Raw honey is honey (nectar from flowers) that is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. This is perhaps one of the most important characteristics and health benefits of the final product, as it preserves all the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional elements. True raw honey is quite different from processed, commercial honey for these main reasons.
Raw honey can be in liquid or solid (creamed) form when you purchase it. If you purchase raw honey that is in the liquid form, it may crystallize or solidify over time. It can be clear, or opaque, or milky. Its color can vary from white, to various shades of yellow, and even brown. All of these characteristics will depend on the type of flower that the bees retrieved the nectar for the honey from.
NATURAL BENEFITS OF RAW HONEY
Counters Pollen Allergies – Raw honey contains bee pollen, which is known to ward off infections, provide natural allergy relief and boost overall immunity.
Natural Energy Source – First and foremost, being a sugar, raw honey most obviously offers a quick source of energy. Raw honey contains natural sugars (80 percent), water (18 percent), and minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein (2 percent). It’s not surprising that honey has been called “the perfect running fuel.” It provides an easily absorbed supply of energy in the form of liver glycogen, making it ideal for energetic morning starts and as a pre- and post-exercise energy source.
Antioxidant Powerhouse – Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease. It also boosts the immune system, acting as a preventative against any number of debilitating diseases.
Sleep Promoter – Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest. As honey is a proven natural sleep aid, it naturally lowers the risk of other health problems.
Wound and Ulcer Healer – Honey-infused bandages are known to aid healing. Peter Charles Molan at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, has found in multiple studies that honey is a natural antibacterial with wound-healing effects. He also found that honey reacts with the body’s fluids to make hydrogen peroxide, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria. For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that’s changed every 24 to 48 hours.
Natural Cough Syrup – Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups. For a cough, a half teaspoon to two teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one.
The main health benefits for which we revere raw honey today come from the unique blend of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients and other health components that it possesses. The two key beneficial components of truly raw honey are bee pollen and propolis.
Bee pollen in Raw Honey
Bee pollen is a super nutritious compound, containing all the nutrients required by the human body. It is a source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids and bioflavonoids which are helpful to cardiovascular health. (AVOID IF YOU SUFFER FROM ALLERGIES – www.WedMD.com)
Propolis in Raw Honey
The health benefits and uses—both internal and external—of propolis are too numerous to list here. This, along with some of its other characteristics, makes honey highly sought after. Some benefits of raw honey include supporting immune system health, healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range, healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range and more. Raw honey does not ferment in the stomach and can actually be used in supporting digestive system health. Unlike most sugars, raw honey is not known to aggravate a sensitive digestive tract.
Additionally, raw honey is alkaline forming unlike processed honey which is acid forming. For best natural health, our daily food supply should be higher in alkaline forming foods, rather than acid forming foods.
Never cook with raw honey because that will destroy its good properties. Also, do not store it near a heat source. If you enjoy honey in your tea or coffee, wait until the drink is just tepid enough to sip comfortably, and then add honey to taste.
Drizzle it on breakfast cereals, over your sprouted grain toast or on yogurt. It’s also a great addition to smoothies and salad dressings. Raw honey can be a healthy alternative to highly processed sugar in recipes that doesn’t require heat.