Medicinal Honey History
Honey does a lot more than just sweeten your tea. Honey has some pretty incredible healing benefits dating all the way back 4,000 years. In ancient Egypt, honey was used prominently in the maintenance of everyday life as well as during the preparations for death. In ancient Greece honey was used as a base for many of Hippocrates' formulations. Honey was even used as battlefield medicine from the time of The Iliad to World War I. Isn't that amazing?
Medicinal honey has such a rich history of healing properties. Go ahead, try a few of these incredibly effective ways to use honey:
Immune Support and Allergies
A spoonful of raw honey from a local apiary gives your immune system the boost it needs to kick allergies right in the behind. Because raw, local honey is infused with your local flora it acts like a vaccine by giving your immune system some time to get familiar with potential allergens. For the best possible outcome, eat a spoonful of honey every day.
Cough and Arthritis
Mix up equal parts of honey and vinegar. Add lemon and drink every two-three hours to treat a nasty cough OR skip the lemon and apply either externally or internally to treat arthritis. This mixture is alkalizing for the body.
Skip the Neosporin and try putting a dab of honey underneath your bandage. Honey has amazing antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
This may sound messy, but once you try it you'll be amazed! Spread a thin coating on any diaper rash and give your kid a little bit of naked time. You'll be hooked when you see how well it works.
Add honey to a nice steam or just spread over the sinus area topically. Keep your tissues close! Your sinuses will drain quickly!
Check out this neti-pot mix! Add a teaspoon of honey to about a cup of saline water. But remember, never use a neti-pot when you're congested.
Honey inhibits H. pylori, the cause of most ulcers. To heal an ulcer, consume around two-three ounces a day for three months.
Special tip from Dr. Saccomanno:
You can make medicinal herb infused honey for an extra punch of wellness. Dr. Saccomanno's favorites are St. Johns Wort (great for battling seasonal affective disorder) and Rosehips with Reishi mushroom (for lung health). Wondering how to infuse honey? Find out here. Medicinal infused honey would make a fantastic Christmas gift. Check out our other easy DIY Christmas gift ideas.
What do you mean by "medicinal honey"?
We mean well-raised, chemical-free, un-heated raw honey. It's true, natural honey does vary greatly. Does that make some honey more or less effective than other honey? Not necessarily. Some honey can have enhanced effects but that doesn't make it better or worse than other honey. For instance, maybe you know someone in one part of the world that raves about using their honey as a chest-congestion cure-all. It's probably not considered that the honey in that region is collected in a grove of eucalyptus trees.
Different types of honey vary in the amounts of minerals and vitamins because each type is composed of a unique blend of nectars. Manuka honey, for instance, is indisputably medicinal. The concentration and composition of the vitamins and minerals in this honey make it supercharged with just the right balance of healthful goodness. Here in the states, our most medicinal honey is buckwheat honey. Buckwheat honey is rich, dark and also highly charged with minerals and vitamins.
Knowing that you can get such wonderful benefits from good, raw honey makes it a little easier to splurge on the stuff that's really worth it. When buying honey for medicinal purposes, be sure that you're asking these questions:
- Do you use chemicals in your hives? You're going to want chemical-free herbals methods only.
- How do you feed your bees? Stay away from apiaries that feed their bees high-fructose corn syrup or boiled sugar-water. Bees should be fed their own honey.
- How do you re-liquefy your honey? Try to stay away from honey that's been heated very much. The heat reduces the effectiveness of medicinal honey.
- Has the honey been filtered? Only the biggest particles should be strained out without applying pressure and heat.
- When was your honey harvested? For those of you with allergies, try to get honey that was harvested in the Spring as it tends to provide better allergy protection. For stronger allergy protection, get honey that was harvested at the end of the previous summer.
- Is the honey pasteurized? Health and taste can be lost during the process of pasteurization. Unpasteurized honey is preferred.
- Do you harvest with an electric knife? The heated knives that some beekeepers use to harvest honey can super heat the honey which decreases healthy enzymes.
- Where are you? If your local beekeeper has passed this gauntlet of very Portlandia-esque questions make sure that their apiary is in your area. Just because they're selling it locally doesn't mean it was produced locally. Make sure that the bees are collecting from the same plants as where you live.
I've heard that bees are becoming endangered, is the consumption of medicinal honey sustainable or even healthy for bees?
Beekeepers that are kind to their bees and follow all of the best practices for producing a sustainable hive can be found. If their focus is on the bees health and the extra is the only thing that's taken then there is nothing unsustainable or unhealthy about consuming their honey. Generally, it's the conventional commercial places that product ill and dying colonies. Stay away from them and you're good to go!
Got it. Where can I find some delicious, local, medicinal honey?
We are so glad you asked!!! Being in the lovely and bountiful Northwest, us Portlanders have some great medicinal honey resources available to us. Here are a few of our favorites:
Bee Local - Bee Local is a wonderful collection of urban apiaries strewn about the city on the tops of buildings such as the Nines, New Seasons and the Imperial as well as scattered about Portland wine country. We actually carry their honey here at the clinic. Pick some up the next time you're in!
My Local Honey - Offers gourmet raw honey made by bees right here in Oregon and Washington.
Glory Bee - Even with one of the widest selections of varietal honeys, Glory Bee is very concerned about the treatment of their bees and the quality of the honey.