Lavender honey is a type of honey made by bees that collect nectar from lavender flowers. This aromatic honey has a light floral taste and is praised for its potential health benefits. But what exactly makes lavender honey so special? Here’s an in-depth look at lavender honey and what it’s good for.
What is Lavender Honey?
Lavender honey, sometimes called “purple honey,” is made from the nectar of lavender flowers. Lavender is an herb belonging to the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean region. There are over 40 species of lavender, with the most common being English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and French lavender (Lavandula stoechas).
Bees collect the nectar from lavender blossoms to make honey. Since lavender flowers contain essential oils like linalool and linalyl acetate, these aromatic compounds are passed on to the honey. The end result is a light-colored honey with a complex floral aroma and slightly sweet, mellow flavor.
Compared to traditional honey, lavender honey has a more pungent, herbaceous taste. It’s lighter in color as well. While regular honey can range from golden to dark amber, lavender honey is pale yellow or light gold. The unique scent and flavor of lavender honey make it popular for sweetening teas, salad dressings, baked goods, and more.
Nutrition Facts of Lavender Honey
Like other types of honey, lavender honey is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals:
- Antioxidants – Contains polyphenols and flavonoids that protect cells from damage and inflammation.
- Vitamins – Provides small amounts of B vitamins like riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and niacin.
- Minerals – Supplies minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.
- Carbs and calories – Mainly composed of natural sugars like fructose and glucose. One tablespoon has 64 calories and 17 grams of carbs.
The exact nutrition profile can vary based on the lavender species, geographical location, and harvest season. But lavender honey has a similar nutritional makeup as regular honey. It provides antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, and vital micronutrients.
Benefits of Lavender Honey
Here are some of the top evidence-based ways that lavender honey can benefit your health:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Lavender honey contains polyphenols like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and catechins. These compounds have antioxidant properties and can help neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. Research indicates that the antioxidants in honey promote overall health and can protect against chronic diseases.
2. Natural Antibacterial Effects
Multiple studies have found that lavender honey displays antibacterial activity against dangerous pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella. The hydrogen peroxide, low pH, and bee defensin-1 compounds in honey contribute to its germ-fighting properties.
3. Boosts Wound Healing
Applying lavender honey to wounds and burns may accelerate the healing process. The glucose oxidase enzyme in honey produces hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a mild antiseptic. The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in honey also support tissue repair.
According to research, honey dressings can stimulate wound healing, reduce infection risk, decrease pain and inflammation, and improve recovery time compared to conventional dressings.
4. Soothes Coughs
Lavender honey can coat and soothe the throat, making it a potential natural cough remedy. Studies indicate that honey is as effective as common cough suppressants. The antioxidants and antimicrobial properties of honey may also benefit respiratory health.
More research is needed, but lavender honey shows promise for relieving coughs due to the common cold, flu, allergies, or even side effects of ACE inhibitors.
5. Improves Sleep Quality
The aroma of lavender has sedative effects that can promote relaxation and sleep. Research finds that lavender can boost the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in people with insomnia and sleep issues. The soothing scent of lavender honey may likewise help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
6. Eases Anxiety
Clinical trials indicate that lavender essential oil reduces anxiety levels and emotional stress. Lavender honey may offer similar benefits thanks to its calming floral scent and abundant antioxidant content.
More human research is needed, but animal studies find that honey has anxiolytic effects that decrease anxious behaviors.
7. Benefits Digestion
The nutrients in honey support a healthy digestive system. It provides compounds that stimulate the growth of gut-friendly bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. The antioxidants in honey may also reduce inflammation in the GI tract.
According to some research, ingesting honey can help treat stomach ulcers, improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and relieve constipation.
8. Relief from Allergies
Local honey is often recommended as a natural allergy remedy. The idea is that it contains trace amounts of local pollen, which can desensitize your immune system and reduce allergic reactions. Though more research is needed, some studies show honey reduces allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose.
The antioxidants in honey may also minimize inflammation involved in allergic responses. Lavender honey, specifically, offers additional anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
9. Moisturizes Skin
Honey is hailed as a natural humectant that hydrates and softens skin. It attracts and retains moisture in the top layer of skin thanks to its hygroscopic properties. Applying lavender honey can leave your skin more supple and hydrated. Plus, its antioxidants may protect your skin from UV damage.
10. Heals Minor Burns and Abrasions
Lavender honey can aid wound healing, so it may help treat minor burns, scrapes, rashes, and skin inflammation. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties facilitate healing, while its antioxidants protect skin cells. Honey also forms a protective barrier over wounds.
To use it, simply apply a small amount of lavender honey over burns or abrasions 1-2 times per day until healed. For additional antiseptic benefits, combine it with essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil.
How to Use Lavender Honey
From sweetening teas and yogurt to making beauty treatments and cough remedies, here are some easy ways to use lavender honey for health benefits:
- Stir into warm water or herbal tea
- Drizzle on oatmeal, granola, pancakes
- Blend into smoothies
- Sweeten salad dressings and sauces
- Use in place of sugar in baked goods like muffins and bread
- Mix with raw honey for cough-calming syrup
- Apply directly on skin as moisturizer
- Add to DIY face masks, lip balms, body scrubs
- Use as a gentle face and body cleanser
- Treat minor wounds, burns, rashes
- Diffuse or add to bath water for aromatherapy
For internal benefits, aim for 1-2 teaspoons per day. When applying to skin, use a small dab and dilute with a little water if needed to avoid stickiness.
Side Effects and Precautions
Lavender honey is considered safe for most people when used in moderation. However, some individuals may need to exercise caution:
- Infants under one year – Honey can contain bacterial spores that cause infant botulism, so it’s not safe for babies.
- Diabetes – Those with diabetes need to monitor blood sugar levels carefully when eating honey to prevent spikes.
- Allergies – Rarely, honey can trigger allergic reactions. Discontinue use if any irritation develops.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Check with your healthcare provider before regularly consuming honey.
Due to its deep cleansing effects, using undiluted lavender honey as a face wash may cause temporary redness and stinging for some sensitive skin types. Do a patch test before applying it to your face.
How to Select Quality Lavender Honey
To reap the most benefits from lavender honey, look for raw, unfiltered, and organic varieties. Here are some tips for selecting the highest quality product:
- Choose organic honey from bees fed organically grown lavender.
- Raw honey that hasn’t been heated offers more nutrients and enzymes.
- Unfiltered honey contains beneficial pollen and propolis.
- Honey should have floral, aromatic flavors without fermentation.
- Select darker varieties for higher antioxidant levels.
- Buying local honey supports small beekeepers.
- Look for sustainable practices like bee-friendly harvesting.
Opt for reputable brands that source from ethical beekeepers. Avoid generic honey or products that don’t specify the lavender species and origin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is lavender honey good for you?
Yes, lavender honey provides many benefits for health. Its diverse antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and antimicrobial compounds offer wellness advantages ranging from immunity to skin care.
What are the benefits of eating lavender honey?
Eating lavender honey may boost immunity, calm coughs, ease anxiety, promote sleep, heal wounds, improve digestion and heart health, stabilize blood sugar, and more. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties contribute to its therapeutic effects.
Is lavender honey safe to eat?
Lavender honey is generally recognized as safe for consumption for adults and children over one year old. Those with diabetes or honey allergies should exercise caution. Undiluted essential oils can be unsafe to ingest, but lavender honey only contains trace lavender oil.
What does lavender honey taste like?
Lavender honey has a distinctly floral, perfume-like aroma paired with a mild, smooth sweetness. The taste is more complex and herbaceous compared to traditional honey. It’s lighter in color as well.
Can you put lavender honey on your face?
Yes, lavender honey makes an excellent natural face mask or wash. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help cleanse skin, while its antioxidants and humectants provide anti-aging benefits. Those with sensitive skin may want to dilute it before applying it to the face.
Does lavender honey help you sleep?
Research shows lavender can improve sleep quality, potentially making lavender honey useful for insomnia. Its calming scent along with melatonin, amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants in honey may promote relaxation and more restful sleep.
With its one-of-a-kind flavor and extensive health benefits, lavender honey deserves a spot in your pantry and medicine cabinet. This aromatic honey can do everything from sweetening teas and skin care to soothing anxiety and boosting immunity. Just a small daily amount provides antioxidant polyphenols, antibacterial properties, vitamins, and minerals.
From easing respiratory issues to improving digestion and sleep quality, lavender honey is a versatile natural health and wellness tool. Its skin-healing and anti-inflammatory abilities even make it useful for burns, wounds, rashes, and skin rejuvenation. So if you want to harness the many therapeutic benefits of lavender, give this floral honey a taste.