Raw honey is the nectar from flowers that is pure, unheated, unpasteurized, and unprocessed. All the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients, and nutritional compounds are intact and uncompromised. It is an alkaline forming food that is very different from processed, mass-produced honey (www.benefitsofhoney.com). All these wonderful components in honey are the very things that are destroyed in the pasteurization process of processed honey, and renders this commercial honey to the nutritional level of refined sugar.
Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It promotes digestive health, helps strengthen the immune system, lessens or eliminates allergies, and is good for your skin (www.naturalnews.com). The benefits of raw honey do not stop there. It has been used to stabilize blood pressure, balance sugar levels, and has been used to relieve pain, calm nerves, and to treat ulcers. It is also an expectorant and anti-inflammatory. People – this stuff is really good for you! But only if you buy authentic raw honey. It is best to buy your raw honey from a local source to be sure it is truly raw, particularly if you are using it for allergies. With local honey, the likelihood is great that it will contain small amounts of the pollen to which a person may be allergic and will offer a homeopathic-like remedy for the allergy.
Take the time to find a source that you can trace, because like many health related businesses that are somewhat unregulated, unscrupulous salespeople can sell processed honey and label it “raw” – at least in the USA.
Remember that raw honey can crystallise – a process that causes the honey to appear lumpy, grainy, and thickened. Certain types of honey are more prone to crystallisation than others. Acacia and Tupelo honey tend to resist crystallisation and remain liquid better than some other types. Manuka and Lavender honey tend to crystallise very readily. The process of crystallisation does not affect the taste or the quality of honey at all, though it does adversely affect its appearance. So, please don’t throw your crystallised honey out; it has not “gone bad”. If the appearance bothers you, it is easily reversible by placing your jar of crystallised honey in hot water (40-50C, or about 100F). Remove the jar from this gentle heat as soon as the granules dissolve.
Store your raw honey in a cool, dry place and make sure the cap is tight. Honey will absorb moisture from the environment if left uncovered, and moisture can cause fermentation and lessen the honey’s quality. Always scoop honey with a dry spoon, as any introduction of water content into the jar should be avoided.
Raw honey is so good for you, yes – but can you eat too much? In a word, yes! Even the natural sugars in fruit are bad for you if eaten to excess. How much honey is a tricky question, and depends upon your diet and lifestyle. For instance, if you eat very little sugar and lead an active lifestyle you could eat lots of honey and it would remain very good for you. However, if you consume lots of sugary food and live a sedentary lifestyle, you would not want to consume so much. Excessive consumption of any food (including honey) is not a wise eating choice. But one sure way to healthier eating is to replace as much of your empty calorie table sugar with nutritious raw honey in your everyday food and beverages. You cannot go wrong using this tactic to integrate more raw honey into your diet.
As a very general rule of thumb, not more than 10 teaspoons of honey (about 50ml) per day is recommended. This amount is not based on any medical point of view, but is based on advice from honey producers with good ethics and knowledge (www.benefitsofhoney.com).
Honey is so good used as a sweetener in place of sugar, but there are other wonderful uses for it. Here are a few raw honey natural remedies: (as per Dr. Josh Axe)
1. Improves digestion – Use a tablespoon or two to counter indigestion. It does not ferment in the stomach.
2. Relieves nausea – Mix honey with ginger and lemon to counter nausea.
3. Acne Treatment – take one teaspoon, warm between hands, and spread on face gently. Leave for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water and dry. (Bonus – good for dry skin too!)
4. Exfoliator – Add one cup of honey to your bath and soak for 15 minutes. Then add one cup of baking soda for a further 10 minutes.
5. Improves diabetes – Raw honey increases insulin while decreasing hyperglycaemia. Add a little at a time to your diet and see how your blood sugar reacts to it.
6. Lowers cholesterol with normal use.
7. Improves circulation with normal use.
8. Antioxidant support – Raw honey contains antioxidants.
9. Can improve sleep. If you can tolerate dairy, have a teaspoon or two in a cup of warm milk before bed.
10. Probiotic support – Raw honey contains prebiotics whch promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.
11. Improves allergy symptoms – (if sourced locally).
12. Weight loss – (if you substitute raw honey for the white sugar in your diet.
13. Moisturizer – Mix a spoonful of raw honey with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon; use as a hydrating lotion.
14. Hair mask – Will help boost shine in your hair; mix a couple of teaspoons of raw honey with a couple of cups of water, rinse and style as usual.
15. Reduces inflammation in the body both internally and externally.
If you haven’t yet discovered the benefits of raw honey, then I hope this article inspires you to begin integrating this wonderful food into your diet. If you discover any further uses, please write and let me know.