First let’s discuss what does raw mean? It is honey that is unprocessed, not unpasteurized so it still contains naturally occurring pollen, enzymes and antioxidants. Raw honey is made simply by extracting honey from the hive and pouring it over mesh to separate honey from impurities like beeswax. The honey is then strained and bottled for our healthful enjoyment.
Most of the honey sold in stores has been pasteurized and filtered. Some brands put their honey through a second phase of filtration to ensure the honey is as clear and smooth as possible. These steps make the honey clear and consistent bottle after bottle, they also destroy many of the enzymes and beneficial compounds that make honey nutritious. Studies have shown that raw honey contains up to 4 times more antioxidants than processed verities.
Did you know that 70% of the honey consumed in the US is imported? To keep up with the high demand, and reduce costs some manufacturers add sugar or sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup to their honey.
Why Local? As if the thought of consuming high fructose corn syrup when you paid for honey isn’t enough: Local honey comes in different delicious flavors like orange blossom, saw palmetto, or Summer wild flower. The flavor variations are determined by the bees pulling pollen from specific plants, not syrups or flavor enhancers. Farm-raised bees also pollinate local wildlife which is good for the bee population and for the local wildlife. Plus, it’s best to buy anything locally we can. It’s more sustainable, keeps money local, and we are social creatures so it’s good for us to get to know our local shop owners and farmers.
Wondering if local honey is the cure for local allergies? I have sweetened my morning coffee for years with raw, local honey. I started because my mother who was a serious allergy sufferer told me it would reduce my allergy symptoms. No need to worry with science or proof. Her mother told her, and now she was telling me so I put “local honey” in my coffee, and obediently told any other allergy sufferer I encountered that they should do the same. Why? Because my mom said so! Hopeful doctors and scientists have studied local honey to see if over time a person becomes less sensitive to local pollen by ingesting that pollen through honey it in small amounts. The thought was this would lead to fewer seasonal allergy sufferers. And, that may be the case, if bees liked to eat the things that cause our allergies. Bees like to eat pollen from bright, beautiful, colorful flowers. It is pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds that cause our allergies. These pollens tend to be lighter than flower pollen so they fly through the air with ease allowing us to inhale them causing our allergy symptoms. It does not appear that local honey helps with my allergies like my mother said, but I still put honey in my coffee and still fully suggest you do the same. It is natural, delicious, and good for you.
More than a sweetener honey has been used therapeutically for centuries. Honey has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. Back to my suggestion that you put honey in your favorite daily beverage, below is a list of the benefits:
- Diabetes Prevention- Consumption of raw honey can reduce your risk of developing diabetes because it increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia.
- Improved Circulation- Raw honey strengthens the heart and improves circulation
- Antioxidant support- Consumption increase plaque fighting antioxidants
- Improved digestion
- Sleep Aid- Raw honey promotes restorative sleep. Add 1 TBSP to warm milk or caffein free tea before bed time to naturally increase melatonin levels.
- Prebiotics- Full of natural prebiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria
- Weight Loss- Use raw honey in place of white sugar
- Wound healing- Used topically it can quicken healing time of mild burns, wounds or abrasions
- Anti-Inflammatory- Raw honey has anti-inflammatory agents that treat respiratory conditions like asthma
- Relieve sore throat and cough- Swallow 1 tsp or add it to honey and it relieves cough and/or sore throat better than many store-bought syrups.
When you need a sweetener local, raw honey will do they job while providing you with some amazing health benefits. Just skip the “convenient” stuff on the food chain’s shelf you never know what’s really in the bottle.
Last important note:
While raw honey is safe for healthy adults, it can be dangerous for infants. It may contain spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can grow in the gut of developing infants. Children under the age of 12 months should not be given any honey raw or processed.