Most people know honey as that sticky and delicious golden substance that goes great with countless food choices. But it’s actually much more than that. Americans consume about 1.3 pounds of honey per person per year, and not only is honey used as a natural sweetener and healthier alternative to refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but it’s suggested to serve as a beneficial holistic treatment method for a number of aspects regarding overall health. Here are just a few health benefits of honey you may have never even heard of.

As a Salve for Healing Wounds

Most people are aware that honey is frequently used in a number of DIY skin care treatments, but it has more healing properties than you’d expect. It can be used as a topical salve to expedite the healing process of even severe wounds, such as dog bites. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year, and experts cite manuka honey in particular as being the most effective soothing salve.

To use manuka honey as a wound treatment, first clean the wound thoroughly and make sure it’s dry. Then, carefully apply about three teaspoons of the honey, or enough to cover the wound. Let it sit for several hours, and if you want to protect it even further, you can wrap it in gauze to wear overnight.

To Reduce Dental Plaque

More than half of the adult U.S. population surveyed over age 50 agree that a smile is the one physical feature that stays the most attractive as we age, according to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. And while many people are quick to assume that honey has nothing but negative effects on oral health, that’s suggested to be far from the case.

“How many times have you heard from the dentist to limit the amount of sweets you consume or you’ll end up with a mouth full of cavities?…Conventional wisdom would suggest the sugar in honey is not healthy for your teeth. It turns out this is completely wrong,” writes nutritionist Angela Ysseldyk on BeePollenBuzz.

To use honey to help reduce plaque, Ysseldyk recommends gargling with simple and effective natural mouthwash made with a half cup of lukewarm filtered water and a teaspoon of liquid, unpasteurized honey (pasteurized won’t work). If you prefer, you can also stir in a packed of all-natural sweetener, Xylitol for an added effect. Gargling with this mixture can also help to prevent and kill infections like Strep in your throat. The key to using this mixture is to not rinse your mouth out afterward in order to let the healthy bacteria work on your teeth.

To Enhance Fertility

Approximately 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Fertility is undoubtedly a complex aspect of health, but ancient teachings suggest that consuming raw honey by itself or dissolved in milk may help to improve your fertility.

“Yunani teachings, and alternative medicine, recommends honey for thousands of years to improve male and female fertility…It is rich in minerals and amino acids that are beneficial to the reproductive system…Men can eat two tablespoons of honey (or simply dissolved in milk) every night before bed. Women can eat half a teaspoon of honey with a hint of cinnamon all before bedtime each night,” writes BrightHealing.

As time goes on, the immense and almost miraculous benefits of honey are still being discovered. Needless to say, it’s always a good idea to keep a bottle of fresh, raw honey in your kitchen — and maybe even your first aid kit!