This article is all about honey. It has been on my mind since I did an article on adding milk to tea, Milk & Tea | History? Benefits? Reasoning?. I have wondered if any other tea additions could have an impact on your tea. I personally love honey, but I usually only use honey in my tea when I am feeling sick or have a scratchy throat. So I want to do a full investigation of the impact that honey has on tea. Fun first fact: honey in tea can amplify the benefits of green and black tea.
Benefit #1) It can help your Seasonal Allergies
Local honey is incredibly beneficial for your allergies. This is why I try and only buy local honey, which is extremely hard to do when local honey could be $7 for a large jar and Costco has honey for 5.99 for 2-3x the (non-local) honey. Local Bees get their pollen from local plants which could be the very allergins which you react to. By having that local honey, you are helping your body better fight those seasonal allergies. A spoonful a day keeps the allergies away! Well, it might help. Either eating the spoonful raw or incorporating it into your tea, it helps! This honey is also unprocessed and pure in most cases. When the honey is purer, its medicinal benefits (anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial) are stronger. By putting local honey into your tea, you are helping your allergies and the added benefits of drinking tea (also buying local honey helps local bee farms maintain their bees and bee equipment).
Benefit #2) Can Help with Menstrual Cramps
Drinking hot tea with honey can help with overall body blood flow which helps ease the pain that comes with menstrual cramps. Do keep in mind that any caffeinated teas can actually make cramps worse, so brew decaffeinated tea (such as herbal or rooibos tea) and add honey!
Benefit #3) Help Squash Sickness Symptoms
Coughing? Honey helps with that. Sore throat? Honey can help with that too! Having tea with honey can help coat your throat and soothe any irritation there. It also can help break up mucus in the back of your throat and ease coughing naturally. This could be especially helpful before bed (if you find yourself coughing and waking up in the night).
There was a study done in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine where 105 children and adolescents who had an upper respiratory infection which caused them to cough. They were then divided into three groups: a control group (no treatment), a group that received a few teaspoons of honey, and a third group who received honey-flavored dextromethorphan. The result was that the group who received the honey as treatment had the best improvements (better sleep and coughing eased).
Con #1: Can be Harmful when Added to Boiling Water
This was the most interesting tidbit of information I saw when doing research. When adding honey to boiling water (or tea), the fructose in honey chemically changes to oxymethylfurfural. This substance is considered a carcinogen and is fairly harmful to the esophagus and stomach (also many benefits from honey are voided). If honey is added at a cooler temperature, there is no risk. The fructose does not change to anything. Do not be worried if you occasionally drink hot tea with honey, there is a minimal risk from doing it now and then. But if you are doing it daily, perhaps consider adding your honey after the tea is steeped and has cooled a tiny bit.
Con #2) Dangerous below a Certain Age
It is strongly advised to not give honey to children under 1 year of age. Now, are one-year-old babies drinking tea by themselves? Probably not. But it really just should be mentioned. Many babies do not have the immunities that we do, and honey can contain bacterias that could make your baby very sick due to their undeveloped immune system.
I really learned a lot from writing this article. I knew of the benefits of adding honey to tea, but I never knew that it could potentially harm me as well. I hope you learned something as well! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Happy Brewing!!
“Can Honey Be Added to Hot Tea? All the Pros and Cons. Honey and Hot Tea – Friends or Foes.” Can Honey Be Added to Hot Tea? All the Pros and Cons. Honey and Hot Tea – Friends or Foes, taimrai.ru/en/can-i-add-honey-to-hot-tea-all-the-pros-and-cons/.
O’connor, Anahad. “Remedies: Honey for Coughing.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Dec. 2010, well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/remedies-honey-for-coughing/.
Smith, Megan. “Benefits of Honey Tea.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, www.livestrong.com/article/110773-benefits-honey-tea/.
Warkentin, Sher. “The Amazing Benefits of Local Honey.” Tom’s of Maine Natural Toothpaste, Deodorant, Body & Baby Care, www.tomsofmaine.com/good-matters/natural-products/the-amazing-benefits-of-local-honey.