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Health Benefits of Raw Honey

By , Managing Editor
Friday, June 1, 2012
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We've all used honey to sweeten up some tea or drizzled it onto bread for a delicious snack. It's so sweet and decadent, it's hard to believe it could also be good for you. That's not normally how it works, right? Believe it or not, honey is a popular home remedy that continues to be studied for its medicinal properties.

But when you're thinking about honey in the homeopathic sense, you need to be thinking of raw honey and not the honey found in packets on diner tables or in cute plastic bears.

What Makes Honey "Raw"
A honey product is considered raw when it's contents are pure, unheated, unprocessed and unpasteurized. Typical honey seen in the grocery store has been heated and filtered, making its texture thinner and smoother and its coloring more clear. Raw honey can have a cloudy appearance,  is more dense and has a more granule-like texture that continues to thicken with time. Think of it this way: Commercial honey can be drizzled while raw honey has to be spread.

Nutritional Profile of Raw Honey
Raw honey is a great natural source of nutrients and enzymes, which are normally destroyed by pasteurization. It's also high in B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. You can also find minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium in raw honey. Raw honey has high amounts of antioxidants which can fight off free radicals to prevent illness and contains carbohydrates to help fuel the body. 

In regards to medicinal use, honey has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These properties help the body fight off infection by boosting the immune system for a stronger immune response to stressors. However, children under one year of age shouldn't take raw honey medicinally because it may contain spores or toxins that can be harmful to infants. Use of honey in older children and adults as a home remedy is considered safe.

Raw Honey Uses and Benefits
Think outside the kitchen when it comes to raw honey. Here's some of the main applications of raw honey and their benefits, according to the National Honey Board:

  • Beauty Treatment:
    As a humectant, honey helps your hair and skin retain moisture, making it a popular ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, soaps and moisturizers. Honey is also antimicrobial to help cleanse. If you can't find a product that contains honey, add it yourself!
  • Energy Booster:
    The carbohydrates in honey provide fuel for the entire body and help maintain glycogen levels in muscle tissue. You can add honey to your pre-workout shake or snack or mix it into water to help keep you energized and focused during your routine. Including honey in your post-workout snack or meal can help with muscle recovery and keep blood sugar levels stabilized.
  • Cold/Cough Reliever:
    When added to warm water or tea or taken plain, honey helps to soothe the discomfort of a sore throat while fighting off bacteria to relieve inflammation and irritation. 
  • Wound Healer:
    According to a 2002 Australian study published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can promote healing of wounds and burns. A 2008 study published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found after two days of using honey as an in vitro treatment, the amount of bacteria present on the arms of volunteers was reduced. Honey is also a favorite of Lisa Oz, the wife of Dr. Mehmet Oz, who explained her use of raw honey on their son, Oscar, who seemed to constantly be getting cuts and scrapes, on the May 31 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show." 
  • Digestive Aid
    The enzymes in honey can help relieve symptoms of indigestion by helping the body better break down and digest food. Honey can help prevent issues like diarrhea or ulcers or help in their treatment.

When you're shopping for honey, make sure to look for one that's raw and organic to get the most nutritional and medicinal benefits. The honey in the plastic bear won't work in this case, no matter how good it tastes. Have you used honey as a home remedy? How did it work for you?


Products you may like:

Stakich Manuka Raw Honey Honey Stakich Manuka Raw Honey Honey
Why you may like this product? This honey is produced in New Zealand by bees who collect pollen from the Tea Tree Bush. It has strong antibacterial properties as well as vitamins, amino acids, enzymes and vitamins.
The Synergy Company Healing Honey  The Synergy Company Healing Honey 
Why you may like this product? This honey is active 15-plus manuka honey that is certified organic and raw. Also produced in New Zealand, this honey is tested for purity and is more than 100 times more potent as a healing agent than other honeys.
Honey Gardens Northern Raw Honey   Honey Gardens Northern Raw Honey  
Why you may like this product? Honey Garden's product is unheated and unfiltered to be sure it contains no chemicals while leaving all of its important nutrients intact. Try adding it to tea to help with a sore throat or spread on toast for an energizing snack before exercise.
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