5 Great Benefits of raw Honey
History of Honey
Honey has been used for 8,000 years in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese healing. Since these times, the use of honey has not diminished rather the uses have expanded as well as scientific data surrounding it. Raw honey has many great benefits but we will focus on five of them here.
Antibacterial and Antifungal
Honey has been considered beneficial because of the antioxidant boost that it gives when it is consumed, but with more research there continues to be more extensive benefits of honey. Free radical are unstable atoms that have lost an electron and can react with other atoms or cells. This process continues and a process called oxidation occurs, and this leads to faster aging, heart disease, cancer, possibly Alzheimer’s, cataracts, genetic degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, and many others.
Antioxidants prohibit and prevent the free radicals by counteracting them and removing them from the bloodstream. As we age, we have more free radicals and must consume external sources of antioxidants to continue to fight the increase in free radicals. Wrinkles can be caused by free radicals and the consumption of antioxidants can help combat the effects of aging as well as some diseases.
A biochemist by the name of Heidrum Gross and his colleagues at the University of California, Davis fed 25 participants a 1/4 cup of buckwheat honey each day for 29 days. During the duration of the research, the participants had blood drawn periodically and there was a correlation between honey consumption and polyphenolic antioxidants in the participant’s plasma. Another study to suggest that replacing sugars and sweeteners with honey may be much healthier than originally thought.
Antibacterial and Anti-fungal
There are records of raw honey being used for wounds in ancient Egypt and other cultures throughout history. Discarded by many in Western Sciences as folklore or wive’s tales, research has proven that raw honey does in fact inhibit bacteria and fungus. Some research shows results although not completely effective at inhibiting bacteria and yeast other research is more in depth in explaining finding and the results of raw honey in stopping specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and molds with the number of days they were still active before stopping propagation.
Honey is used to help acne scars and prevent acne itself because of the antibacterial and healing properties. A natural remedy that is generally a better and safer alternative than putting synthetic chemicals onto their skin to be absorbed by their bodies for the prevention of acne. Annie Chiu, a Dermatologist in California, states that raw honey is a good facial mask the helps because of the antibacterial and anti-inflamatory properties that raw honey has. Apply a raw honey mask and let it set for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off.
Fungal infections are increasing throughout the world and fungi are becoming resistant to medications and treatments. This is another reason that raw honey should be investigated more in depth for its anti-fungal properties. Oxford Academic released a study pertaining to various honeys, mainly raw honeys but also an artificial honey, and the efficiency of controlling Candida. Interestingly, the artificial honey had little to no effect on these fungi, but others did prove to be helpful.
Half the story about phytonutrients are the antioxidant component which we discussed already. The other side of phytonutrients is the anti-inflammatory properties they possess. The helps with healing and reducing swelling to promote healing and blood flow to an area. Although, these nutrients are present in raw honey and a eliminated when honey is processed. There are over 900 types of phytonutrients and more than 5,000 different phytochemicals have been identified . These are generally found when eating fruits and vegetables but raw honey contains them as well.
The coloring of the fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. general offer a rule of thumb as to how much phytonutrients they contain. The darker the color the more phytonutrients it contains. This is the same rule of thumb with raw honey, the darker the honey the more phytonutrient is contains. Many tests use Manuka honey and buckwheat honey, some of the darkest raw honeys on the market and both with reputations for having the most healing properties in regards to honey. Another dark honey would be clover honey, and this is a type of raw honey that is more prominent than Manuka and buckwheat honey in most local markets.
Penn State released a study showing how they used honey for children cough suppressant at night and that it was more effective than dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant in many over-the-counter cold medications. This is a great indicator because coughing is the symptom that nearly 3% of all outpatient visits in the United States and raw honey is a safer alternative to medications, over-the-counter and prescription.
Israel and Italy have both performed studies that show honeys such as wildflower, eucalyptus, citrus, and labiatae honeys outperform placebos in reducing nighttime cough and sleeping issues with children with upper respiratory infections. With the various raw honeys used in these studies it shows that raw honey in general is an effective natural cough suppressant although some honeys may be better than others. There are warnings about children under the age of 1 to not consume honey, this is because of the risk of infant botulism, a rare but dangerous form of food poisoning.
A highly-rated recipe from "Barefeet in the Kitchen” is as follows:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey locally produced raw honey is best, if available
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Mix these ingredients in an air tight container, refrigerating it will make it last longer. Shake well before use and take a tablespoon as needed.
Raw honey helps people sleep better, it doesn’t matter if they are sick or not sick. There are multiple ways that honey will allow us to enter sleep easier and have a restful sleep longer. Consuming raw honey is promoted by many, the likes of Doctor Oz included. Eating a tablespoon of raw honey before bedtime kick starts a process of slightly raising our insulin levels and tryptophan to enter our brain easier. Tryptophan is used by the body to create melatonin, serotonin, and niacin. It reduces irritability in older adults, helps women with premenstrual syndrome, as well as helping people with depression and anxiety issues. This will help relax an individual and allow them to enter a restful sleep easier.
While sleeping, honey that is consumed before bedtime ensures that the liver has adequate levels of glycogen stored and this prevents or limits the the early morning release of cortisol and adrenaline, two stress hormones. Raw honey also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. The release of melatonin is a key aspect to restful sleep because it promotes the release of growth hormone to help our bodies recovery and rebuilding our bodies tissue during our resting phase.
Honey is very impressive with all it does to help us get a restful night of sleep. It is amazing how many avenues raw honey takes to help with stable blood sugar levels, releasing key hormones to help us sleep, recover, and even process memories during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
Raw honey is the terminology that is stated more often than not because there is a major issue with many “honey” not actually being pure honey. There are some that have fed honey bees sugar water instead of letting the bees collect nectar and turn it into honey, others that add syrup or other additives into honey to increase the yield, but many of these are in my mind fraudulent and unethical. This is why so many people support buying from a local source with a good reputation.
Another issue is pasteurized honey. This is an issue because all the micro nutrients and other portions of honey that give it the antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antibacterial, etc. are eliminated during pasteurizing. A local raw honey has the benefits that many talk about, but not cut with other ingredients to increase yield. Talk to others and support raw honey because of the many benefits it provides.