Raw Honey is a one stop medicine cabinet (Its also delicious). It has been used and prized throughout antiquity for its numerous health benefits. Raw Honey is a truly wonderful gift from our bee friends, and we are truly grateful that in an incresingly chemically saturated environment, we still have access to this amazing alchemical substance in its natural and raw form, free from contaminants or pasteurization. Just as the honeybees intended.
The Principal thing to understand about Raw Honey is that, although it contains sugars, it does not behave like refined sugar in the body. In fact in many ways it does quite the opposite .
Antibacterial and Antioxidant Rich
So much has been made of the antibacterial properties of honey especially owing to the public awareness of Manuka honey, that we often forget the potent antioxidants, minerals and vitamins it contains, not to mention the traces of pollen and propolis which give it antiviral properties too.
The antibacterial component of honey is typically hydrogen peroxide and other non-peroxidal molecules like bee-defensin 1, which aids in the healing of infections, wounds, colds, improves gum health and even helps to restore good gut flora. There is also growing awareness that antibiotic resistant strains of Ecoli and MRSA can now be successfully treated with honey. We can't possibly hope to detail all the benefits of raw honey here, in part because it is still an unfolding story as we find out more and more about this magical substance.
Rudimentary digestive physiology tells us that in order to break down foods we consume we need digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Most living or raw foods, like raw honey or honey that have not been pasteurized, contain their own enzymes making them easy to digest, it also aids in creating healthy gut bacteria, this is what makes them "probiotic", (fermented foods, particularly vegetables and cultured foods like kefir are very rich probiotics which greatly improve gut flora and microbial health in your intestinal tract.). 80% of your immunity is created by your gut flora.
If foods are denatured, processed, or in the case of honey, heat treated, these delicate protein molecules are destroyed. It does not mean the food has no nutritive value, but it means that in order for the body to digest them it has to draw those enzymes from its own stores thus depleting the body of its own vital stores of metabolic enzymes. These molecules catalyze almost every function of the body. Raw honey contains many enzymes including Invertase, diastase and glucose oxidase. These enzymes are also responsible for the antibacterial quality of raw honey by creating hydrogen peroxide, which is the component of raw honey which makes it antibacterial and mildly antiseptic, an aid to wound and burn healing and infections. These enzymes also crucially break down sugars and make them easily assimilable and available for energy to burn fats and renew cells.
"Enzymes help to maintain the body's vital digestive functions, relieve constipation, promote metabolism, and relieve toxin accumulation. Without the pepsin enzymes in the acidic gastric juices, the enzymes in the pancreatic juice, pancreas, and small intestine, our bodies would cease to function. Metabolic enzymes speed up the chemical reaction within the cells for detoxification and energy production. Every organ, every tissue, and all 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reaction of these enzymes. Produced by every living cell, metabolic enzymes enable us to see, hear, feel, move and think".
Wounds Infections and Burns
Raw honey is fantastic for wound healing, Just apply it to the area and put a dressing on it. You'll be surprised how wounds and burns heal quickly and cleanly and how fast infected skin returns to health.
Voice and Throat Care
Raw honey is fantastic for keeping that beautiful singing voice intact and wards of infections and soothes soreness. During winter if you feel the beginnings of a sore throat or infection, regular doses of raw honey and some bee pollen will stop most infections in their tracks.
Raw Honey is famous historically for its curative and beneficial help with digestive tract disorders, whether you suffer from IBS, colitis, poor digestion or any number of gut problems raw honey can be of great assistance to you.
Raw Honey also has a low glycemic index ( how quickly blood sugar rises after eating a particular food) that is it does not cause blood sugar to spike after consumption, in fact it stabilizes blood sugar and is perfect for exercise recovery. A drink of water with a spoonful of diluted raw honey is the perfect isotonic drink.
Teeth and Gums
It may be hard to believe but you can actually brush your teeth with raw honey. It is amazing at preventing plaque and gum disease and even curing it. We have real personal experience of this..
Raw honey can be used as a face-pack, it will cleanse, tighten and nourish your skin leaving it with a natural glow. Diluted it can be used to create hair conditioner that will give you lustrous, chemical free beautiful hair.
Is Our Honey Organic ?
Organic certification standards in the UK indicate that the apiary must be on land that is certified as organic and be such that within a radius of 4 miles from the apiary site, nectar and pollen sources consist essentially of organic crops or uncultivated areas.
Also enough distance must be maintained from non agricultural production sources that may lead to contamination, for example from urban centres, motorways, industrial areas, waste dumps, waste incinerators. The 4 miles guideline originates from research done by The National Pollen Research Institute, which is the maximum distance bee's travel from their hives. In countries like Spain the distance is less; 3 km. This is a very tough standard and even then, its nearly impossible to guarantee the absence of contaminants, windblown pollution, GM pollen etc or to legislate for the movement of bees altogether. So there is still debate as to whether honey can ever be truly organic.
It is possible that honey may even be labelled "Organic" and still be heat treated, blended or filtered. It may still taste good but it lacks the complexity and depth of raw honey and does not necessarily have the healing properties of raw honey. Still we would call our honey" non-certified organic."
In Northern Europe, and South America, because of the dominance of Industrial Agriculture and the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides ( like poisonous Glyphosate or Roundup) and the vast cultivation of GM crops like Soy, Corn and Wheat and Rapeseed. In fact studies in England have shown an average of 22 pesticide/herbicides chemicals sprayed on the average field. This results in a good chance of the honey being contaminated or cross-contaminated.
For a beautiful, poetic and studied paean to the English Countryside and the effects of modern chemical farming read John Lewis-Stempel's the Running Hare
Honey and Crystallization
All honey crystallizes eventually, given the right conditions. Crystallization depends mainly on the proportion of Glucose and Fructose and temperature. Glucose dominant honey is likely to crystallize quicker. Honey crystallizes quickest in a temperature range from about 6-12 degrees C. However when your honey eventually crystallizes it should form an almost creamy fine crystal structure. (Arbutus and Raspberry can be something of an exception, owing to their naturally high water content). Some honey like Carob honey with a high glucose content takes years to crystallize, but the typical reason the average "Runny Honey" from shops stays runny is because it has been heat treated.
If you turn a jar of honey upside down, it should form one single large bubble of air as it travels to the top. If it breaks up it means there is probably too much water in your honey and it lacks purity.
Raw Honey is a truly wonderful gift from our bee friends, and we are truly grateful that we still have access to this amazing alchemical substance in its natural and raw form, free from contaminants or pasteurization. Just as the honeybees intended