The recorded use of honey for health has been around for at least 4,000 years. The Egyptians used it for a healthy life and in preparations for death. It somehow lost favor when “modern” medicine decided the folk medicine that had been used for hundreds of years, was no longer useful.
But, honey is making a comeback, as it’s beneficial use in diabetic sores, allergies, sore throats, minor burns, and diaper rash, (to name just a few), has come to light.
I was able to harvest my first honey last fall after my bees swarmed. It was the best honey I have ever tasted, since most of the honey I had eveeaten was off the store shelves.
But not all honey is good honey. If you are buying honey at your local market, asks a few questions to see if their honey meets your standards.
When you buy your honey do you know if chemicals were used in the hive? Make sure natural methods are used to treat and prevent disease.
What were they fed? Bees often need to be fed after being overwintered. Sugar syrup is an easy choice, and may be the only one if the beekeeper has not saved honey from the late summer harvest. The bees own honey is the best choice.
Is it pasteurized? Pasteurization is a heating process that makes the honey clear. Many consumers believe clear honey is clean honey. But health benefits and taste are sacrificed.
Where did the honey come from? Was it shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to your supermarket shelf? Buy local honey that bees have made from local plants to your area. If you have allergies, eating honey from your area has the best benefits. Also, the time of year the honey was collected is important. Spring allergies benefit from nectar and pollen collected in the spring, while fall collections are a good choice for those with fall allergies.
Last fall was my first honey harvest. I didn’t have a lot of equipment and didn’t want to buy an electric knife. The electric knife is hot, and makes uncapping the honey much easier. Now I’m glad I didn’t. The heat of the electric knife can decrease healthy enzymes in the honey.
If you are interested in beekeeping, contact your local agricultural extension service for class information.
The best honey comes from your own hive. This way you can control how your bees are treated.