What comes to mind when you think about honey?
Most people would respond that it tastes good in a hot cup of tea. Others drizzle the sticky sweet substance on an English muffin for breakfast. Some old school thinkers turn to a concoction of honey, lemon juice and booze of choice at desperate times of illness to alleviate coughing spells and induce slumber. Past that, most people don’t think too much about honey—what it is, where it comes from and what type to purchase.
It is common to think that all honey is good for you, right? Wrong! Some types of honey have little more health benefits than white sugar.
However, it may surprise you to know that before the invention of penicillin, other types of honey, namely raw honey, were the conventional go-to therapy for infection.
Honey has been used as both food and medicine since ancient times. In fact, human use of honey is traced to some 8000 years ago as depicted by Stone Age paintings. Ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans employed honey for wounds and diseases of the intestine. Honey was the most popular Egyptian drug being mentioned 500 times in 900 remedies. Yes! Honey is heavily steeped in our history. Oh, pardon the pun.
So what exactly is honey, where does it come from, what does it do for you, and what kind should you buy?
What is Honey?
Honey is the nectar from flowers of plants that is gathered by bees. Once stored in the bees stomach, the nectar is concentrated by evaporation during the transport back to the hive. Upon regurgitation the nectars combine in unique ways with the bees digestive enzymes to produce new compounds.
Not All Honey Is Equal
Depending on the quality of nectar and pollen, honey contains a complex assortment of enzymes, amino acids, esters, antibiotic agents (the antibacterial activity in some honey is 100 times more powerful than in others), proteins, carbohydrates, hormones, antimicrobial compounds, trace minerals and vitamins.
Vitamins and Minerals
Honey has been shown to possess a number of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, Beta-Carotene, D, E, K, magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, chromium, chlorine, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphate, sulfur, sodium, selenium and high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and formic acid.
How to Heal With Honey
We recommend the use of Raw Honey only for medicinal purposes. Refined, heat-processed honey may actually increase infection. The heating process destroys these wonderful natural enzymes and vitamins. If the process of filtering has occurred this removes phytonutrients such as pollen and propolis as well.
Raw Honey Contents
Natural Sugars including fructose, glucose, maltose, and sucrose (80%)
Minerals, Vitamins, Pollen, Protein (2%)
Choosing the Right Honey For You
I have stated in numerous articles that my honey preference lies with that of Manuka. Manuka honey is made from pollen gathered by bees from flowers of the Manuka bush in New Zealand.
Manuka has been proven to possess the most potent antibacterial ingredients of any other type of raw honey. Manuka has a special antimicrobial factor called non peroxide activity, which is described by the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF). Every batch of Manuka holds varying degrees of UMF. Higher concentrations of UMF will increase the consistency/thickness, the shade (darkness of color), and ultimately affect the price you will incur.
Because Manuka is so special and somewhat rare, it can be quite costly in comparison to other types of honey. But remember, in this case you get what you pay for. I find the healing benefits associated with Manuka worth spending the extra dollars.
Manuka honey has been shown to eradicate hundreds of bacterial strains including resistant varieties such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci, Clostridium Difficile, and Helicobacter Pylori (a bacteria known to cause stomach ulcers).
Natural honeys are from a profusion of wildflowers, whatever grows locally. Honeybees have a fascinating attraction for all strongly medicinal flowering plants. Natural wildflower honey can and will be derived from herbs such as Valerian, Dandelion, Wild Geranium, Elder, Jojoba, Balsam root, Echinacea, Alfalfas, Clovers, etc. The nectar from many medicinal plants is present in all wildflower honey mixtures unless the beekeepers have an abundance of a specific species of plant for the bees to harvest.
Two examples are Organic Raw Honey with Neem or Local Organic Raw Honey with Clary Sage—both of which are present in my personal holistic healer’s medicine chest.
Clover and Alfalfa Honey
The kind of honey I have a tendency to stay away from would be clover and alfalfa honey. These are usually the commercially-grown and mass-produced brands that are readily available at the grocery store.
These crops have more than likely been heavily sprayed with pesticides as well as heat-pasteurized, rendering the enzymes ineffective. Large commercial honey growers may often supplement their bees food with sugar water. Feeding the bees sugar water dilutes the honey’s power. You may prefer the price but I prefer the lesser-known labels instead. Many mom and pop operations should be considered and commended for their labors of love.
Medicinal Benefits of Honey
Topically-used or Ingested
- Overall Health Improvement
- Immune Stimulation
- Energy Booster
- Wound Care
- Cold and Flu
- Herpes Virus Infection
- Respiratory Infections/Cough
- Sore Throat
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Ophthalmological Infections
- Stomach Ache
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Honey is NOT suitable for babies under the age of 12 months.
It is a known source of the bacterial spores that cause botulism.
Diabetics should avoid or limit their intake due to the high glucose content in honey.
About the Authors
Kaylee is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She has been mindfully aware of and practicing her psychic abilities since she was a child. Led by her spirit guides, Kaylee has obtained a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the ethereal realm and alternative modalities of energy healing.
Kamaira Philips, Bachelor of Music (BM), is a co-founder of Good JuJu For You. She is an operatic soprano, an meditation instructor, a certified EMT and a scientist. Kamaira is researching topics related to immunology and alternative medicine at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and at the UNC Program on Integrative Medicine.