honey_picture_167062“Eat honey, my child, for it is good.”
~ Proverbs 24:13

Honey is deliciously sweet and is made by bees using the nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (Apis) is the one most of us know, as it is the type of honey collected by most beekeepers and consumed by us hungry bears. Bumblebees, stingless bees and other hymenopteran insects such as honey wasps, also produce honey, although the quantity is generally much lower than their counterparts.

Honey however may not have come from the lovely little bees themselves, as it is one of the most adulterated foods on Earth with many companies mixing it with cheaper sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup to reduce costs. If you’re concerned you’re not getting the full goodness from your apian nectar, look for ‘pure honey’ on the ingredient label and skip anything that lists ‘honey blend’. If you can get your hands on it, choose ‘raw honey’over anything else, as this is unpasteurized and so will keep all the goodness in – and if you can source it from a nearby beekeeper, you’ll be doing the world of good for your body and local honey bee organisations.

bee-690863_640Mass produced honey is also pasteurized at a very high heat, denaturing the enzymes and killing any probiotics. What’s more, these processed honeys are completely stripped of their beneficial pollen. There is also concern and controversy over the production methods of mass-produced honey and the wellbeing of the bees.

Honey has a long history in human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener or flavouring. It has a complex taste, and amazing versatility; here are some top things you should do with honey

Antioxidant

The darker the honey, the stronger the taste and so the higher the antioxidant content. Buckwheat honey is among the darkest and is perfect for a strong, distinctive honey hit on your natural yoghurt in the morning – it’ll also kick-start your immune system.

Tip: Lightly spray oil onto your spoon when measuring out honey if from the jar, this then allows it to slide off the spoon.

Wash your face with raw honey

honey-5732_640Leave your chemical-laden face wash and switch to raw honey. There is a method called honey cleansings, which gently cleanses without stripping the skin, reducing outbreaks and normalizes sebum production. Raw honey has natural antibacterial and healing properties, which soothes and clarifies the skin and is so gentle that it is ideal for very sensitive skin, rosacea and eczema.

Wash your hair with honey

Raw honey provides unparalleled moisturizing benefits to your hair and scalp, as well as cleansing leaving your tresses silky and smooth. Honey shampoo, or Honey Poo, will significantly reduce frizzy hair and balance your scalps pH levels, which can be damaged by chemicals.

Store for emergencies

When you find your perfect raw honey stockist or beekeeper, buy another jar for those times when you need a quick fix, or for emergencies. Archeologists have found edible honey in Egyptian tombs, as honey doesn’t go off.

Cough Syrup

Everyone knows the age-old home remedy of lemon and honey, but try adding some fresh ginger root to hot water, raw honey and lemon juice and this natural remedy will never have you looking at pharmaceutical cough syrup again.

Get a good night sleep

bumblebee-83003_640If you frequently wakeup between 2am and 4am this often means your levels of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol are out of sync. These hormones are supposed to follow natural peaks and dips as part of the circadian rhythm, but when there is hormonal imbalance, they can spike to abnormal levels. This is where the honey comes in! Health researcher and author of Eat for Heat, Matt Stone, suggests sprinkling a tiny bit of salt and sugar on the tongue to fall back to sleep quickly, as both these ingredients combat rising levels of stress hormones. By keeping a little jar of salted honey by your bed, is perfect for a good night sleep.

Reduce your seasonal allergies

Again an old wives remedy that works perfectly! Impressive relief can be sought by taking a few teaspoons of their local honey each day thanks to the small amounts of pollen found in the honey. These small amounts supposedly build up immunity to the pollen.

Treat Burns

You wouldn’t think that putting raw honey on a burn would be beneficial, surely it’s just a sugary syrup? But this has been extensively studied and not only does it soothe and heal the skin, but it acts as a natural antibacterial effectively preventing infection.

honey-823614_640To find a local beekeeper or supplier, take a look at the UK Honey Directory or visit the Better Food Company who supply local honey from South Gloucestershire. You can also support local markets:

Visit Yeovil market and meet Dream Garden – a Somerset honey and beeswax product, or head to Axbridge market and find Wesley Cottage Bees, drive to Crewkerne market and find Legglands Orchards who are from the Blackdown Hills, or try something closer with Keynsham country market.. to find out more: visit this site