Have you heard that there’s a new health food on the scene. It’s kind of funny since this particular health food has been used by humans for thousands of years so it’s hardly new. But folks today are finally learning a simple fact that our ancestors were very familiar with: raw honey is good for you. Very good for you. Who knew?
If you’re like most people you probably have a jar of honey in your cupboard that you occasionally use to sweeten your tea or drizzle over Yankee Cornbread. But almost all honey from the store is pasteurized and micro-filtered leaving it devoid of the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that make raw honey a super-food. Over 75% of commercial honey contains no pollen whatsoever making it the nutritional equivalent of corn syrup.
Raw honey, on the other hand, is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains all the B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C, D, E and K. It also contains magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, copper and has a higher enzyme content than almost any other food. Yes, it’s a sweetener but it has a healthy glycemic load meaning it won’t cause the high sugar spike and subsequent insulin release that white sugar does. We love raw honey around here and here’s why:
5 Fabulous Ways To Use Raw Honey
1. Relieve Allergies
There is increasing evidence that people who suffer from seasonal allergies can find relief by taking a daily dose of raw local honey in the weeks leading up to, and during, allergy season. The theory is that it works like a vaccine. The bees gather pollen (the stuff that’s causing your allergy) and make honey out of it. Eating that honey gets the pollen into your system in a form your body doesn’t consider a threat. Over time your body gets used to the pollen in the honey and therefore gets used to the pollen in the air. You have to use raw local honey for this to have an effect. I know several people this has worked for including farm kid #3.
Directions–eat 1 tbsp. (1 tsp. for children) of raw local honey daily. Start several weeks before allergy season and continue throughout the season.
2. Soothe Coughs and Sore Throats
Raw honey is a great remedy for coughs and sore throats. Studies show that raw honey can work as well or better than many over-the-counter cough medicines. Honey’s thick consistency coats the throat and the sweetness is believed to trigger nerves that make your throat less vulnerable to the cough reflex. Raw honey is very antibacterial which can soothe and lessen the duration of sore throats.
Directions–scoop out a tsp. of raw honey onto a spoon. Add 3-4 drops lemon essential oil and mix with a toothpick. Put spoon in mouth and slide out slowly, leaving honey on your tongue. Let honey slowly dissolve and run down the back of your throat. Repeat as needed.
3. Replace Antibiotic Cream
Raw honey is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Applying a thin layer to cuts and scrapes can sterilize the area and promote healing. Honey will keep the wound moist and oxygen reacts with an enzyme in honey to create hydrogen peroxide which is known for its antibacterial capabilities. Raw honey is the perfect all-natural replacement for over-the-counter antibiotic creams and gels.
Directions–apply a thin layer of raw honey to minor cuts, scrapes or burns. Cover with a band-aid. If you have a deep cut or if it is already infected, seek medical attention.
4. Boost Immunity
The phytonutrients in raw honey are antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Taking raw honey, either straight or in a warm tea, may help boost your immune system and keep you from getting sick. Regular use of raw honey can strengthen the white blood cells which fight off bacterial and viral infections when you are sick.
Directions–If you’re feeling under the weather, drink a cup of Soothing Coconut Oil Tea several times a day but especially before bed.
5. Get Better Sleep
Believe it or not, honey may help you get a better night’s sleep. During the night your brain uses a lot of energy. Honey, taken before bed, is a good way to store up liver glycogen, needed to support important bodily functions during sleep. Raw honey is significantly better at producing liver glycogen than pasteurized honey. Honey also contributes to a small spike in insulin which leads to the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is then converted to serotonin and darkness triggers the brain to convert the serotonin to melatonin. To complete the amazing circle, melatonin inhibits the release of insulin therefore stabilizing blood sugar levels during sleep.
Directions–take 1-2 tsp. of raw honey 15 minutes before bed.
Note: Honey should never be given to children under 1 year old.
A couple of years ago we decided to get bees. Living in the city with a small backyard, our animal husbandry options are limited. We had raised chickens for several years and bee keeping seemed like the next logical step. It has been a lot easier than I expected and the fall harvest of delicious raw honey is something we really look forward to every year. If you’ve ever considered getting bees, I highly recommend it.
Of course, not everyone has the means or the desire to raise bees but I still strongly encourage you to seek out raw unfiltered honey, preferably from a local beekeeper. The amazing health benefits are worth the higher price.
What’s your favorite way to use raw honey?