Most of us are familiar with the cute, squeezable “honey bears” that can be easily found on grocery store shelves. What you may not be familiar with are the amazing health benefits of consuming honey in it’s original, untreated, raw form.
The honey most often found in grocery stores has been pasteurized (heat treated) and filtered to the extent that it destroys most of the beneficial nutrients found in it’s raw form. It’s these nutrients; bits of pollen, royal jelly, propolis, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria (probiotics), that give raw honey it’s incredible health benefits. The benefits of incorporating raw honey into your diet (and medicine cabinet) are many, but here are five that apply to almost all of us at some point in our lives:
Raw Honey Can Help Alleviate Allergies.
Due to the fact that raw honey contains very small amounts of pollen that are collected by the bees, the honey can act as a mild “allergy shot” of sorts to people who suffer from allergies. Many people with season allergies are allergic to specific local pollens. These are pollens that end up in the honey of their local bees, so when people consume local raw honey, they receive a tiny exposure to the allergen, thus desensitizing their immune system over time. People with seasonal allergies have reported both a decrease in the severity of symptoms, as well as a decrease in the number of symptomatic days when utilizing local raw honey on a regular basis.
Raw Honey Has Antibacterial Properties.
Raw honey has been shown to have strong antibacterial properties, and can increase healing time and prevent infection in cuts and scr*pes. It has even been used in animals, especially in cases where wounds could not be closed or treated conventionally. The Merck Veterinary Manual for Veterinary Professionals actually includes information on honey therapy for wound management. Raw honey has also shown promise in treatment for burns, due to it’s protective, soothing, and antibacterial properties.
Raw Honey Acts As A Cough Suppressant.
In previous studies, raw honey was shown to improve cough symptoms in children. One heaping teaspoon 30 minutes prior to bed time was shown to reduce coughs in children significantly throughout the night. Though this particular study focused on children, the same protocol would apply to all ages with the same benefit. Many people also swear by raw honey (especially when mixed with a little apple cider vinegar and water) to soothe sore throats.
Raw Honey Can Soothe Gastro-Intestinal Upset.
In a published study, participants saw an increase in recovery speed and hydration, as well as a decrease in vomiting and diarrhea, after consuming a raw honey preparation. Acute G.I. upset is thought to be due in large part to an increase in “bad” bacteria, leading to inflammation, cramping, and evacuation. Raw honey’s soothing and antibacterial properties are thought to be responsible for the aid in recovery.
Raw Honey Can Treat Acne.
Again, due to raw honey’s antibacterial properties, many have used it successfully in the treatment of acne. From the occasional blemish, to more severe, cystic types, raw honey has shown improvement. It has even shown promise in certain cases where other conventional treatments had failed. Raw honey can be applied directly to problem areas as a treatment, or there are skin care products available from select companies that incorporate raw honey.
Regardless of how you choose to use raw honey, make sure that you are getting actual raw honey when looking for products. True raw honey will be unpasteurized, somewhat cloudy or milky in appearance, and generally solid at room temperature. If you are looking to use raw honey to treat allergies, obtaining it as locally as possible is recommended. Your local farmers market or natural health food store is a good place to look for local products.