Health Benefits of Honey


Honey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People have been collecting honey since before the pyramids were built. Generations have taken advantage of the beesโ€™ natural behavior and collected honey for numerous uses.

People often wonder if there is any difference between the clear golden honey on your local grocery store’s shelves and raw honey straight from the hive. Actually, there is quite a difference.

Raw honey is the concentrated nectar of flowers straight from the extractor. It is not heated or pasteurized but may be filtered in a way that does not destory its nutrients. Raw honey often contains propolis which the bees use to seal the hive.

Propolis contains several nutrients which have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Processed honey also contains propolis but to a lesser extent.

Unlike pastuerized honey, raw honey is solid at room temperature and appears to be milky. This milky look is a good sign that it contains the pollen, ezymes, minerals, propolis, and vitamins you expect it to have in its raw form.

Medicinal Honey and Wounds

In ancient times honey was used to treat wounds, and there is a small body of scientific evidence that suggests honey may be used as a topical treatment, but is this a medically sound idea?

Honey has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. If you are going to use it to treat wounds, the honey must be medical grade which means it has been sterilized by gamma irradiation and has standardized antibacterial activity.

Researchers out of the University of Waikato in New Zealand have seen remarkable results from patients using manuka honey topically as treatment for diabetic ulcers, leg and skin ulcers, pressure sores, wounds, and rashes. Some of these were formerly unresponsive to traditional medical treatments.

Historical Note

Organic Raw Oaxaca Honey

Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to supplant the Bourbon line that traditionally ruled France and establish himself as emperor.

He searched for a symbol that was older than the Bourbon fleur-de-lys, and after much discussion with scholars and historians of the day, the bee was adopted as his personal emblem.

Historians said that the tomb of Childerac I contained a horseโ€™s harness with 300 golden fluerons intended to represent bees, and thus the bee is a symbol of Frankish royalty.


Medicine vs. Dietary Supplement

Honey is named after the tree or plant the nectar is collected from. So manuka honey is from nectar of the manuka tree, clover honey from the clover plant, etc.

If you’re looking to get more nutrition through honey, experiment with local honeys or the darker honeys. Buckwheat honey shows a lot of promise, but you can try other dark honeys like manuka, acacia, tupelo, or sunflower.

Honey also contains phytochemicals derived from plants which are responsible for its antioxidant activity. The amount of antioxidant depends on the plant it’s derived from. The amount of antioxidant in honey can’t compare to that of berries or vegetables, but then veggies don’t taste quite as sweet.

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