Honey has been used since ancient times as food as well as medicinal purposes. It also been known to be used for cosmetic purposes. During historical periods, over a long duration, only the rich were able to afford honey as it was expensive so they were the only the ones that could use it for cooking purposes. Apiculture is the process of bee-keeping and producing honey. The awareness of the benefits of raw honey dates back to 700 A.D.
Over a long period of time during history, honey was used mainly to pay tribute to the gods as well as to embalm the deceased, mainly the royals. This was especially done in Egypt and they knew of the benefits of raw honey since ages. Bee pollen has also been used in Chinese medicines for long life, unbalanced nutrition, energy and much more. In the Bible, honey is considered to be of great importance as God used honey as a way of motivation for the Israelites saying, “Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 33:3) and also King Solomon says, “My son, eat thou honey, for it is good.” Thus, honey is not only considered as healthy but also used in many cultures for religious as well as traditional purposes.
What Is Raw Organic Honey?
Raw honey is made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Worker bees gather the nectar and put it in their honey sac which is then mixed with acid secretions and also reduce the moisture from 40 or 80% to only 18 or 20%. Nowadays honey is only consumed after it is heated and filtered whereas raw honey is unfiltered. The main benefits of raw honey is that it contains all the natural enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins and other elements. Raw honey is either in solid or liquid form and is normally is opaque, milky and the colors may be white, yellow or brown.
The two beneficial components are bee pollen and propolis. Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and proteins that are natural healthy whereas propolis is gathered by the bees to line the hive in order to keep themselves as well as the colony healthy. If a person has pollen or bee allergies, bee pollen could cause hives, shortness of breath or even anaphylaxis that can be fatal. Raw honey is an alkaline food whereas processed honey is an acid forming food.
12 Benefits Of Raw Honey
1. Aids In Weight Loss
This is one of the important benefits of raw honey. A study done in the University of Wyoming, honey can activate the hormones needed to suppress appetite. In the study, non-obese women’s glycemic responses and appetite suppressor hormones were checked, after giving them a breakfast containing sugar or honey. The study concluded that honey reduces the risk of obesity. This is due to the fact that honey activates the appetite suppressor hormones which results in consumption of lesser calories entering the body and thus helps in losing weight.
2. Aids Sleep
Consumption of honey leads to the rise of insulin in blood. This results in the release of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. The body in turn, converts serotonin to melatonin which is vital for sleep. Raw honey is a natural sleep aid.
3. Treats Dandruff
Honey has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight against fungus causing dandruff and also can moisturize the dry scalp. It can deep cleanse the scalp and remove dead skin cells as well as increase hair follicles on the scalp.
4. Treats Wounds & Burns
This is one the benefits of raw honey as well as other types of honey too. Wounds that are caused by methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus can be killed by applying honey. Also, burns that can be a favorable environment for bacterial infections; can also be prevented by the antibacterial properties of honey and helps in quicker healing of burns.
5. Reduces The Symptoms Of Herpes
The hydrogen peroxidase enzymes present can be potent on the wound and further draws fluid out of the wound so that it gets dried up and creates an unfavorable environment for bacteria.
There are some types of honey that contain friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus and species of Bifidobacteria. These can have therapeutical effects on the body.
7. Ayurvedic Medications
Raw honey benefits are well documented in ayurvedic books. Honey is used in Ayurveda since ancient times and has been useful for improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence, bronchial asthma, diarrhea and nausea.
8. Increases Athlete’s Performance
During ancient times, Olympic athletes would consume to enhance their performance. It has also been shown to maintain glycogen levels in the body.
9. Prevents Cancer
Honey contains flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants that reduce the risk of some cancers as it can prevent the cells from DNA damage and promotes cell repair.
10. Reduces Throat & Cough Irritation
Mainly, buckwheat honey was found in a study to be just as effective for cough and throat as a single dose of dextromethorphan, in children.
11. Reduces Ulcers
Studies have shown where honey is effective on ulcers. This is due to the fact that it has a soothing effect and also kills harmful bacteria.
12. Reduces Of Risk Of Diabetes
Studies have suggested that honey consumption can cause lower elevation of plasma glucose levels in diabetics as compared to other sugars. Raw honey increase insulin levels and lowers the risk of hyperglycemia in people who may be at risk of developing Diabetes.
Comparisons Of Honey
Raw Honey Vs Processed Honey
Raw honey cannot be heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit as that is the normal temperature of the hive. Raw honey can be strained however, filtering it or pasteurizing it will destroy the benefits of raw honey. Additives should not be added to it as it will lower it’s nutritional value.
Unpasteurized honey has so many benefits while processed honey is filtered and heated. This processed honey loses its beneficial pollen, phytonutrients and propolis rich enzymes. Heat destroys proteins, vitamins, enzymes and minerals that provide nutrition to the body naturally.
Research conducted by the Palynology Research Laboratory at Texas University tested 60 honey products from grocery stores and supermarkets and discovered that 76% of honey products contained no bee pollen. While some honey products even contain high fructose corn syrup.
Organic Vs Non Organic Honey
Organic honey is usually raw honey and is not heated above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Organic honey must follow organic management and go according to the standards set by the respective country. Processing should only consist of gravitational settling and straining.
Manuka Vs Other Honey
Manuka honey has a higher mineral value and nutrition as compared to the other types of honey. The global standards of measuring the antibacterial properties of this particular honey; is the UMF which is known as the unique Manuka factor. The minimum UMF rate which is considered to be beneficial to the body is UMF10+ level and above UMF 16 is considered to be the most superior quality of all the honeys.
Nutritional Value Of Raw Honey
Raw honey contains all 22 amino acids, 5000 enzymes and 27 minerals. Vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and niacin. While the minerals present are potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and selenium. One tablespoon of honey contains about 64 calories but also does not lead to a elevated sugar increase in blood levels like it does in refined sugar.
Although honey is quite affordable, bees spend a long period of time producing it. The lesser the water content in the honey, the better is the quality.
In this way, consuming raw honey instead of refined sugars can give you many health benefits.