Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Medicinal Uses of Raw Honey

Did you know that raw honey is bacteria static? This means that bacteria cannot grow in honey.  Also, outside of honey’s value as a food source and natural sweetener, it also has anti-fungal properties and is replete with local pollens.  Raw honey is commonly used by allergists to help people with localized allergy problems.

We, as professional beekeepers and bee removal specialists, well know raw honey’s properties for preventing infection from our experience in working our beehives and performing honeycomb removals. We very seldom get infections in cuts and scratches. It is also well recorded in history that Imhotep, the great pyramid builder of the Egyptian 3rd dynasty, used honey extensively to treat his workers that were injured. He even used honey to prevent infection on surgeries, compound fractures, serious lacerations, burns and abrasions. Raw honey has been revered for its medicinal value in preventing bacterial infection for thousands of years.

Propolis, is another interesting product that bees use and produce. Propolis has strong anti-fungal properties. Honeybees will periodically gather exuded sap from trees and bushes, process the sap and apply the mixture as a “bandage” to repair and harden their honeycomb cells. The phenols from the sap are transferred to the surrounding beeswax and raw honey in the cells. Propolis can be isolated from the beeswax and is a commercial, but not well known or well researched product. The honeybees also use it to prevent fungal infections for their eggs and brood. The point is that its properties are carried in raw honey.

In our modern age of pasteurized, irradiated and processed foods, artificial sweeteners and food preservatives, we often forget the value of some of the natural foods we have been given. Raw, unpasteurized, honey is one of the best examples. When bees move into an area and establish a beehive, they adapt to the local environment quickly and effectively. They are great pollinators and live in a symbiotic relationship with local flowering plants and trees. I would further submit that they adapt to and control local bacteria and fungi. Raw, unpasteurized, honey carries all the qualities of their success at local adaptation.

My grandfather, an old beekeeper, used to take honeycomb right out of the beehives that he kept and chew it like chewing gum. He maintained that, outside of grandmother’s chicken soup and cod liver oil, it was the best way to prevent and reduce cold and flu symptoms. It is safe, clean and valuable in its natural state. There is still much in the medicinal uses of raw honey that needs to be explored.