“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” – Robert Green Ingersoll
All other honey requires flowers; lots and lots of them.
This golden, sweet, and sticky substance is more than just delicious. It has been imbued with special powers that heal wounds, fight infection and keep us healthy. Yes, special powers indeed when we look deeper at what honey can do.
The bee in its current form is over 22 million years old (this number is debated, and often quoted to be much higher), and thus has had a lot of practice perfecting the current version of honey. Making honey requires the cooperation of the entire hive, and isn’t easy. The honey collected is used to sustain the bees all winter long, and when combined with pollen for protein, provides a balanced complete meal. The nutrients needed by bees are some of the same that we need to nourish ourselves. It is easy to recognize that many plants contain healthy nutrients that we need to run our bodies. Honey made from these plants contains those nutrients in sufficient quantities.
We know that what we ingest plays a direct role in our health and well-being. Unfortunately, the past century has seen a significant decline in honey usage. The introduction of processed cane sugar made it easy to satisfy our inherent sweet tooth without the challenge of beekeeping. The result being that our favorite sweet delicacies lack a lot of nutritional value. Our current state of obesity is in part due to the increases use of manufactured sugar.
This past weekend celebrated National Honeybee Day on August 20th, 2011. This day is designed to educate and celebrate the incredible pollinating insects that provide our honey supply. We each can use more honey in our diets. Even such a small amount as a tablespoon a day can make a large difference in your health. Consider it an upgrade to a multivitamin. They contain many of the same vitamins and minerals, but naturally, and more of them. Centrum (a popular multivitamin company) lists on their website that their vitamins contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, chloride, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins among other things. These are exactly what natural raw honey contains. Your immune system needs an influx of these nutrients in order to ward off invaders. What better way could there be than partaking in honey?
If that weren’t convincing enough, honey will banish any seasonal allergies. Honey is made from nectar and pollen from the very plants you are allergic to. Eating raw honey activates the immune system’s response so that it effectively eliminates the histamine. Which means if you have a regular dose of local honey, your body will be able to cope with seasonal allergies without commercial drugs and medicines that often induce sleepiness.
A daily dose will certainly help to keep the doctor away. Try it on cereal, toast or oatmeal in the morning. For a snack, dip apple slices in raw honey. For the more adventurous, go for the unadulterated spoonful.
No matter how you take your honey, there are three words for you to remember: Raw, Organic, Local. The importance of these words in relation to your honey cannot be understated. It is more important to get Raw Organic Local Honey than it is to get the equivalent in fruits and vegetables.
Raw honey is honey that has been unprocessed, unheated and virtually unfiltered. This is different from grocery store honey which is usually all three of those things. The processing, heating and filtering, breaks down the important vitamins and removes the natural pollen and wax that comes with natural raw honey. Not only that, but many commercial producers cut their honey with sugar water to increase profits. Not so appetizing.
Organic means that no pesticides or chemicals were used in relation to the bees. Factory chemicals are impossible to remove from honey. They cannot be washed, cleaned or burned out. So honey with pesticides, means human with pesticides.
Finally, local honey is so key because it contains the pollen and dust that is common to your area. Tasting honey from exotic places is exciting, but doesn’t provide that immune system boost that local honey would. You can usually find Raw Organic Local Honey at farmers’ markets. If yours doesn’t have one, look around to local beekeepers or get information from the local beekeeping club. Most places have agricultural extensions that are great resources to utilize in your honey search. Check them out, and start your honey health revolution.
This is part 1 of a 4 part series. Check back for the next part talking about how honey can be used on wounds and for skincare.
For more information, go to: http://www.health-benefits-of-honey.com/index.html
Bryan Aldeghi, CLSC, is a College Transition Coach with the Integrated Pathways Center for Personal Growth. The transition from high school into college and from college into the working world is a challenging time for students, parents and families. By working with the dynamic Integrated Pathways team, Bryan helps clients ease the journey, through enhanced communication, goal completion, and increased self-awareness. Other team members focus on managing stress through Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Massage, and Bodywork. A local beekeeper, Bryan is a graduate of Vassar College and is currently working on his Masters of Mental Health Counseling at Walden University. To learn more, contact Bryan directly at BAldeghi@IntegratedPathways.net or visit www.IntegratedPathways.net.