Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Raw Honey: It's The Bees' Knees

Photo courtesy: Health Benefits of Honey

Honey has long been referred to as “liquid gold”; and, used as an allegory for luxury, ease and comfort. In fact, if a place is wealthy; the climate warm and sunny; and making a living is easy, that place is often referred to as “a land of milk and honey” symbolizing that it is a paradise to live in.

Honey has long been regarded as a medicinal aid used in a variety of ways. Since ancient times, raw honey has been used to cure all manner of ills. Ancient civilizations used only raw honey because pasteurization had not been invented yet. The honey they used was able to aid in maintaining peak health because it hadn’t had its enzymes or nutritional value partially destroyed by the heating process of pasteurization.

As early as 2500 BC, the Egyptians knew of the miraculous healing powers of honey and had an effective wound salve consisting of grease, honey and fiber. The Assyrians, Greeks, Chinese and Romans also employed it for wounds and diseases of the gut. Not surprisingly, due to its ability to stimulate good health, its effectiveness as a wound salve, and its flexibility of use, honey became the most popular Egyptian drug.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine; and, long believed to be a man of vision prescribed a simple diet favouring honey and vinegar for pain; honey with water for thirst; and, honey with water and other medicinal substances for acute fever. He also believed that pollen ensured good health and alleviated many of the problems associated with old age.

Primitive races used honey as a sweetener and medicinal aid while also recognizing the value of pollen. Britain became known among early Druid writers as “The Isle of Honey” and Welsh legends are full of references to honey and pollen. Mead, a popular drink in old Europe, was made of wine, honey and a tablespoon of pollen.

Honey in its natural, raw, unfiltered state contains 2 predominant natural sugars (fructose and glucose) 11 enzymes, 14 minerals, 21 amino acids, all the vitamins that nutritionists consider necessary for health A,D,K, Ruin, Nicotinic acid, B vitamins, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Antithetic acid, Pyridoxine and Biotin as well as Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C.).

Most honey sold today has been commercially processed. Finding raw, natural, organic, unfiltered honey is quite a challenge today; but, worth effort for its healing properties. Raw honey granulates rather easily and loses its rich golden liquid state.

Today’s consumers have a passion for liquid honey so most honey available on the market is heat processed and then filtered through a cloth or fine filter paper. However, pasteurizing the honey results in destroying digestion-aiding enzymes and vitamins while removing protein-rich pollen and comb particulates. This ensures that the honey remains liquid for a very long time. When it finally starts to granulate, the crystals begin to form at the bottom of the jar and work their way to the top. This is a definite sign that the honey has been refined and processed whether it is labeled “pure” honey or not.

Photo courtesy: Carlisle Honey

Ways to utilize raw honey:

BURNS: Apply liquid honey generously to the burned area and cover with bandage. Honey cools, removes pain and aids in fast healing without scarring.
BED WETTING: A teaspoon of honey before bed aids in water retention and honey possesses a calming ability that helps to soothe children’s fears.
HYPERACTIVITY: Replace all white sugar with raw honey. White sugar is highly stimulating with no nutritional value whatsoever. Honey provides the same amount of energy without the “spike” sugar provides and it is a nutritional powerhouse that will help improve the child’s health.
NASAL CONGESTION: Place a dessertspoon of honey in a basin of hot water. Mix well, cover your head with a towel and inhale fumes over the basin. Smells delicious!
FATIGUE: Dissolve a dessertspoon of honey in warm water for a quick lift in energy. Honey is primarily fructose and glucose; so, it's quickly absorbed by the digestive system; and, honey is a unique natural stabilizer. Ancient Greek athletes knew the benefits of honey before and after a competition. The first thing a good Brit does after a shock is reach for tea with a lot of honey in it.
FACIAL DEEP CLEANSER: Mix honey with an equal quantity of oatmeal, and apply as a face pack. Leave on for half an hour, then wash it off. Great as a deep cleanser for acne and other unwanted blemishes.
POOR DIGESTION: Mix honey with an equal quantity of apple cider vinegar (with mother) and dilute to taste with water or herbal tea. If honey is being added to a hot liquid, allow the liquid to cool before adding honey. The recommended temperature for honey is 95˚ or lower.
ANEMIA: Honey is the best blood enricher by raising corpuscle content. The darker the honey, the more minerals it contains.
FOOD PRESERVATIVE: If you replace the sugar in cake and cookie recipes with honey, they'll stay fresher longer and retain their moistness. Reduce liquids in the mixture by about one-fifth to allow for the moisture present in the in honey.
LONGEVITY: The most long-lived people in the world are all regular users of honey. Beekeepers suffer less from cancer and arthritis than any other occupational group worldwide. Personally, I think it’s the ingestion of the raw honey along with the occasional sting they receive. There has been some very exciting work done with Bee Venom Therapy.

Photo courtesy: agapigirl

Good video:

Be warned - there are a couple shots at the beginning that show an injured dog. The video should be alright for most viewers; and, it goes into good detail about the wound-healing properties of raw honey. I recommend watching it.

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