The thick, sweet, golden liquid known as honey has been used medicinally for about 8000 years. Pure, raw honey is a healthy alternative to other sugars and sweeteners and is great in a variety of meals and desserts. But it’s not just good for your food – honey actually has many healing properties. Today, you’re going to learn all about honey, the different varieties, and some of the top benefits of pure raw honey that bees work so hard to produce.
How is Honey Made?
You can thank the bees for your honey! Honey bees work hard to produce honey by extracting nectar from certain flowers, then storing it in honeycombs. These are the wax structures you see honey in. Humans will then take these honeycombs to get the honey from them and return them to their original place while bees continue working for it.
Not only do bees and humans enjoy this sweet liquid, but so do bears and many other animals. Here are some benefits of pure, raw honey.
Types of Honey
Whenever the topic of honey and its healing properties come up, a common question is about the type of honey you should get. Particularly, whether you need raw honey or not, what is pure, raw honey, how is it different, and are the healing properties better?
Raw VS Regular Honey
The main difference between raw honey and “regular” honey is that raw honey is unpasteurized, while regular honey is pasteurized.
The honey you get in the supermarket that you have probably been using for years might taste like honey, but it doesn’t have as many health benefits because it has gone through a pasteurization process.
This process makes it smooth and clear, more attractive to the consumer, but it often contains additives to give it a longer shelf life, added sugar,s and preservatives, and can kill some of those healing properties you want from it.
Raw honey, on the other hand, is directly from the honeycomb to the jar. It is filtered to move pollen or debris, but aside from that, it doesn’t go through pasteurization or manufacturing.
Hint: To sum it up, yes, we highly recommend raw honey if you can get your hands on it, especially if it is local. It ensures you are getting the purest honey you can, with all the added health benefits.
Varieties of Honey
Why is it important to understand the difference between the varieties? Because each of them is made differently, with different medicinal properties. Here is a look at the most common types of honey, these are definitely not all there is to choose from.
We are going to start with manuka honey since it has been a trending, popular type of honey for a while now. This type of honey is made specifically from Manuka bushes, which grow in New Zealand. The reason why it is so popular is that it has higher concentrations of antibacterial properties, thanks to the dihydroxyacetone and methylglyoxal in the manuka plant.
In fact, in addition to consuming this delicious honey, you can apply it directly onto wounds and speed up the healing process, though you should not replace medical treatment without speaking to a doctor.
And if you are interested in eating Manuka honey, it has a lot of other nutrients as well, including calcium, magnesium, all the B vitamins, zinc, and potassium.
The next type of honey you might be interested in is Acacia honey. Again, it is from a specific type of plant – the acacia flower. This honey is a paler color than some of the honey you will see, almost like glass. Vitamins include flavonoids, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
It also has some healing properties that are good for the kidney and liver, as well as being useful for tissue and wound healing. Like many types of honey, it naturally contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Clover honey is one of the most common varieties and likely one you have had before. Clover honey is very high in natural antibacterial properties and similar in its healing properties to manuka, except it doesn’t have the methylglyoxal that manuka honey does.
However, clover honey does contain antimicrobial peptides thanks to the bees that make this type of honey.
Lavender honey is a wonderful, rich, healing honey to get if you ever find it in its pure form without added ingredients. Lavender honey is often used as a natural treatment for candida because it has strong antifungal properties. It also contains nutrients, vitamin C, enzymes, and amino acids. It is often used as a topical treatment for fungal infections.
Other Types of Honey
There are many other varieties you can get, including:
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Health Benefits of Pure Raw Honey
Now that you understand a little more about the varieties of honey, let’s discuss the health benefits you get from these different varieties. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather the most common healing benefits you can get by having more honey in your holistic lifestyle.
1. High in Antioxidants
When you get really high-quality honey, without added sugar or preservatives, it is often high in antioxidants. As you know, antioxidants can help your body fight illness and disease, so this helps to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Among the general benefits, studies have shown that people with more antioxidants in their blood have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Can Improve Your Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol, known as the “bad” cholesterol, is closely linked to heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. The good news is there are plenty of healthy lifestyle changes you can make that can improve your LDL levels, including adding healthy foods like honey to your diet.
3. Alternative to Sugar and Sweeteners
While honey naturally does have some sugar in it, it is a completely natural sugar that comes from flowers or plants. This type of sugar has so many other health benefits, so the sweetness is considered a natural source, as opposed to added table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. If you want to sweeten your coffee, tea, baked goods, or oatmeal, consider using a little raw honey instead of sugar.
4. Contains Antibacterial Properties
The antibacterial properties are what make this such a good natural treatment for skin irritations and wounds. It can actually kill fungus and bacteria, similar to using hydrogen peroxide or an antiseptic. In addition to being a natural antibacterial, honey can also contain antifungal properties.
Ways to Use Pure, Raw Honey
Now for the fun part – adding honey into your routine. The best thing about choosing honey for its healing properties is that you can just consume it like you always have, or you can use it on your skin or in your hair. This all depends on the type of benefits you are hoping to get.
Here are some different ways to use honey:
Add it to Coffee or Tea
A very simple way to get more honey into your diet is by adding it to coffee or tea. Replace the sugar or other sweeteners with some raw honey, and not only will your beverage be sweeter and richer, but contain a lot more health benefits.
Replace Other Sweeteners with Honey
When you are making something you want to taste sweet, like marinades, salad dressings, sauces, desserts, and baked goods, you probably add sugar. But why not try a natural source like honey? It is very sweet with a good amount of sugar, but more of the natural variety.
Apply it to Your Skin
Honey is often used for skin irritations, itchy skin, and wounds. It is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so it can be a great addition to your first aid kit.
Make your own skincare products – In addition, you can make natural skin care products like facial scrubs and masks by using honey as one of the ingredients.
Additional Tips for Using and Storing Honey
Before you let you go, here are some additional things you want to know about honey, when and how to use it, storing, and who honey might not be suitable for.
Do Not Give Honey to Infants
Honey is very thick first of all and can be hard for younger infants to eat. If your baby is under a year old, there is also a risk of botulism, which can affect your baby’s immune system. If you have any questions about this, talk to your doctor.
Store it in a Cool, Dry Place
Your honey should never be stored in the refrigerator, as it can harden and crystallize. But you also don’t want it out on the counter if it is hot in your house. Keep it in a cool, dry place, such as a cabinet or pantry.
Try to Buy Your Honey Local
If you are interested in the health benefits of raw honey, try to find it locally. This ensures it is fresh and you get to help local farmers at the same time.