Honey Wisdom: The Buzz About Honey

THE BUZZ ABOUT HONEY

HONEY VARIETIES & COLOUR Honey comes in many varieties, depending on the floral source of pollen or nectar gathered and regurgitated by honey bees when they get back to hive.
Always eat your honey raw, and never microwave it. If honey has hardened, heat it in a warm water bath. Honey’s nutrients are destroyed when by heating. Pasteurization is unnecessary, since honey is naturally anti-bacterial due to its acidic Ph content. That acidity is also what makes honey such an effective healer.

BUCKWHEAT HONEY is a dark-colored honey made from the pollen of buckwheat, a grain that is sweet and delicious, with a distinctive spicy-malt flavor and an aftertaste that is reminiscent of molasses. With a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as polyphenols antioxidants, honey made from buckwheat flowers has many health benefits, too. In fact, this type of honey is now recommended for children under six years of age as a healthier alternative to cough syrup.

Examining the frames and honey super
Examining the frames and honey super

Buckwheat is an “ancient grain” and is a beneficial plant used for short-season growing, as it spouts and matures quickly. It does not respond well to nitrogen fertilizer, which is now used so ubiquitously on wheat and other crops. It is able to fix nitrogen in the soil, like legumes, and therefore benefits the earth.

Buckwheat is better known as “kasha” in North America, where it was introduced by Russian, Polish and Ukranian immigrants who use its flour to make blintzes and blinis. Buckwheat flour is gluten-free and loaded with iron, amino acids, selenium and zinc. Buckwheat flour can produce an anaphylactic reaction in some people, as well as photosensitivity manifested as a skin rash if consumed in large amounts (though this is very rare). Buckwheat flour is a staple in many Asian households as well; buckwheat noodles are very popular in Korea and Japan.

The dark colour of buckwheat honey makes it rich in anti-oxidants called polyphenols, which give the honey its richness. Dark honeys like buckwheat often have more vitamins and minerals as well. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help wound healing and may reduce scarring.

MANUKA HONEY is made in New Zealand from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium (the Tea tree). It’s the basis of Medihoney, approved in the U.S. for use in treating wounds and skin ulcers. It stimulates healing and is sometimes used to treat chronic leg ulcers and pressure sores. Before Manuka honey was certified for use in Medihoney, a study was done using Canadian honeys of all types. They were found to be very effective for all of these things….but Canadian producers were not quick enough off the mark to take advantage of the idea of marketing the product medically. Manuka honey was eventually chosen instead.
Honey is used in folk medicine and India’s ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine, to heal wounds, soothe aches, pains and other ailments, improve skin and hair, and to bless travellers, infants and brides.

HONEY & ALLERGIES It is said that if you consume honey from your local area, it will help your allergies. This is because you are consuming small amounts of local pollen – which is making you stuffy in the first place – and are gradually becoming immune to it with every bite of honey.
Honey is safer than cough syrups, especially for young children. Studies show children given a teaspoon of buckwheat honey before bed cough less and sleep better than children given cough syrup. Many parents say they sleep better too, because their children’s sleep is more restful.
Dark-colored honeys are better for this than lighter honeys, because of their higher antioxidant and nutrient content. The thick texture of honey helps its effectiveness. Honey is sticky and viscous, helping soothe the throat and suppress the cough reflex.

INFANT BOTULISM Infant botulism happens when the bacteria develops in the intestine and releases toxin. Typically this only happens in children less than six months of age as after that protective mechanisms develop. Honey is the only known dietary source of C. botulinum spores linked to infant botulism. For this reason honey shouldn’t be given to infants under 12 moths old. Other cases of infant botulism are thought to be caused by spores from the natural environment. Clostridium botulinum is found widely in the soil and a ubiquitous soil-dwelling and many infant botulism patients have been demonstrated to live near a construction site or an area of soil disturbance.[

HONEY, COUGHS & COLDS Buckwheat honey can reduce the onset of cold symptoms by easing inflammation of nasal and throat membranes and helping to suppress coughs, and some studies now show support for this “old wives’ tale.” A study of 140 children showed honey to be better than detromethorpan (cough medicine) and diphenhydramine (antihistamine) in helping night-time coughs and aiding sleep.

Another study of more than 100 children showed buckwheat honey to be more effective than dextromethorphan in quelling night-time coughs. That’s because raw honey helps fight infection and make inflamed throat membranes feel better, especially buckwheat honey.

HONEY & DIABETES Honey isn’t sweet substitute for sugar for diabetes sufferers. A tablespoon of honey has more carbohydrates and calories than granulated white or brown sugar.