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Honey, an elixir from the lap of nature & the miracles of raw manuka honey

raw manuka honey

Honey extraction

Honey is a sweet sticky golden-colored liquid substance made up of nectar collected from flowers by honey bees and other flying insects.

The origin of honey dates back more than 10,000 years when people first began hunting for honey. However, documented proof shows that Egyptians were the first people to use honey for various purposes such as sweetening cakes and biscuits, mummifying their dead, medicinal cures, and religious ceremonies and offerings.

Honey has antibacterial properties in it, which is good for cuts and wounds and other beautifying techniques. It is said that Cleopatra (the last Egyptian pharaoh) used honey in all her beauty recipes, particularly during her baths for glowing and smooth skin.

Honey was extremely important in ancient times like how sugar is important to us now but honey was not just a natural sweetener it had some extraordinary medicinal properties in it.

Honey was of great importance to the Romans too as it is believed they were the masters in beekeeping. Romans were known for their sweet tooth; hence in every meal, they used honey as a sweetener. The Roman’s favorite honey was thyme honey. Thyme honey was made from the nectar drawn from thyme flowers, which was the favorite of honey bees. Some of the finest honey flavors are produced from nectars collected from thyme flowers, lavender flowers, lime tree flowers, orange tree flowers, and rosemary flowers.

Apart from using honey to fulfill their sweet tooth urges, Romans also used honey as a cosmetic, a cure for various ailments, and an offering to their Gods. They believed honey was the food of the Gods; hence honey was offered religiously on all sacred occasions.

Like the Romans and the Egyptians, the Greeks also used honey for food, medicinal, and religious ceremonies.
Even to this day, Greek honey is considered to be the most pristine quality of honey in the world.

In Asia, during the 11th century, it was the Ancient Chinese who first used honey. There have been records to show that the Chinese were also known for their expertise in beekeeping. They believe the Yin (cooling energy) can be enhanced with honey.

Honey has also played a very important role in Middle Eastern countries. Muslims say and believe in the words of their prophet Mohammed who said to make use of two very important sources; honey and the holy book Quran.

Astonishingly, honey was the only commodity that was used across all civilizations; even if they were new or old they knew the importance and benefits of honey.

Health Benefits of Honey

Honey is not only known for its sweet taste and quality but is valued for its health benefits too. It is considered nature’s very own energy booster for humans as it contains carbohydrates that can instantly provide us with the drive and strength required to combat fatigue problems and to endure physical pressure during the day when at work or doing other physical activities.

Honey is filled with minerals, vitamins, and natural sugars. It has 80% of natural sugars like glucose and fructose in it. It also has minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, zinc, sodium, etc. The vitamins present in honey are B6, B2, B3, B1, B5, and vitamin C. These vitamins keep changing as they depend on the pollen and nectar that bees collect from different flowers.

If you want to know the true benefits of honey then you must read about the effects each of these minerals and vitamins present in honey has on our bodies. This is the best way of knowing that every spoonful of honey that you consume has a significant source of minerals and vitamins in it, which is a must-have for all of us to remain healthy. Only one thing comes to my mind when I think about honey “Health is the real wealth”.

I was not a very big fan of honey but my mother has been taking it for years and let me tell you it has done wonders for her. Looking at her vitality and vigor I have started taking honey myself and already begin seeing the change, maybe not so much in the physical appearance but surely in my overall well-being.

Honey is also known to keep the skin healthy and beautiful.

I’m not sure if this holds anymore as there have been recent research and studies to prove otherwise but Cleopatra was known for many centuries as the most beautiful queen of ancient Egypt. Even if she was not as beautiful as it was claimed she still did have the intelligence to seduce great Roman rulers during her reign.

Did you know that Cleopatra was known to use honey in all her cosmetics and beauty care regimes? She also took her baths with honey. Having intelligence was a great asset to her but I assume she knew the only other way through these great Roman rulers was to have mesmerizing beauty and flawless skin. Honey enhanced this for her naturally. If you are a woman reading this you can be Cleopatra too. You just have to begin taking and using honey products.

Though honey has endless pharmacological health benefits here are just to enlist a few of them.

Moisturizing face mask – With its moisturizing and soothing effects, raw honey can hydrate the skin, leaving it soft, radiant, and glowing.

Scar dimmer – Its anti-oxidant qualities (especially in buckwheat honey) restore damaged skin and aid scar repair. When infused with propolis, it can help tone down the appearance of stretch marks and skin discoloration due to its anti-inflammatory qualities.

Wound healer – Honey’s natural antibacterial properties help to prevent infections and protect wounds, reducing scarring and speeding up the healing process.

Acne treatment – Buckwheat honey is an excellent acne treatment. It’s an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pimple redness and swelling, and its antibacterial qualities, especially if it’s infused with propolis, can help battle acne-causing germs.

Soothing bath soak – Take a honey-infused bath to help you achieve your relaxation objectives. Honey’s moisturizing properties will leave your skin feeling silky and smooth.

Moisturizer – Honey can help keep the skin surrounding your cuticles pleasant and peel-free since it is a natural humectant (it pulls moisture into the skin).

Lip balm – Honey has all of the properties that make it an excellent skin moisturizer, and it’s also great for chapped lips. “The moisturizing properties, along with natural enzymes, antioxidants, and minerals, help to keep lips hydrated.”

Aids in sleeping – When you eat honey, your insulin levels rise slowly and steadily which transforms into serotonin and melatonin, two substances that aid sleep. If you’re one of those people who wakes up in the middle of the night, a spoonful of honey can help you stay asleep because honey helps the liver store glycogen— something the brain needs to keep you sleeping for an eight-hour dream.

Burn relief – Honey’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and moisture-restorative qualities make it ideal for healing inflamed and stinging burns (even a sunburn). Its thickness also functions as a barrier against any pathogens that could try to enter the burn.

Preventing acid reflux – Honey may help to line the esophagus and stomach, perhaps decreasing the upward passage of stomach acid and undigested food, however, more medical study needs to be put to back up this claim.

Relieve cold and cough symptoms – Children’s coughs might be treated with a honey and milk mix. In fact, the remedy was shown to be at least twice as effective as two over-the-counter medicines marketed for this purpose.

The effectiveness in conditions like hiccups, stress, weakness, bedwetting and frequent urination, bad breath, the effects of hangovers, teething pain in babies older than 1 year, eczema and dermatitis, burns, cuts, and wounds, vision problems, stomach ulcers, diarrhea and dysentery, vomiting, high blood pressure, jaundice & arthritis have also been established.

Side effects

Nothing is 100% safe and does not have any side effects, so the same stands for honey. Honey can easily get contaminated by germs from plants or bees themselves, or when it is being processed. Thankfully most of these germs do not survive or reproduce as the germ-fighting properties in honey destroy them. However, some germs reproduce spores (bacteria in a resistant form) like botulin which causes serious illness in animals and humans, particularly infants whose digestive system is still not mature enough to fight back these spores can be fatal.
So parents giving honey to their infants must be cautious of botulinum poisoning.

Another aspect that most nutritionists emphasize as being harmful to human consumption is the prolonged use of honey due to its simple sugar (fructose) content. They believe when you consume honey regularly you are ingesting more carbohydrates, which goes beyond your daily required amount of calories.

I know it is a little surprising to think that honey would be considered bad due to its sugar content which adds up to our daily calories but these are facts. Also, it is not like you must stop taking honey immediately; these facts are to help you understand the effects of honey and how you reducing the intake or taking a break from it will help you intensely.

You must also understand that some of the nutrient values that honey have been destroyed by manufacturers when they heat it to make it look clean and clear to increase sales. So make sure to buy honey that is raw and unheated. It is a very good healing agent but do not consume too much of it as then it will be as bad as normal white and brown sugar.

Did you know honey decays tooth faster than normal table sugar? Yes, it does. I guess now we know why bears’ teeth are known to decay compared to other animals because they love honey.

These are the only side effects of honey and as you can see these side effects are not harmful if you have control over the quantity you take and the kind of honey you buy.

What is raw manuka honey

There are different types of honey, which depend on the type of flower the nectar is being collected from. One such type of honey is called manuka honey. This honey is made by bees in New Zealand as that is where the manuka bush is to be found. The raw honey nectar is gathered from the flowers of the manuka bush.

One of the major antibacterial components of raw manuka honey is a compound known as methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is produced by the conversion of another chemical present in raw manuka honey called dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is found in high concentrations in the nectar of manuka flowers. The stronger the antibacterial action, the higher the MGO concentration.

Raw manuka honey is an effective agent in treating wounds and other skin conditions as it contains an additional antibacterial property called UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). Manuka honey’s curing properties are very potent in that it cures various diseases such as heartburn, gastritis, peptic ulcers, bowel syndrome, bad stomach, digestive problems, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis, and many more. Amazingly, even medical practitioners and scientists now believe that honey is more effective than any antibiotic to treat these conditions.

Many diseases are caused by infectious bacteria which in the past were cured by antibiotics but some bacteria mutate and become resistant to these antibiotics that are trying to eradicate them; hence only honey can kill and wipe out all kinds of infectious bacteria. Today there aren’t any bacteria found showing signs of resistance to honey. Raw manuka honey kills bacteria by sucking out the water from it making it difficult to live. Therefore, antiseptic ointments and other medicinal remedies are being made with raw manuka honey to treat severe infections.

Raw manuka honey in raw form is known to kill bacteria that are hard to kill, such as the MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staff Aureus) bacteria and VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci) bacteria.

From the beginning of time, honey was never considered just a food source or a sweetener but it was considered something of significant value due to its amazing cures and beauty remedies.

Although every honey does have a few antibacterial ingredients in it; manuka honey (in the raw form) is known to be more potent than the rest because the enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide in other kinds of honey gets destroyed when exposed to heat and light, whereas, with raw manuka honey, this does not happen as there is no hydrogen peroxide component in it.

Raw manuka honey has numerous health-beneficial properties, such as antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.

I do not think I need to say more about this well-deserved powerful healing agent.

Difference between raw manuka honey and ordinary honey

I guess you would agree with me that raw manuka honey is gaining popularity literally by the minute due to its potent antibacterial property that heals wounds and ailments around the world. Have you ever wondered why it is more popular than the rest? Well, I have always been curious to know the answer to that.

All types of honey have antibacterial properties in them that are formed by enzymes that produce hydrogen peroxide. Some of these antibacterial properties get destroyed when exposed to heat or light, or due to aging.

Raw manuka honey contains more antibacterial properties than any other organic honey and since it does not have the hydrogen peroxide property in it; it remains stable even when exposed to heat, light, or aging. This is found unique only to the manuka flower from which the nectar is collected.

Some of the bacteria in our bodies kill the hydrogen peroxide antibacterial component when we consume ordinary organic honey that has it but with manuka honey that does not happen as it does not contain the same kind of antibacterial enzymes.

Other honey cannot kill hard-to-destroy bacteria such as MRSA and VRE that show resistance to antibiotics but manuka honey has been found to kill these resistant bacteria.

When you dilute other organic honey it easily gets diluted and loses its strength but with raw manuka honey, you can dilute it more than 30 to 40 times, and yet it never loses its potency. Furthermore, raw manuka honey is effective even without moisture and oxygen.

When raw manuka honey is taken or applied it goes deep into our tissues and spreads out to kill bacteria and heal affected areas in our body.

Finally, the last difference between raw manuka honey and other organic honey lies in their pricing. Even manuka honey in its raw form costs twice as much as ordinary organic honey due to its high antibacterial component.

Honey and weight management

If you’re monitoring your weight and what you eat, why is honey a better choice than table sugar? There are four major causes behind this. Use honey instead of empty-calorie sugars to boost metabolism.


Substituting “empty calorie” sugars with honey

They rely on the body’s nutrients to be processed into the system, and when these nutrients are depleted, cholesterol and fatty acid metabolization is hampered, leading to greater cholesterol and obesity owing to increased fatty acid in the organs and tissues. One of the most effective ways to lose weight is to eliminate or reduce the number of empty calories in your diet.
The good news is that honey, a natural sweetener, includes 22 amino acids and a range of minerals necessary for metabolism, making it beneficial in avoiding obesity.

Boost Metabolism

Drinking lemon juice with a little honey first thing in the morning is said to be an excellent anti-cellulite therapy since it boosts body metabolism. Try this honey and lemon diet advice if you want to lose weight and speed up your sluggish metabolism. Another famous dish connected with honey and weight reduction is a drink made with honey and cinnamon. Many people have reported that this home treatment has helped them lose weight. The steps are simple: In a cup of boiling water, dissolve half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder (or powdered cinnamon). Stir the ingredients together and set aside for half an hour. Remove any large particles and add a spoonful of honey. Take it in the morning, approximately half an hour before breakfast, on an empty stomach.

Improve Digestion to Lose Weight

A healthy digestive system might help you lose weight faster. Honey can be used for better digestion by those who tend to overeat or have stomach discomfort after meals. Honey is a simple carbohydrate that may be consumed during fasting since it includes sugars that are readily absorbed. Carbohydrates are foods that are high in sugars or sugar compounds. The order of sugars in a meal determines whether it is a simple or complex carbohydrate source. Complex carbohydrates are sugars that are bonded into rows, as they are in starches like whole grains and legumes. The sugar from a complex carbohydrate takes significantly longer for the body to absorb.

Honey aids glycogen storage in the liver

Honey and weight loss are also linked to the current idea based on the hibernation diet. Honey has been found as the best meal for replenishing liver glycogen while sleeping. The diet recommends drinking a big spoonful or two of honey before bedtime, either as a warm drink or straight from the jar, and claims that it will help us sleep better while losing weight by fueling the liver, speeding up fat-burning metabolism, and reducing stress hormones.

Test to check honey purity

It’s important to remember that the following tests are not 100 percent accurate. When you’re looking for a simple test, honey’s lovely, sweet diversity works against you. Pure honey comes in a variety of densities, flammability levels, and other properties. While the following tests are founded on sound concepts, your findings may be inconclusive in practice. Try a few of these tests to determine if the honey regularly fails or passes. In many situations, you can only make an educated estimate.

  • In a glass of warm water, dissolve a teaspoon of honey, stirring gently or not at all. Honey will dissolve in water if it has been combined with certain types of sugar syrup. Most pure honeys, as well as certainly contaminated honeys, will stay together and sink as a solid lump, or remain trapped on the spoon as a lump.
  • Place a drop of honey on your thumb and see if it spills or spreads like any other liquid. If it does, it’s possible it’s not pure. Impure honey is runny, but pure honey is viscous. Pure honey adheres to the surface on which it is applied and does not drop. Furthermore, due to the presence of additional sugar, the flavor of impure honey may remain.
  • Set a cotton pad or a candle wick soaked in honey on fire. This test simply looks for extra water in honey that might prevent it from burning. Shake off any extra honey with a cotton pad or the cotton wick of a candle. Light the cotton pad or wick as best you can. If it burns quickly, it generally doesn’t contain any additional water, but it might have other ingredients. Water may have been added if it fails to burn or creates a cracking sound instead.
  • Put honey on blotting paper or a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Honey that has been diluted with water may seep into absorbent materials such as blotting paper or leave a wet mark. Although honey in its purest form will not be absorbed, honey blended with most sugar syrups will.
  • You may be amazed to learn that pure honey is flammable. However, we ask that you proceed with extreme caution and at your own risk when doing this test. Dip the tip of a dry matchstick with honey and set it aside. Strike the matchbox with the matchstick. Your honey is pure if it glows up. If it doesn’t burn, it’s likely adulterated, and there’s a chance it’s been contaminated with water.
  • Combine a spoonful of honey, a little water, and 2-3 drops of vinegar essence in a small mixing bowl. If this combination foams up, there’s a good chance your honey has been adulterated.
  • When pure honey is heated, it caramelizes rapidly and does not froth. Impure honey, on the other hand, may not caramelize and become frothy when heated. A lot of the distinctions between pure and contaminated honey may be seen with the naked eye by looking at the physical characteristics of the honey. Pure honey is thick and simply drips into a stream. It has a delicate texture, does not split into layers, and has a pleasant scent. When you drink raw honey, which is honey in its purest form, you may get a little tingling or mild burning sensation in your throat.

Citations

https://www.wikihow.com/Verify-the-Purity-of-Honey
https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/how-to-check-if-your-honey-is-pure-or-adulterated-1690779
https://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-and-weight-loss.html
https://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/a19946109/beauty-uses-for-honey/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667

Featured pic: Honey photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

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Navjot Singh
I'm an independent healthcare analyst with a passion for exploring and researching overall well-being. From cutting-edge medications to time-tested traditions, I delve into various perspectives. My extensive analysis covers health, alternative treatments, nutrition, fitness, herbs, and parenting. Every write-up on Bloomposts is churned thoroughly from authentic & published mediums. My aim is to provide valuable information for those who seek it. Now, let's dive into the articles - I hope you find them enjoyable and valuable.
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