On a recent visit to The Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California, a Zen sanctuary for body, mind and spirit, I spent some time with their chef. As we walked in the garden exploring his beehives, his passion for beekeeping spilled out. He shared many facts about honey including that it takes about 10,000 bees to make one pound of honey. That’s after the busy bees visit 1.5 to 2 million flowers.
Bees that pollinate are magical and productive. And the sticky sweet stuff that honey bees create is a bit of a miracle in itself. Honey has been used medicinally for its health benefits and antibacterial properties for many moons.
Pots of unspoiled honey have been discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptians, still preserved after thousands of years. The Egyptians used it to treat the skin, eyes and wounds. They also added honey to their milk baths and as a beauty aid in their face masks. Today, honey is being touted as a superfood and natural remedy for various ailments.
One remarkable thing I learned from the chef about the healing properties of honey is that its enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide useful for healing wounds. Honey also has B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.
Types of Honey
If you’re looking to benefit from honey, be aware that there’s a world of difference between regular honey and raw honey. Typically, the bear-shaped squeeze bottles on the grocery shelf are either fake honey or tainted, as many are watered down with high fructose corn syrup. A good rule of thumb for honey seems to be: You get what you pay for!
Raw honey is the way to go, and lately, native manuka honey from New Zealand has been on the holistic radar.
Facts About Manuka Honey
Let’s start with some things you should know about manuka honey.
- It’s produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the manuka bush. A flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, it’s common name is manuka myrtle or tea tree. The manuka flowers are irresistible to pollinating bees, to our good fortune.
- Native manuka honey has a darker and earthier flavor than other local honey. It has aromatic and floral notes.
- With a rich, caramel-like taste, this honey is a great natural sweetener for your favorite recipes.
- Manuka naturally contains phenolic acids which are antioxidants. So it’s not only useful to sweeten your hot tea, it may also help fight free radical damage and soothe a sore throat.
- It’s a key ingredient in Swisse Ultiboost Vitamin C + Manuka Honey.
- Are the uses of manuka honey really so special? It may surprise you to know the benefits of manuka honey are so vast and it is so highly regarded and in demand that it has its own rating system. Manuka honey is evaluated using a Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), a rating number assigned to indicate its level of beneficial attributes.
- For manuka honey to be considered therapeutic, it must have a rating of 10 or higher on the label.
- The cost of an 8.8 ounce jar of quality manuka honey may set you back. A specialty grocery store, like Trader Joe’s, sells the honey with a 10+ rating for under $15.00. That same size jar on Manuka Honey USA jumps to $45 when it has a 16 rating.
- When using it as part of a healing process or therapy, quality is extremely important so be sure to research your manuka honey source.
- Manuka honey is not for everyone. If you are allergic to bees, beware because you do not want to potentially trigger a reaction. Also, children under the age of 12 months shouldn’t be given honey. As always, check in with your doctor for medical advice before making changes to your diet.
Still, keep manuka honey on your radar, as it may be the solution to superbugs and so much more!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.