The Wonders of Pure Honey

honeyI’ve been hearing a lot lately about the wonders of honey and the confusion about raw or pure honey vs. processed honey.  So, as I often do, I did a little research to clear up any confusion for myself and hopefully for you as well.

Honey is a sweet, viscous fluid produced by honeybees (Apis mellifera) from the nectar of flowers.  Honey is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. It contains about 70-80% sugar; the rest is water, vitamins, minerals, and traces of protein, acids, and other substances.  Honey has been used by ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks as a medicinal remedy for the management of wounds, skin ailments, and various gastrointestinal diseases.

References to the use of honey for wound healing and various gut infections can be found in ancient Egypt and Greek inscriptions. In 400 B.C. Hippocrates prescribed honey for pain and fever. Honey was the most popular ancient Egyptian drug, mentioned 500 times in 900 remedies.

In its raw state, honey is one of nature’s most perfect foods. In addition to a multitude of antioxidants, one ounce of raw honey contains approximately 20 vitamins, 18 amino acids, 16 minerals, and a ton of antioxidants, as well as plenty of phytonutrients and flavonoids.  In its raw state, honey has shown to have an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

When honey is processed, however, the benefits begin to subside. Heating is the biggest culprit. But even when processed and heated at high temperatures, processed honey is still a wonder food that should not be discounted.

For best health results, always look for organic, pesticide-free raw honey and makes sure that the words “raw” or “pure” appear somewhere on the label. Though honey will darken or lighten according to the type of pollen the honey bees have collected, raw honey always has some texture and often is cloudy.

Honey that is sparkling clear and free from wax and other debris has usually been processed with excessive heat, which may have destroyed many of honey’s good enzymes and vitamins.

Here are some uses of pure honey that I discovered in my research:

Due to it’s antibacterial properties, pure honey is a great home remedy for cuts and scrapes and even bee stings.

For coughs, colds, or sore throats, just mix some pure honey into your tea or just take a spoonful straight.

Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air, which makes it wonderful for your face and hair.  Its antibacterial, antimicrobial and moisturizing properties will work wonders for your complexion.

Honey is a great alternative sweetener for baking and cooking.  Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is not the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Its exact combination of fructose and glucose actually helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.

Honey is typically very safe.  So safe, in fact, that most bacteria cannot even grow in raw honey.  But even honey, whether raw or processed, is not perfect.

I found it very interesting and helpful to know that along with the good, honey can also contain a little bad.  Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause a life-threatening paralytic disease in infants and children under the age of one, is sometimes found in honey, so never give honey to infants under the age of one.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you enjoy the benefits of pure honey.  If you’ve found some uses for honey that I didn’t mention, please share with us!

Be well.

Mike

Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga.  He has over 10 years experience in custom compounding.  Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue.  He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness.  Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program.  He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.

sources:  natural standard database; simplehomemade.net; smartlivingnetwork.com; care2.com

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