ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Healthy Benefits of Raw Honey

Updated on June 20, 2012

In ancient times honey was used as both a food and medicine. Beekeeping, called apiculture, dates back to at least 700 BC. Honey was regarded as sacred and used mainly in religious ceremonies and embalming. For centuries only the wealthy could afford its use as a culinary ingredient.

Its use as a sweetener continued unabated until it was discovered refined sugar could be produced from sugar cane and beets. Although honey was still occasionally used in confectionary, it was more or less regulated to medicinal purposes. Today, more and more people are turning to alternative medicines and honey is being “rediscovered” as an excellent one. Recent research also indicates honey is useful as an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant.

Raw honey is rapidly becoming more popular with a growing number of consumers. It’s desired for the same reasons raw vegetables are chosen over cooked. It’s healthier. Of course, honey’s health benefits depend on the quality of pollen, health of the plant it came from and processing. Processing often removes many of the phytonutrients found in raw honey.

Phytonutrients are nutrients derived from plant material deemed necessary for sustaining human life. Some phytonutrients have been shown to aid in cancer prevention and possess anti-tumor properties. When raw honey is processed, these benefits are greatly diminished.

At one time much of the medical community scoffed at the idea something found freely in nature could do what people claim.

But, beekeepers knew all along. How many sick beekeepers do you know? The number isn’t nearly as many as those who have relied solely on conventional medicine. Positive testimonials to its curative properties would fill volumes.

In its raw state, honey contains small amounts of resins found in propolis, sometimes called "bee glue." Honeybees make propolis by mixing plant resins with their own secretions then seal their hives with it, thus protecting it from bacteria. However, small amounts of undesired particles, like road tar, have also been found in propolis.

Over 100 children with upper respiratory tract infections participated in one study. Some were given a single dose of buckwheat honey for relief of nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty. Another group took a name brand cough medicine while others took nothing. The best improvements were seen in those who had taken the honey. However, doctors advise not giving raw honey to those one year old or younger due to bacteria that might cause botulism.

Some physicians now say honey may help control blood sugar levels. New studies suggest the body's tolerance to honey is significantly better than to sucrose or glucose alone and boosts the immune system. In several tests of patients with high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes, honey was proven to be the healthiest sweetener.

However, honey’s most outstanding feature may be its wound healing properties. It has been used for centuries to treat burns and wounds and a therapeutic agent for ulcers. In addition, honey also contains antioxidants and flavonoids thought to act as antibacterial agents.

Darker colored honeys, such as those produced from buckwheat flowers, sage and tupelo, contain more antioxidants than others. For those seeking health benefits from this golden nectar, raw unprocessed honey is the best choice.

Honey comes in various colors including white, amber, red, brown and almost black. Its flavor and texture depends on the type of flower from which it was made. The most common are made from clover, alfalfa, heather and acacia flowers.

Generally, lighter colored honeys are mild while darker honeys have a more robust flavor. Most honey sold in supermarkets is usually pasteurized. But, raw honey can often be found at local farmers markets. Honey not pasteurized, clarified or filtered is best. Look for "100% pure" on the label. Currently there are no strict legal uniform codes for labeling honey as “raw.” Raw honey can be found that has been slightly warmed. This retards granulation and makes light straining and packing easier.

Keep honey stored in an airtight container to keep it from absorbing moisture. Honey stored in a cool dry place will have a long shelf life while those stored at higher temperatures may have an altered flavor and tend to darken.

Comb honey is the most unprocessed form. Today, it’s difficult to find, but sometimes you can locate a jar with a piece added. Before honey extracting devices, honey was mostly produced in this form.

There are those who say honey is sticky and messy to use. For these finicky eaters there is cream honey, also known as whipped, spun, granulated honey or honey fondant. It has a smooth consistency and can be spread like butter.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      In the springtime, my yard is full of native flowers and honey bees. Recently, our local firemen tore down an old shed on their property to make way for a new firehouse. They found that there was a bee hive in the shed, so they called in a bee-keeper to remove it. I got some of the honey that I know was from my flowers. It was just amazing. Really, eating absolutely fresh, raw honey like that is an emotional experience. I am going to set up a hive in my yard to have my own honey from now on!

      Great info! Voted up and awesome! :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, this is wonderful information. Unprocessed foods are so much better than we generally get in the grocery store.

    • beaddve1800 profile image

      beaddve1800 

      6 years ago from Toronto

      Great hub! I am going to share!

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Thanks, I also learn a lot by researching my articles.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Voted UP and useful..interesting..

      Now I've learned something about honey today. Thanks a lot for this info, well-written hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)