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READ: 5 Healing Honeys Known For Their Medicinal Power

by Anna Hunt via

One of the most natural foods in the world, honey has many uses and benefits the body in many different ways. Many of us think of honey as a nutritional natural sweeter – a great replacement to processed white sugar – and as a flavor enhancer in dressings and sauces, but in addition honey has been used worldwide since ancient times for its medicinal properties.

Honey’s Medicinal Properties

Honey is an effective treatment for many health conditions. It is rich in antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making it a great alternative to topical antibiotic ointments, which are starting to be less and less effective due to the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is also great for respiratory ailments, especially symptoms of cold and flu such as sore throat and cough. Furthermore, honey contains flavonoids and antioxidants, two essential elements needed to aid in the prevention of cancer cell growth. With skyrocketing cancer rates, honey can be a beneficial component of your daily cancer prevention regimen.

Honey’s composition consists of equal parts fructose and glucose that have bonded with water molecules. This means that each serving of honey gives your body a natural energy boost. Additionally, honey’s antibacterial and antifungal properties may help reduce gastrointestinal disorders. Your skin can also benefit from honey. Its antibacterial properties make it an effective moisturizer that will nourish the skin, especially when combined with other ingredients such as apples or cucumbers. Honey can also help some unpleasant skin ailments such as acne and sores.

The Creative Honeybee

It may surprise you that there are over 300 unique types of honey available in North America and thousands of varieties worldwide. Honeys differ in color, flavor and aroma depending on the nectar source of the flowers visited by the honeybees. Lighter honeys such as Alfalfa and Clover usually have a milder flavor and are considered a great natural sweetener for everyday use, while darker honeys such as Manuka, Avocado and Buckwheat can be quite robust and rich in flavor.

Lab testing shows that different types of honeys differ in their vitamin and mineral content, because each honey has a unique compilation of nectars. Similar to wine, honeys of a specific type can even vary year to year, depending on the climate, temperature and rainfall.

If honeybees are predominantly visiting a certain type of plant, then they will produce a specific honey variety. Each variety is packed with certain levels of nutrients, thus giving different honeys different healing properties. Yet, many honeys – even specific varieties – include a blend of nectars because honeybees are quite intelligent when it comes to which flowers they visit. They collect nectar of certain flowers because of the vitamins and minerals that will give them a balanced diet and a mix of needed phytochemicals (biologically active compounds produced by plants). Honey manufacturers will also add different honeys to a specific honey type to meet certain qualities. For example Sage honey is blended with other varieties to slow down granulation because it is extremely slow to granulate.

Healing Honey Varieties

Although all honeys have some of the same medicinal properties, certain honeys have shown to alleviate specific health problems and have been used as natural medicines for ages. The following honeys have become quite popular over the last few years and now are somewhat easy to find:

1. Acacia honey is created from the nectar of the Black Locust blossoms (Robinia pseudoacacia). Its high fructose and low sucrose content make it a great choice for diabetics. Acacia honey is known for its therapeutic effects such as cleansing the liver, regulating digestive processes especially in the intestines, and reducing inflammation in the respiratory system.

2. Eucalyptus honey comes in many varieties because Eucalyptus is one of the larger plant genera with over 500 species, hence Eucalyptus honeys can vary in color and flavor. Its origin is Australia but it is now also produced in California. Traditionally, Eucalyptus honey has been used to protect against colds and headaches. With a hint of menthol flavor, it can be quite effective in alleviating mild cough, chest congestion and other cold symptoms. Furthermore, Eucalyptus honey has also been widely used as a topical treatment or blended in natural topical medicines for healing wounds, ulcers, burns, sores and abrasions, as well as for insect bites and stings. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial in relieving muscle and joint pain when massaged into the skin.

3. Linden honey, most commonly recognized in Northern Europe where Linden trees (Tilia) are planted in city parks and gardens and along the roads, is known for its light yellow color and delicate woody scent. It has slight sedative properties, therefore it is recommended for anxiety. It can also aide with insomnia if used in a bath before bedtime. Its antiseptic properties make it a natural treatment for colds, cough and other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis.

4. Manuka honey is collected from the flowers of the Tea Tree bush (Leptospermum), found in the coastal areas of New Zealand. This type of honey has strong antibacterial properties thus making it an effective elixir for digestive problems such as stomach ulcers and indigestion, for symptoms associated with colds such as sore throat, and for skin problems such as acne and pimples. The taste of Manuka honey can be quite robust, but it will vary depending on which brand you buy so if you don’t like one, try another.

5. Neem honey is a popular Ayurvedic treatment and can be commonly found in India where Neem trees (Azadirachta indica) are common. It is used to lower high blood pressure, diabetes, skin problems, allergies, dental illnesses, and throat infections.

In addition to buying raw and, if possible, organic honey, many natural products are now available, especially for skin care, that come pre-blended with these honey varieties. Some of my favorites include Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Facial Care products and Amazing Ayurveda cleansers.

There are many other wonderful honey varieties that are perfect for cooking, baking, salad dressings and so forth. Some common ones include Alfalfa honeyAvocado honeyClover honeyBlueberry honey and Orange Blossom honey, although, once again, there are thousands of honey varieties. If you haven’t found something that suits your needs, keep exploring.


Waking Times

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Photo: honey :: bears (by reny :: honey)

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Honey: The ‘bee penicillin’ that could even beat MRSA –

It is often hailed as a natural, healthy sweetener – but in most cases, honey bought from supermarkets today is simply sugar syrup with no nutritional value at all. To reap the true benefits of what was dubbed ‘the food of the gods’ by the Ancient Greeks, you have to look for the raw variety.


Perfectly clear honey has usually undergone a process of ultrafiltration and pasteurisation, which involves heating and passing it through a fine mesh, to ensure it remains runny at any temperature. This strips away many of the unique chemicals and compounds that make it a nutritious and healing health food.

There is no law that requires a beekeeper or factory to specify whether the honey is raw. Non-EU honeys are often treated with the antibiotic chloramphenicol, a substance that can be dangerous to pregnant mothers.  Chinese honey was banned from being imported to EU member countries in 2002 for precisely this reason.

Even the word ‘organic’ on a label does not guarantee that a honey is raw. Unless the jar specifies that it is raw, look for a cloudy honey with a white residue of pollen sitting on the top of the jar. Raw honey might crystallise over time, but this is not a sign of rot – raw honey is a natural preservative. The jar just needs to be submerged in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes to liquefy the contents. You should be able to find raw honey at most supermarkets.


Raw honeys vary in colour because of the flowers from which the bees obtain their nectar, pollen and resin. The darker the colour, the higher the level of antioxidants.

Raw honey is particularly high in polyphenols, an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lowering blood cholesterol and combating heart disease. The darkest varieties of honey include heather and hedgerow honey, which have a polyphenol content of 201mg per gram. In contrast, rapeseed oil honey, known in supermarkets as ‘blossom honey’, trails behind at just 71mg per gram.

The white ring of pollen on the top contains B vitamins, Vitamins C, D and E as well as minerals and 31 other antioxidants, although to get close to your recommended daily amounts of each nutrient you need a pollen supplement.


Unfiltered honey also contains a powerful substance called propolis, nicknamed bee penicillin, which is made from the resin that oozes from trees. Bees mix this resin with their saliva to create an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal ‘wallpaper’ to ensure disease cannot enter their hives. Traces of this brown substance break off into the raw honey to make it naturally antibacterial.

Bees also add the enzyme glucose oxidase to honey. When this comes into contact with moisture, it releases low levels of antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, which can kill bacteria but does not damage skin tissue.

The University of Waikato in New Zealand found that when raw honey was applied to MRSA infected antibiotic-resistant wounds, they became sterile and healed so quickly that patients could leave hospital weeks earlier. Scarring was minimised because peeling back a dressing glazed in honey – as opposed to a dry bandage – did not disturb the new tissue underneath. If you suffer a minor wound or burn, glaze a bandage with raw honey and cover. Change the glazed bandage every 24 hours and any cuts or signs of infection should disappear within a week (if not, see a doctor).

While manuka honey – a variety produced using only nectar and pollen from the manuka bush in New Zealand – gets the majority of press for being antibacterial, a good-quality raw UK honey will also be powerfully antibacterial and can kill E.coli and MRSA.


Unprocessed honey aids digestion as it is prebiotic (stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut) and contains probiotics (the ‘good’ bacteria that help maintain a healthy digestive system). The University of Lund in Sweden found that raw honey contains bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which prevent stomach upsets. Eating raw honey daily has also been shown to be effective in treating and preventing gastric ulcers because it fights the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that trigger the ulcer.


Honey is a better energy source than white sugar. While one teaspoon of honey contains 22 calories and sugar just 15, the sweetness of honey is greater so you need less. But what makes honey ideal as fuel for exercise is the combination of glucose (pure sugar) and fructose (pre-digested sugar from fruits), which provides instant and slower-burning energy, as opposed to the pure sucrose of sugar.

The Glycaemic Index (rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream) of sugar is high at 61, while raw honey is 35. A study at the University of Memphis found that cyclists who drank honey and glucose solution instead of sugar-laden energy drinks finished a 38-mile race on average three minutes faster. If you are going on a bike ride, drink two of teaspoons of raw honey and two teaspoons of sugar mixed into a bottle of warm water and allowed to cool.


Raw honey’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe chronic skin conditions. Cleopatra famously bathed in milk and honey because of their skin-softening qualities – honey is a natural emollient as it is humectant (it attracts water). Melting half a jar of raw honey into a warm bath will promote healing in patients suffering with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, too. Mixed with olive oil, raw honey applied to the scalp is also a great tonic for those suffering with a seborrheic dermatitis (a flaky scalp condition).

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Winnie the Pooh (2011) - “Everything is Honey”

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“Those of us who grew up reading Winnie-the-Pooh know that know that honey plays a very important role in Pooh’s life. Honey is Pooh’s favorite snack, his ultimate temptation… and the goal of most of his adventures. 

And while Pooh’s tactics might be a little extreme, it appears that he is onto something. His favorite honey is that which comes directly from the hive — aka: raw honey.

Raw honey is by definition unheated, unfiltered and unpasteurized with nothing added or removed. Its meant to be as close as possible to the state of the honey when it left the beehive, often including portions of the comb itself.”

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