Raw Honey. It’s something we’ve all (or most of us) have tasted, smelled and enjoyed. But did you know that raw honey is one of nature’s most precious gifts? In this blog post we’re going to delve into everything you need to know about honey. Where it comes from, honey uses and benefits and more!
The Honey Bee: Where Your Honey comes from
Before we start off I’d like to mention a few awesome facts about the honey bees:
- Honey Bees are yellow and black
- Bees die when they sting you
- Honey Bees dance (Yup, totally true)
- Honey Bee’s wings flap almost at 200 beats per second!
- The average honey bee produces only about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
So the Honey Bees are amazing little creatures. The worker bees (female bees) work during the summer months to make honey, while the males stay in the hive to mate. When the winter months come around, they all bundle up close together for warmth and feed off the honey that they’ve collected.
What affects the taste of my raw honey?
When you are shopping online or at a supermarket for raw honey, you might have noticed the distinct difference in colors. And if you have bought different raw kinds of honey, you might have noticed that they not only look different but TASTE different.
So here’s the deal: The honey you see lining your commercial supermarket shelves is not raw honey. That is honey from thousands of hives all over, that have been thrown together and boiled down so they all have the same basic flavor: sweet. Sweet honey. While this may be beneficial if you are looking for that spark of sweetness in your tea or breakfast, it does not carry all the natural benefits you get from 100% pure, raw honey.
Raw honey differs from place to place. This is because the season, the flowers the bees are harvesting pollen from and conditions all affect the taste, smell, and color of the honey!
How the seasons affect Raw Honey
Which season the honey was produced is an important factor when it comes to honey. In spring, flowers are just starting to open and blossom, this means that they have not yet released a great number of their natural sugars into their pollen. Therefore, honey made during the beginning of Spring is not as sweet as the other seasons.
Later when the flowers are in full bloom, producing more pollen in order to attract bees, the honey will have a sweeter, darker and more full-bodied taste to it.
Notes found in Honey
Like we mentioned earlier, honey can have a variety of different tastes depending on which flower’s pollen was used. Here’s a list of the different types of honey-notes you can find in your raw honey:
- Floral: Flowers like violet, rose, peony, honeysuckle, and jasmine.
- Fruity: Tropical fruits like pineapples and mango; berries; citrus (is that a lemon, lime or grapefruit?); and dried fruits like raisins, prunes, and apricots. Beyond that, are those fruits ripe and sweet or unripe, like green figs or bananas?
- Warm: Burnt sugars like caramel, marshmallow, and butterscotch; creamy notes of yogurt or butter; deep flavors of vanilla and chocolate.
- Fresh: Crisp flavors like citrus and herbs like thyme and mint.
- Vegetal: Fresh plants, raw vegetables, wet grass, hay, and straw.
- Animal: Sweat, manure, leather.
- Woody: Cedar, oak, pine, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg.
- Chemical: Plastic, soap, metal, tar, ash.
- Funk: Yeast, fermentation, must, moss, mold (think ciders, bread, mushrooms, and truffles).
(Courtesy of Serious Eats
Health Benefits of Raw Honey
*Always remember that heating up honey above 40°C (104 F) removes almost all the health benefits of honey. Therefore, it is important that you enquire regarding the process of extraction and packaging of the products you’re buying. Furthermore, you should not heat it up before using in any dish, drink or beauty routine.
Now that you know where your honey comes from, what affects their taste, color and texture and what to inquire about when buying your raw honey, we can delve into the major list of health benefits raw honey carries!
Overall Health Benefits
Honey carries a multitude of beneficial plant compounds. Additionally, it boosts your immune system and can act as a natural antibiotic. But don’t take our word for it, there ahev been studies documenting the amazing natural healing powers of honey:
The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
So that is all well and good, but what can it help you with? Here is a brief list of all the awesome health benefits of honey:
- Regulation of Cholesterol Levels (Study)
- Assist in treating common cold and coughs (Study)
- Assists in the regulation of blood pressure (Study)
- Heals burns and wounds (Various Studies: 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Improves the health of your heart (Study)
- Cuts Diabetes Risk (Study)
- Assist in the fight against cancer (Study)
- Relives Acid Reflux (Study)
- Treats Gastric Diseases (Study)
- Assists in the treatment of allergies (Study)
- Helps fight off infections (Study)
- Energy Booster (Study)
- Immunity Booster (Study)
- Aids Weight Loss (Study)
- Promotes sleep (Study)
- Assists in the treatment of Asthma (Study)
- Improves nail health (Study)
- Relieves hangover (Study)
How to use raw honey to reap the benefits:
Now you know all the benefits that come with that golden liquid. But now how do you go about using it? We have a few quick tips on how you can add it to your daily life:
1. Replace your normal sugar with Raw Honey
Becuase honey is usually sweet, it can be used as a healthy alternative to normal sugar. Add honey to your breakfast by spreading it over your toast or waffles or adding it to your morning coffee or tea. Additionally, you can add honey to your yogurt, cereal and more!
The possibilities are endless when you start thinking about all the ways you use sugar in your daily life.
2. Use it in salads, dressings, and condiments
While replacing sugar with honey is an awesome idea, you have other options!
There are tons of recipes out there that include raw honey so that you can reap all the benefits! Because we know it can be tedious to look up recipes, here are some basic recipes that include raw honey:
This recipe combines cooked carrots with tangy tomatoes and sweet honey! Definitely one of our favorites!
So I am a sucker for salad dressings! Consequently, this one is one of my favorites to whip together! And it’s ALWAYS a winner!
I love sweet, so strawberries and honey combined are one of my favorites too!
3. Honey-Infused Beverages
This beverage is delicious. Additionally, it combines the awesome healing benefits of cinnamon and honey!
This subtle honey flavored water carries all the healing properties of honey throughout your whole body! How awesome is that!
Raw Honey Benefits for the Skin
Because of Honey’s antibacterial benefits, it is wonderful for the skin! Additionally, honey is an amazing moisturizer. No wonder that honey carries the following natural benefits for your skin:
- Assists in the fight against acne
- Helps treatment of wrinkles
- Fades Scars (Including Acne Scars)
- Moisturizes your skin
- Moisturizes the lips
- Can be used as a skin cleanser
- Assists in evening out your complexion
Using Raw Honey in your skincare routine:
Honey carries all these amazing benefits for your skin, so let’s get cracking on how you can incorporate raw honey into your skincare routine.
2. Buy Soaps infused with Honey
There are so many soapers around the world! While these soaps might be pricey sometimes, they are well worth every cent! Always make sure to buy all-natural soaps that are infused with raw honey. This will ensure that you get the most out of your bar of soap
3. Make a Homemade honey scrub
4. Honey Bath Soak
Cleopatra’s go-to was ¼ cup honey mixed with 2 cups milk and a few drops of essential oil. – You Beauty
I don’t know about you, but if honey was good enough for Cleopatra, it is good enough for me! This awesome Honey Bath Soak will rejuvenate and moisturize your entire body!
It is obvious that honey has a TON of benefits! Personally, I’ve been using honey in my skincare routine and for health benefits for years and I’ll never go back to conventional treatments!
Where to Buy Raw Honey?
Raw honey can be bought anywhere. Just find a beekeeper close to you!
There are various online shops that sell raw honey in South Africa. It is a precious, useful and delicious liquid, so try not to expect your “normal” hooney prices.
My personal favorite brand is Bumblebee Organics’s Honey. They courier all over South Africa!
Additionally, you can look at health food shops and online shops that specialize in natural/organic foods and products!
In conclusion, we ADORE honey!
We hope that you’ve found a few hints, tips and recipes to try at home! We love honey so much, that we had to include it in our Starter Kit at MudMask. Let us know in the comments what you use honey for!
We’d love to hear from you!