Raw honey is honey in its purest form that has not been micron-filtered, strained or heated above natural hive temperatures. It’s the closest you’ll get to eating honey straight from the hive. The majority of the brands commercially available have been so processed (pasturised & filtered), that all of the amazing beneficial enzymes, nutrients and antioxidants that give honey its powerful nutritional and medicinal benefits, have been completely destroyed.
From a deliciousness perspective, honey can be used as a spread, as a topping, in warm tea (not hot – or the goodies are destroyed), in Greek yoghurt (add some walnuts – YUM!), in dressings and marinades. From a medicinal perspective, the proof of honey’s healing power dates back more than 5000 years. Even Hippocrates found that honey “cleans sores and ulcers of the lips, heals carbuncles and running sores.” Honey in its natural state is full of unique elements that are impossible to find elsewhere in nature. Incredibly beneficial to our health, these include:
Amid growing concern over drug-resistant superbugs and non-healing wounds, that nature”s original antibiotic, honey (in particular, the potent ‘Manuka Honey’) is making a serious comeback. In a study of 104 patients with first-degree burns, researchers in Maharashtra, India, compared honey”s effectiveness to gauze soaked in silver sulfadiazine (SS), the conventional burns treatment. After seven days, 91 percent of honey-treated burns were infection-free compared with 7 percent of those treated with SS. After 15 days, 87 percent of honey-treated burns were healed compared with 10 percent of the SS-treated burns.
Dr. Peter Molan, professor of biochemistry at Waikato University, New Zealand, has been at the forefront of honey research for 20 years. He heads the university”s Honey Research Unit, which is internationally recognised for its expertise in the antimicrobial properties of honey. Dr. Molan believes that if honey were used from the start in cases of septicemia, there would be far less tissue damage resulting.”The remarkable ability of honey to reduce inflammation and mop up free radicals should halt the progress of the skin damage like it does in burns, as well as protecting from infection setting in”, says Dr. Molan. “At present, people are turning to honey when nothing else works. But there are very good grounds for using honey as a therapeutic agent of first choice.”
So impressive is honey’s antimicrobial ability, that New Jersey company Dema Sciences have developed Medihoney Manuka honey wound dressings. These dressings are able to reduce pain and inflammation, minimise scarring, fight infection, dramatically reduce odour, and stimulate the new growth of skin. Honey absorbs the moisture on the skin through the process of osmosis, which helps to kill bacteria as it dries the wound. It stimulates the growth of new cell tissues and speeds up the healing process, something that traditional antibiotics are incapable of.
And the list of honey’s beneficial functions continues. Honey increases calcium absorption; can increase hemoglobin count and treat or prevent anemia caused by nutritional factors; can help arthritic joints, when combined with apple cider vinegar fights; colds and respiratory infections of all kinds; can help to boost gastrointestinal ulcer healing; works as a natural and gentle laxative; aids constipation, allergies and obesity; provides an array of vitamins and minerals; and supplies instant energy without the insulin surge caused by white sugar. Many have also found raw honey helpful for its positive effects against allergies and hay fever, and one or two teaspoons last thing at night can help with insomnia. Wow. Winnie the Pooh was a smart cookie. And most likely a healthy one!
Click here to find some ways in which you can regularly benefit from honey – inside and out.