I had never spent a lot of time thinking about the process of how honey is made until I discovered raw unprocessed honey. You see there is a much healthier version available than the sugary processed honey you find adorning the supermarket shelves.
So what is Raw Honey?
Raw honey is honey that hasn’t been pasteurised. It also tends not to have been fine filtered, a process which removes pollen and any bits of wax, propolis and even royal jelly. Unsurprisingly, most supermarket honey has been pasteurised which destroys some of the natural properties of the honey and health benefits.
There are several health benefits of raw honey:
- Not only does it contain huge amounts of vitamins and minerals but it is a natural medicine and can be used both internally and topically. It can be used to treat colds, respiratory infections, flu and a low immune system.
- Raw honey is also a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic as it contains a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide, which is released when it comes into contact with moisture. This is antibacterial and fungicidal. It is also hygroscopic, meaning that it naturally attracts moisture; most bacteria breed in moist conditions and honey dries out wounds, preventing wounds becoming infected.
- It also doesn’t spike the blood sugar like the highly processed refined honey you may have in your cupboard making raw honey a beneficial addition to your larder.
- Honey is said to aid restful sleep and treat insomnia. The theory is that a spoonful of honey before sleep provides the body with enough glucose to ‘feed’ the brain during the night. This prevents or limits the early morning release of cortisol and adrenalin (stress hormones) which disturb sleep. It also stabilises blood sugar levels and contributes to the release of melatonin, the hormone required for recovery and rebuilding of body tissues during rest. (According to a recent study in Hershey, Penn, USA.)
- Honey aids digestion. This is because the sugars in honey are pre-digested by the bees, honey becomes more easily digestible. Furthermore, some research says honey may aid the development of friendly bacteria in the digestive system that help digestion.