Honey For Immunity: How Medicinal Honey Supports Your Immune System
Honey For Immunity: How Medicinal Honey Supports Your Immune System
Honey is a delicious, natural source of sweetness that boosts your immune system and provides many other health benefits. But not all honey is created equal: The way in which the liquid gold is made determines just how nutritious and beneficial it is. Medicinal honey is said to be the holy grail of natural immune boosters. But why is that so? And is medicinal honey really healthier than regular honey?
What is Medicinal Honey?
Medicinal honey has antibacterial properties.
Medicinal honey is said to be bioactive, meaning that it can kill or inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria. It is this antibacterial quality that is unique to medicinal honey. As a result, it has been used to treat wounds, burns and inflammation of any type for thousands of years. The honey that is most famous for its medicinal properties originates in Australia: Manuka honey contains the highest levels of antibacterial properties found in honey. In Europe, medicinal honey has recently successfully been tested against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Medicinal honey has wound healing properties.
It is astonishing just how many uses medicinal honey has when it comes to healing cuts and bruises. Whilst its acidic properties balance out pH levels and in doing so inhibit bacterial growth, it also keeps wounds from smelling funky. Bacteria would normally metabolise amino acids and create foul-smelling odours, but where honey is applied, bacteria will digest glucose instead, which greatly reduces that risk.
As if that’s not enough, here’s another incredible fact: Honey has osmotic properties, meaning that it can draw fluid out of a wound and avoid further inflammation.
Medicinal honey is minimally processed and unfiltered.
It’s raw honey in its truest form and sense. From the bee to the hive and finally your home, medicinal honey is largely unprocessed. That means, when you pop open a jar or bottle of raw Manuka honey, the product you see isn’t at all different from the honey made in the beehive.
“Hand-made” by local bee populations from the nectar of Australia’s Leptospermum species of plants and taken straight from the honeycomb – without passing through a factory. Passionate beekeepers ensure that the bees are undisturbed and cared for. The beekeepers will simply extract the honey by pouring it over a nylon cloth or food-grade stainless steel sieve. Once strained, it is bottled, labelled and ready to be enjoyed by you and your family.
The production of medicinal honey doesn’t rely on pesticides or any other type of chemicals. This allows the final product to maintain its natural, healthy goodness.
What’s the difference between medicinal honey and “supermarket” honey?
Commercial honey or “supermarket honey” is usually not monofloral, but a mix of various flowers and blossoms which have no antibacterial properties. Even honey that’s labelled as “pure”, might not be a safe choice. Additives aren’t always clearly declared. It’s well worth reading labels and fine print before you purchase honey at your local grocery store, as some brands blend their honey with sugar, sweeteners or other chemicals to make it cheaper.
“Supermarket honey” is often produced en masse and processed in high-temperature heat to make the honey easier to handle for packaging. Hot honey is a lot easier to filter and bottle, but unfortunately, the heat also changes the texture and taste of the end product, whilst removing much of its nutritional value. The pasteurisation process removes enzymes, bee pollen and wax, which could otherwise activate your immune system.
Your best bet is to go with honey that is raw (unfiltered), organic and locally made.
How To Support Your Immune System With Medicinal Honey
Medicinal honey contains phytonutrients that normally protect plants from harm. The phytonutrients in honey give it antioxidant properties, as well as its antibacterial and antifungal powers. Sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually supported by science! A number of studies have explored the effectiveness of honey for a range of medical uses, from wound care to gut health and beyond.
How does the immune system work?
To better understand why honey is good for us, we need to know how the immune system works. Simply put, our immune system has two teams that work together to promote optimal health. One team takes care of defending us against bacteria and viruses, the other forms antibodies against pathogens so that we already have the right weapons if we come into contact with them again. Antibodies help us fight infections and they can, in many cases, be aided by antibiotics or food sources with antibacterial properties – like raw honey!
In 2018, the scientific journal AIMS published a paper that found manuka honey has immune-boosting qualities. Its efficacy in fighting diseases, inflammation and curing all kinds of ailments, the paper concluded, was due to the antibacterial agents found in raw, unprocessed honey. In addition, honey also is a potent prebiotic that helps balance the pH levels in the gut – which is crucial for our overall health.
Over the past decade, raw honey has become a popular research subject. With bacterial resistance due to the excessive prescription and use of antibiotics, the antibacterial properties of honey have gained a lot of attention. With more people looking to treat diseases naturally and more antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the world, raw honey may offer incredibly useful insights and new applications.
Is Organic Honey Better Than Regular Honey?
Yes, organic honey is always the superior choice! But take note: Medicinal honey and organic honey aren’t the same thing. As explained above, medicinal honey refers to honey being unprocessed and having antibacterial properties. If honey is just certified organic, the bee farm follows strict protocols, but it doesn’t imply that the product has medicinal properties or is unprocessed. Ideally, you should choose a product that can guarantee all three: A honey with medicinal properties that’s organically sourced with minimal processing.
- Bee yards cannot be located within a five-kilometre radius of pollution sources which may cause contamination. This includes conventional crops, urban centres, garbage dumps, contaminated water and GMO crops.
- Honey needs to be stored below 45 degrees Celsius and under conditions that do not pose the risk of contamination from the surroundings.
- The use of antibiotics, miticides and synthetic veterinary treatments are prohibited.
- Toxic wood preservatives and paints can not be used in hive construction or maintenance.
The ways in which honey is made, collected and processed before it is bottled, can change the degree of benefit it has on our body. If you’re looking for an immune boost, make sure to choose raw and organic honey that was made locally.
To have supportive effects honey must be raw and preferably organic, meaning:
- It was harvested directly from the beehive.
- It was strained only to get rid of sediment.
- It has not been manipulated or added to in any way.
- It has not been pasteurised or heated.
- No preservatives or chemicals were used in the making.
How to Consume Honey and Support Your Immune System
To help your immune system work at full capacity, no one ‘fix’ will do the trick. But, you can do your best by ensuring that you eat a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle that includes plenty of exercise, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and limiting stress. As part of this routine, you can support your immune system by adding medicinal honey to your diet.
We recommend that you add medicinal honey to your diet by:
- Eating one raw spoonful of honey every day, either
- Straight from the spoon
- Dissolved in warm water or tea
- You can also spread on a slice of wholemeal toast
- Add it to your cereal or oatmeal
- Add a teaspoon of raw honey to your smoothie
- Drizzle it over plain yoghurt
- Use it to make a salad dressing
*Please remember that honey is still high in sugar and should therefore be consumed in moderation.
Vallentine’s Honey is 100% Australian, single-origin honey, made in the Byron Bay hinterlands.
We proudly produce and bottle the healing power of the world’s most potent honey. Hand collected by passionate local beekeepers, we hope you and your family enjoy the goodness of nature.
For questions and enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.
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