with your honey-infused cocktails, add some honey into your morning tea, coffee or breakfast.

7. Energize

A to the National Honey Board, “honey can help maintain muscle glycogen, also known as stored carbohydrates, which gives athletes the boost they need when they need it most.” Get an energy boost by adding a little sweetness into your routine.

This story originally appeared in Taste of Home.