You likely use it to sweeten your coffee or tea, or reach for a generous gobsmacking amount when you’re feeling under the weather, but raw honey’s uses reach far beyond the in-the-moment acute solution to feeling unwell, or satisfying that sweet tooth with something nutritive. Though, of course, we do hope you reach for raw honey in both of those moments too!
Raw honey has been a part of humankind’s natural remedy arsenal for a long time. Hieroglyphics depict Egyptians keeping bees and enjoying the sweet nectar of honey, both medicinally, and as a preservative. You’ll find it recommended for myriad health conditions in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine texts. The wise women, men, and healers of antiquity knew very well the benefits of pure, raw honey in aiding human wellbeing and vitality. Let’s explore a few more that you might not know about raw honey.
The Nutritional Profile of Raw Honey
Bee pollen is a nutritious compound that contains over 250 active components, including a wide variety of antioxidants and several nutrients that the human body requires. It’s a good source of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids. Some people take bee pollen supplements to gain the health benefits of honey in a more concentrated form.
Raw honey also contains beepropolis, a glue-like substance that helps the bees in building their hives. Some scientists believe that it is also beneficial for humans, though naturopaths and herbalists have suggested so for years. Bee propolis contains vitamins B, C, and E, magnesium, potassium, and beneficial enzymes, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
1. Raw Honey May Counter Seasonal Allergies
Folk medicine and home based remedies have named raw honey, specifically the bee pollen which it contains, to act as a natural allergy reliever for some time. Honey's ability to prevent or reduce allergy symptoms is based on a concept known as immunotherapy. Bees travel between flowers collecting pollen that is the source allergy symptoms. When you eat local raw honey, you consume the same pollen. After feeding your system raw honey for an extended period of time, it is possible that an allergy sufferer may become less sensitive to pollen and may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.
A daily teaspoon of honey can act like an allergy shot, some people say; and as always, the type and quality of honey that you are consuming is critical. Conventional, store-bought honey does not contain any pollen because it has gone through a fine filtration process that removes pollen particles and pasteurization process that denatures (or makes ineffective) beneficial enzymes. Should you like to consume honey with this intention, we’re pleased to inform you our honey is as raw as it gets - so all the good stuff remains. (learn more about the differences in honey and honey production in this blog post).
2. Raw Honey can be a Sleep Promoter
Raw honey can promote restorative sleep in two ways. When you consume honey before going to bed, it restores your liver's glycogen supply, which prevents the brain from triggering a crisis alert for fuel that results in you waking up - particularly between the hours of 1 and 3 am (the hours of the Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine). Raw honey also fosters the release of melatonin and creates a small spike in insulin levels that stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain, which we know for its relaxing qualities. This is a simple (and yummy!) option to support deeper, more continuous sleep, perhaps before considering other options.
3. Raw Honey Can Support the Body Internally and Externally
Raw honey is known to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter cough syrups. Increasing scientific evidence has shown that one dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and cough, and that honey can be just as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, two ingredients found in conventional otc cough medicines. Are you sensing the theme of deliciousness here?
Not only can raw honey reduce and sooth a cough, it can also be supportive for a sore throat. Simply eating a generous spoonful of honey is helpful due to its antimicrobial properties. It doesn't just soothe your sore throat, it kills the harmful bacteria that cause infection, irritation, and consequently soreness.
Additionally, raw honey is a natural antiseptic. Topically, it can support the healing of cuts and burns by killing germs and keeping wounds clean and infection-free. Raw honey has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain, swelling, and scarring. Many types of bacteria can't survive in honey, which allows the body to speed up the healing process and supports tissue in growing back more quickly.
4. Raw Honey Provides Clean Energy
Raw honey contains both fructose and glucose, both of which act as energy sources for the body. Think about sports gels that athletes use before a game or competition. They primarily contain glucose because that is what our bodies run on. But it’s also often filled with fillers, colorants, and unpronounceable ‘ingredients’.
Along with natural carbohydrate sugars, raw honey contains other nutrients that are key in providing energy for your body. The vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in raw honey all play a part in providing efficient readily available energy. Raw honey is a great way to fuel your athletic performance and get a boost of energy, or trade in that coffee during an afternoon slump.
5. Raw Honey Raises Levels of Health-Promoting Antioxidants
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey can raise health-promoting antioxidants in the body. These antioxidants help block free radicals, which are the source of oxidative stress that lead to inflammation, the root of most, if not all disease. Raw honey is rich in polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that can reduce of numerous diseases and cancers.
In a study conducted at UC Davis, subjects took four tablespoons of honey for 29 days. Their diets were congruent during those days, with the 4 tbsp of honey being the only exception. At the end of the study, blood work showed that the antioxidant levels in the participants' bodies were higher due to the polyphenols contained in honey. This is significant because an excess of free radicals in the body creates oxidative stress, which leads to inflammation and disease when left unchecked. This type of stress occurs when there is an imbalance in free radicals compared to antioxidants in the body. The good news is - upping your antioxidant intake has never been sweeter!
Perhaps you’ve found your own favorite uses of raw honey. Just think of these benefits as the ‘cherry on top’ that you receive simply by enjoying Wai Meli Local Raw Honey. We wholeheartedly believe in a balanced and holistic approach to life and living. No one thing is a be all, end all when it comes to health and vitality. Like anything in Nature, it’s a collective weave of countless factors, elements, and inputs. All of that considered, we also believe a daily dose of local raw honey is a *very* important piece of the puzzle (wink wink). We hope you enjoy it in more ways than one - in your tea (but not boiling, that kills those good enzymes), on your toast, or as we often say - straight by the spoonful.