It is known that honey has medicinal effects and is a healing for all ailments, however, honey should also be used as a food and not only as a medicine.
Difference between food and medicine
The difference that needs to be noted is when something is defined as a medicine, it should be used in defined doses and at a particular frequency during an illness. A food on the other hand, can be consumed liberally at any time and to fulfill the need resulting from hunger. In the case of honey, it is also sweet and pleasant to eat.
The Prophetﷺ and honey
The Prophetﷺ used to consume honey as food, not simply as a medicine. The evidence is in the historical accounts of the Prophetﷺ drinking honey whenever it was offered to him and every time his wife Zeinab Bint Jashn, who always had honey at home, prepared it for him up – until the time that Aisha and Hafsa teamed up in jealousy and told him that he smelt of “”Al Mghafeer – المغافير”, knowing how important it was to him to smell . This is a putrid smelling material that remains after the purification of honey. At that point, the Prophetﷺ stopped drinking honey for a time due to the discord caused.
And the Prophetﷺ would forbid the refusal of honey
لا تردوا شربة العسل على من أتاكم بها
“Do not refuse drinking honey from whomever that brings it to you.”
Sahifatul Ar Ridha 46;H61, Al-Mustaghfari’s Tibb Al-Nabi 26.
Which indicates the use of honey as a food, to enjoy, as a sweet, and not only as medicine. Some of the benefits of honey as a food are indicated below.
Benefits of honey as food
- Honey delights
The pleasant cheers, and honey is pleasant, and looking at greenery cheers, and riding cheers. And it is of the things that makes the heart happy. Sahifatul Ar Ridha 65 H61.
- Reduces Phlegm, rather it gets rid of it.
ثلاثة يزدن في الحفظ ويذهبن بالبلغم قراءة القرآن والعسل واللبان
Sahifatul Ar Ridha 61 H127
The Prophetﷺ has been narrated to have said: Three increase memory and drive away phlegm, recitation of the Holy Qur’an, honey, and condor.
- Increases the capacity of memory
The Prophetﷺ has said – Whoever wants to memorise, so let them eat honey. Al-Mustaghfari’s Tibb Al-Nabi 26.
- Good for the heart and chest
The Prophetﷺ says: The best of drinks is honey, it puts the heart in order and rids the chest of cold. Al-Mustaghfari’s Tibb Al-Nabi 26.
- Treats inflammation and fever
The Prophetﷺ: Honey is therapy to evict inflammation and fever. Jami Al Ahadeeth: 18.Honey is therefore what should be used to treat inflammation that causes fever.
- Beneficial in treatment of poison, in a narration, it is said that Honey is the treatment for fatal poison. Mustadrak Al-Wasail 16:369 H20208.
- Beneficial for catarrh, in the Golden Letter of Imam Redha, peace be upon him, it states whoever wants to contain catarrh during the days of winter, so they should eat three morsels of honey.[su_pullquote align=”right”]
و من اراد ردع الزكام مدة أيام الشتاء فليأكل كل يوم ثلاث لقم من الشهد
The Golden Letter of Imam Redha peace be upon him, 37.
- Beneficial for gastrointestinal pain
The Prophetﷺ prescribed the following for a man who complained of stomach pains: Take a drink of honey and place in it three seeds of black seed, or five or seven, and you will be healed by the will of Allahﷻ. Al Ja’afariyaat 244. It is also beneficial in diarrhea.
- It normalises temperaments.
Honey normalises the temperaments of phlegm, yellow and black bile if taken first thing in the morning. (Fiqh Al Ridha 47).
عليكم بالعسل، فوالذي نفسي بيده ما من بيت فيه عسل إلا وتستغفر الملائكة لأهل ذلك البيت، فإن شربها رجل دخل في جوفه الف دواء، وخرج عنه ألف داء، فإن مات وهو في جوفه لم تمس النار جسده
Mustadrak Al Wasa’il 16:369 and Al-Mustaghfari’s Tibb Al-Nabi 25.
The Prophetﷺ orders us with honey, as angels will seek forgiveness for those who have it in their homes and when eaten, a thousand treatments enter the body and from the body leaves a thousand ailments. And if one dies with honey inside the body, the fire of hell will not touch them.
Sources: Study of The Medicine of The Prophet Al-Mustafaﷺ – Arabic 4:648-650 and Medicine of the Divinely Guided – Farsi 4:289-292