Raw Honey is honey that has not been heated, processed or pasteurized. It is Honey that is straight from the hive which is why it may contain the added benefits of pollen particles, honeycomb bits and propolis. These extras are often individually sought out for their own healing powers.
Bee pollen is Mega nutritious and contains all the nutrients required by the human body.
The color of raw honey comes in many shades ranging the spectrum from beige through gold to brown. It may come in a liquid or a solid. If you need to liquify solid honey, hold it over steaming water and turn it just until it liquifies enough to run. This will not heat the honey enough to destroy it’s properties.
Heating, processing and pasteurizing honey destroys and removes most of it’s beneficial properties.
Another important major difference between raw and processed honey: Raw honey is alkaline forming in our bodies. Processed honey is acid forming in our bodies.
- Bee pollen. Removed during processing.
- Phytonutrients. Anti inflammatory properties which are removed during processing.
- Many vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Removed during processing.
It makes no sense to heat and pasteurize honey and remove the pollen. This has been echoed by Mark Jensen, President of the American Honey Producers Association. In rare instances a bacteria causing botulism (clostridium botulinum) has been found to be present in raw honey. An adult digestive system normally has no problem processing this with absolutely no side effects. Therefore, even rarer are some cases of adult food poisoning from raw honey consumption, not fatal. Warning: Infant’s digestive systems may not be strong enough to handle this bacteria and exposure to it may result in infant botulism, which can be fatal. It is recommended that infants under the age of 1 not be given raw honey.
Keep in mind: the presence of botulism causing bacteria in raw honey is rare.
There are many benefits from ingesting and using raw honey. Many more than I am about to list. However, in the following list are the benefits I found to be the most intriguing.
- Allergy Relief. Because raw honey contains traces of a wide variety of pollens, it is said to have a vaccine effect where these types of allergies are present. It desensitizes the body to the pollens. This is a major reason to buy your raw honey from a bee keeper in your area.
- Kills MRSA and Other Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. Raw honey contains strong antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties. Researchers have proven raw honey kills many antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria including MRSA and raw honey reported as being used to cure people infected with these strains.
- Heals Burns and Wounds. Raw honey is also antimicrobial. It reduces pain, swelling and redness in wounds and speeds healing time according to the National Institute of Health. University of Florida research shows raw honey applied directly to infected burns relieves pain and heals the burns faster than antibiotic ointments.
- Anti Inflammatory. Raw honey is an anti inflammatory when directly applied to targeted areas as well as an over all anti-inflammatory when ingested.
- Treats Peptic Ulcers. 1-2 teaspoons on an empty stomach soothes pain and helps ulcers to heal.
- Sore Throat. Looks like mum was right! Research shows 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey straight is just as effective at relieving sore throats and suppressing coughs as dextromethorphan, a common over the counter cough medicine ingredient.
- Antioxidant. Raw honey contains phenolic compounds which prevent cell damage from free radicals.
Currently there are no regulations or certifications concerning raw honey. Words on labels can be misleading. Words like “natural”, “pure” and “organic” do not signify the honey is raw. When buying raw honey it is best to buy from a local bee keeper whom you know is bottling their honey straight from their hives. Buying local will also insure you will be getting local pollens. If you do not know anyone who does this, shop your local farmer’s market. Many health food stores also carry local raw honey.
“Organic Honey”. This does not exist in the United States under the definition most of us believe “organic” to be. If by some chance there is a bee keeper somewhere who has hives in the middle of a 10 mile or more radius of certified organic land, then maybe. Although this is not entirely impossible, it is highly unlikely and I believe it would result in being the most outrageously expensive honey on the market. Do not be fooled by this label when it comes to honey. However, recently honey from Brazil has now reached the United States. This honey is truly organic because the country of Brazil does not allow the use of pesticides and chemicals to produce crops nationwide.