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Raw Honey: Sweet Benefits

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Many people have heard that honey is good for you but do you know how and why? There are a number of conflicting 'old wives tales' about the benefits of honey, as well. What are the facts and what are the fables?

The evidence of the benefits of honey date back to ancient Egypt, in some cases. The Egyptians used the natural preservative qualities of honey to preserve foods. It does not mold or decompose with age although it may crystallize. However, when heated the crystallization can be almost completely reversed.

The health benefits and uses of honey can be traced to medieval times, and have begun to be rediscovered. There have been many scientific studies done recently on the health benefits and uses of honey. The effectiveness of some of these benefits can vary by the type of pollen and location of the hives the honey comes from. Since the honey making process cannot be controlled or standardized each batch of honey will vary a little.

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Traditional Uses of Raw Honey

One of the earliest uses of honey was likely for the topical treatment of burns and wounds. There have been studies done on the effectiveness of treating minor cuts, scrapes and burns with it as well. Among the noted benefits were a reduction in pain and inflammation, a natural and gentle removal of the dead skin cells, as well as quicker healing with minimal scarring.

There is promising research overseas about the effects of honey in cancer treatment. This research is not conclusive, but seems to show a significant slowing in the spread and growth of some cancer cells.

Studies have also shown supporting evidence that honey can aid in the healing and prevention of fungal and viral infections,in minor wounds and the body in general.

Other studies suggest that honey can also help reduce bad cholesterol levels, when consumed on a daily basis. Many people believe that it causes a lower rise in blood sugar levels than refined sugars.

Local raw honey has been rumored to aid in the tolerance of outdoor allergies. Honey is also a natural cough suppressant, and much easier to get a child to take than the conventional alternative, an over the counter medication.

Other uses for honey, traditional and modern, include

  • Candida growth is inhibited in honey
  • Diluted to 40 percent honey is an antibacterial to Salmonella shigella, E. coli and vibrio cholera
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Helping skin grafts heal
  • Cuts down on scarring
  • Colitis

Using Honey Every Day

Reaping these benefits is much more simple than you might think. Honey can add a nice mild flavor when used as a sweetener in hot or iced tea. It has a comforting flavor when spread on hot, buttered toast. Honey is also very good in oatmeal, or as a dip for fruits. It can replace part or even all of the refined sugar in many common recipes.

The best place to get good, raw, local honey, is your local produce stand or farmers market. Honey in bigger stores can be from across the country, and is almost always processed. Once honey is heated and processed much of the benefits are gone. It is best to get fresh, local, raw honey whenever possible.

Before you use honey for health purposes always discuss your intentions with your health care provider. He can guide you to the best plan for your health. It is important never to feed raw honey to a child under the age of two. There are occasionally bacteria in unpasteurized honey that can make a small child quite ill. It does not effect adults and older children.

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    • eatlikenoone profile image

      eatlikenoone 

      7 years ago from Saline, MI

      I have just gotten into exploring all the different varieties of honeys out there. Last year was our first year with raw honey and my wife noticed her fall allergies weren't bad at all.

    • nick071438 profile image

      nick071438 

      8 years ago from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines

      I am fully convinced that raw honey contains nutritive and substantive values. There's no substitute to it because it's made by Mother Nature. I believe taking it everyday if possible is advisable than smoking a pack of Philip Morris a day and gulping a bottle of Tanduay Rhum. The big problem is this commodity is a rarity in our place. I only hope this becomes a home industry by culturing it so that there would be enough supply for all.

    • torkinhedd profile image

      torkinhedd 

      8 years ago

      Honey has very powerful antibiotic properties and is a great all rounder for maintaining health. I take a spoonful of honey every day and rarely suffer colds. Love this hub as I am a big supporter of natural health.

    • profile image

      Chenet 

      8 years ago

      I also use raw honey as a food supplement for my daughter who has a chronic asthma. I notice that pure honey can reduce her chest pain and dissolve mucus faster than synthetic antibiotics.

    • SamSurvivor profile image

      SamSurvivor 

      9 years ago

      Great information. Seem more and more people are becoming aware of the health benefits of raw honey!

      Local raw honey is said to help those with allergies and I can attest to that. It has certainly helped me!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 

      9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Pat says - when my kids were little my sister-in-law kept bees, and gave me raw honey. My older kid thought that it improved his breathing (he has alergic asthma). Now he is grown, and often works in other countries for months at a time. he always tries to buy local raw honey and is convinced it keeps him healthy.

      Thanks for a good hub.

    • profile image

      Mary 

      9 years ago

      I look forward to reading your hubs. Thanks for the info.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 

      9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Very nice hub. As an allergy sufferer, I like to use the local honey for the reasons stated in your hub. Plus, it tastes good! Thanks, Marye.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      9 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Manuka honey in an active state is widely used in New Zealand to heal wounds. You can now buy it as prepared wound dressings. Excellent hub, thanks

    • Jeniferr profile image

      Jeniferr 

      9 years ago from United States

      Raw honey is truly a wonderful thing to eat. In the past, I've just purchased it at the local farmer's market but there seems to be a large variety of raw honey online...I must explore the possibilities! Thanks for the great hub on one of my favorites!

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