7 Surprising Benefits of Honey and Milk

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Milk and honey are known for their benign properties. When combined together, they provide many surprising health benefits. This includes benefits in skincare and increased stamina. Milk and honey also have a biblical connotation. Jerusalem is referred to as the ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ in the Old Testament. Meant to denote fertility and abundance, it shows how the two were traditionally seen as a metaphor for all the good things in life.

Honey is traditionally used for health due to its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, as well as its soothing, anti-inflammatory effects on respiratory issues. Milk, on the other hand, has traditionally been praised for its vitamin and mineral content, including fat-soluble vitamins – vitamin A, D and B vitamins, and calcium. It also contains animal protein and lactic acid. When milk and honey are taken together, they give us some unique and desirable benefits.

Health Benefits of Honey and Milk

Honey with a cup of warm milk is not just delicious, it is also packed with goodness. Here are a few of the top reasons you should try this drink:

Skin Care

Both honey and milk possess antimicrobial and cleansing properties. According to an article published in the Central Asian Journal of Global Health in vitro experimentation with honey showed that it could kill microbes that affect the skin, alter microbial pathogenicity, modulate immunological parameters, reverse resistance to antibiotics, inhibits tumor cell growth, promotes tissue repair, and protect against UV damage.

When mixed with milk, honey masks are effective for relieving acne. The face mask brings together the properties of both the ingredients. The two are common ingredients in natural cleansers because when used together they can give the skin a healthy glow. You can also try the bath regime famously attributed to one of the most alluring beauties of the world, Cleopatra. The Egyptian queen apparently took a bath in milk and honey.

Explore a range of honey face masks in our article on 8 Ways To Use Honey Mask For Acne. If it’s a rejuvenating bath you fancy, check out our article on Milk Bath.

A glass of fresh milk with a bowl of golden honey on a white wooden table

Honey and milk make a delicious and healthy combination. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Boosts Stamina

A glass of milk and honey every morning is thought to improve a person’s stamina. Milk contains protein, while honey contains the necessary carbohydrates required for an effective stimulus of metabolism. A review published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that milk could be an effective post-exercise beverage. When compared with most sports drinks, milk is more nutrient-dense for people who engage in strength and endurance activities.

Animal proteins from milk are broken down into basic amino acids by enzymes and are then reformed to create usable proteins for humans. The excess material in this transformation is then oxidized as usable energy. Proteins are an essential part of the human diet, and honey helps to stimulate their metabolism.

Bone Health

As research on honey continues, it is gradually becoming clear that honey acts as a carrier and transporter of nutrients from food throughout the body. Specifically, honey can improve the body’s acute uptake of calcium, of which milk is a rich source. An animal study published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that honey promoted calcium absorption for a short period.

We know that milk is a major source of calcium. So, consuming honey and milk together will not only give your body the calcium for your bones, but it will also maximize its absorption in the body. Proper calcium levels can prevent conditions like osteoporosis and inflammation of the joints.

Reduces Insomnia

Honey and milk have both been used as remedies for insomnia and sleeplessness in alternative medicine. Honey contains tryptophan which helps in promoting good sleep. Tryptophan is normally converted into serotonin, which induces a feeling of relaxation. A negative impact of tryptophan depletion on sleep continuity is well demonstrated in one study published in Psychiatry Research.

Individually, they are both effective, but the effects are strengthened when taken together. In a 2018 research, published in Clinical Nutrition, the researchers observed that heart patients who were administered a milk and honey mixture twice a day for three days reported a marked improvement in their sleep.

Health benefits of honey and milk infographic

When milk and honey are mixed together, you can benefit from their combined antioxidant properties.

Anti-aging Properties

People in many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Indians, drank milk and honey to preserve their youth. It was believed that the combination of milk and honey impacted the whole body, making it agile and youthful. Since milk and honey were believed to ensure a long life, their combination was known as ‘the elixir of life’.

While we may not have studies on milk and honey combined, research has shown quite conclusively that individually both have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them effective anti-aging agents. Honey’s prowess in maintaining healthy youthful skin is explained above.

A study published in the Iran Journal of Basic Medical Science further found that antioxidants in honey may also slow down cognitive decline. Similarly, the antioxidant carotenoid and vitamin D were credited with milk’s anti-aging properties in an article published in Dermato Endocrinology.

Antibacterial Properties

Honey and milk have potent antibacterial properties. But together they enhance each other’s antibacterial power. A review published in the African Journal of Biotechnology found that the combination of milk and honey could provide not just nutrition, but could also act as effective protection against microbial infection.
The drink is effective in managing flatulence, constipation, and intestinal disorders. It is also good for treating respiratory disorders such as cold and cough.

Does Honey Become Toxic In Warm Milk?

Honey does not become toxic when added to warm milk. However, honey should not be heated to temperatures higher than 140 degrees, according to a study published in the Ayurveda journal Ayu. Heating honey rapidly over direct heat results in degradation of its nutrient value. It can also result in the formation of a compound known as 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural, which can have both beneficial and harmful effects on our health. However, it does not turn toxic. It is recommended to add the desired amount of honey in warm milk, rather than heating it with the milk or adding it to hot milk.

Word of Caution: While honey and milk can benefit your health in many ways, there are some factors that you should be aware of:

  • Avoid this drink if you are lactose-intolerant or have an allergy to honey.
  • Heated honey can form 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural as explained above.
  • Honey is not recommended for people with diabetes or those who want to lose weight. You can read more about side-effects of honey in our article Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits Of Raw Honey
  • High consumption of dairy is linked to increased incidents of acne. So, avoid this drink if you are susceptible or if you experience a sudden acne breakout.
  • Remember, moderation is the key!
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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