Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. This week we’re going to talk about the healing power of raw, local honey.
In my recent research, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of our local beekeepers. My brother, as well, has several hives. Seeing the fascination and excitement in their eyes makes me want to learn more about the world of honey!
Honey as Medicine
I use honey as a natural medicine to promote healing. Honey is loaded with antioxidants, as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties. When I had Covid-19, I loaded up on Manuka Honey, which I will talk about later on in this Note.
Here are some things I’ve treated with honey in my practice:
- Sore throats
- Skin rashes
- Ulcers on the skin
Many plastic surgeons will tell you to use honey on your incisions and it works great. It can also heal burns.
Honey can be medical grade. The FDA has approved it to treat wounds medically.
The way this works is the honey reacts with your body’s own fluids and produces hydrogen peroxide, similar to the way High Dose Vitamin C works in the body, which also turns into hydrogen peroxide. This produces a healing effect.
As well as it being a flavonoid, there are a lot of anti-inflammatory properties to honey. There are studies that show it works better for coughs than Dextromethorphan and Benadryl.
- Protects the heart and dilates the arteries.
- Prevents blood clots.
- Decreases blood pressure and cholesterol. Note: it actually decreases the LDL and increases the HDL.
- Helps with mosquito bites by taking the itch and sting away.
- Helps with canker sores.
- Helps treat allergies! Note: almost like immunotherapy in how it helps the immune system.
- Helps with allergies because it has pollen in it, and it slowly desensitizes you to things you may be sensitive to, i.e., ragweed.
- Helps your skin because it holds water in your skin.
- A great pre workout energy source. Note: I’ve used it for this since my college years.
- Helps with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. Note: you use it this way by mixing it with water.
- Helps with digestion, bloating and constipation. Note: you can add honey and lemon to lukewarm water for this.
- Helps you sleep by helping the body release its own Melatonin and L-Tryptophan naturally.
- It can help with weight loss because it replaces sugar.
- Even treats acne, especially when combined with nutmeg.
Honey is lower on the glycemic index than a lot of carbs. Its glycemic ratio is about fifty out of a range of zero to one hundred. When I had a Continuous Glucose Monitor on, I noticed that honey didn’t spike my sugar up at all.
In order to get all of these health benefits, you have to use raw, local, unpasteurized and unfiltered honey. The pasteurized honey you find in grocery stores doesn’t have pollen in it and is not nearly as useful to the body.
Local beekeepers will tell you that the honey you see advertised as “local” in grocery stores has been pasteurized with added high fructose corn syrup to make it look clearer. If you want the real deal, you need to go to a local farmer’s market or directly to a beekeeper, not the grocery store. There is nothing that tastes sweeter and better than raw, local, unpasteurized and unfiltered honey. It’s the best.
Manuka honey has more antibacterial properties for healing than any other type of honey. This is because of its unique manuka factors. Note: Manuka honey is graded using a system called the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).
Manuka honey comes from Manuka bushes in New Zealand. The manuka factors range from 5-25 on some scales. The higher the factor, the more expensive it is and the more antibacterial qualities it has. Note: I have it on hand if I start to feel bad. It has several signature compounds: Leptosperin, Dihydroxyacetone, and Methylglyoxal.
Remember with any honey you can eat too much, because it is a type of sugar. You don’t want to eat it all day long. Children under the age of one should not eat honey. Honey doesn’t spoil. It will sometimes crystallize, which is fine. Just don’t put it in a microwave.
Bees and Honey
Bees are amazing creatures. One third of all foods would not be possible without bees. Bees are pollinators. Almost half of living things would die without bees. There would be no fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, nuts, and oils.
Bees have been around for an extremely long time. We need them. The problem is that they’re in trouble, and have been since the 1990’s. Hives are disappearing because of pesticides. This is called Colony Collapse Disorder. It affects bees physically and mentally (they can’t find their way back to the hive).
Bees are social creatures. The communication between them is amazing. One hive has about 40,000 bees in it. To give you an idea of how hard bees work, one bee in its entire lifetime will only produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey.
There are three types of bees: worker bees, drones, and the Queen Bee. Worker bees are all female. They are the only ones that have stingers and will die after one sting. Worker bees live for only a few months. Drones are all male bees. They fertilize the Queen Bee. Note: there is only one queen bee per colony. Drones are usually bigger bees and eat more. They only live for a few months like the worker bees. The Queen Bee is a much larger bee. It’s involved with laying eggs and reproducing. One queen bee can lay up to one million eggs and lives between 2-5 years.
Female worker bees have honey sacks. When they suck nectar out of flowers, the nectar is stored in their “honey stomachs”, which is not part of their digestive tract. When they get back to their hive they pass this on to other worker bees who chew on the nectar for 30 minutes. These enzymes turn into a substance that they deposit into cells called honeycombs. When a cell is full they seal it over with wax.
Bees are like the ultimate business organization. It is fascinating how they all work together. The bees will fly about 5 miles around the hive before landing on the flowers to pollinate. They (along with the wind) are responsible for spreading the pollen that enables the flowers to produce seeds and spread. Everyone works together for a common purpose!
As you can see it takes a lot of bees (and a lot of work!) to make the honey that not only tastes good, but is good for the body as well. It is important that we keep honey bees alive because of how vital they are to our food supply. How can you and I help? Go out and get some raw local honey! I plan to stock some in my offices.
Just give it a try and let me know what you think!