It’s very sticky and gooey, is made from bees and is pretty darn sweet to boot.  But honey is much more than just a liquid sweetener.  One of the oldest medicines known to man, it has been used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, skin ulcers, wounds, urinary diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff. Today, we know the validity of these timeless treatments as research has demonstrated that honey can inhibit the growth of bacteria, yeast, fungi and viruses.

The power of honey comes from the wide range of compounds present in the rich amber liquid.  This sweet treat contains at least 181 known substances, and its antioxidant activity stems from phenolics, peptides, organic acids and enzymes.  It also contains salicylic acid, minerals, alpha-tocopherol, and oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides increase the number of “good” bacteria in the colon, reduce levels of toxic metabolites in the intestine, help prevent constipation, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

The process of honey production in the wild is truly a feat of Mother Nature.  Honey is produced when bees pollenate on flowers and collect the nectar in their mouths.  The bees mix the nectar and enzymes in their saliva to turn it into honey, which is then stored in combs in the hive.  The constant movement of the bees’ wings promotes moisture evaporation and yields the thick syrup we enjoy.

A key point to remember with honey is that its antioxidant ability can vary widely depending on the floral source and its processing.  The phenolic content of the honey depends on the pollen the bees have used as raw material.  There’s a very simple way to determine how healthy a particular jar is: its color.  In general, the darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants.  There can be a significant difference in the antioxidant activity, as one test revealed.  Overall, color predicted more than 60 percent of the variation in honey’s antioxidant capacity.

? Honey benefits

  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Inhibits bacteria growth
  • Reduces constipation
  • Prevents fungi and viruses