Honey. It’s one of the most amazing substances produced by hard-working bees that we classify as food and now as a super food.
However, before I go on, I think it’s important to note that this is a food that we are taking from the bees. This was not produced for us, they produce it for themselves.
If you decide to consume honey it’s in your best moral interest, and the bees interest, that you know it’s coming from an apiary that recognizes the hard work these bees do to produce this life giving substance for their hive. That they ensure the bees are well taken care of and never take more honey than necessary.
It’s said best in this article “Not all honey is cruelly produced, nor is all honey ethically produced”. Please keep this in mind if you choose to purchase honey. It’s important we all work together to ensure EVERY being is respected and treated fairly.
I decided to write this article because I had been gifted honey from a friend who I know gathered just enough for a couple jars ethically and respectfully. When purchasing honey it’s best to purchase raw honey.
Pasteurized VS Unpasteurized:
The intent of pasteurization is to heat a substance enough that it kills off harmful bacteria. However, the issue that most have with this is that good bacteria and vitamins are destroyed as well.
When honey is pasteurized, live enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins and good bacteria naturally found in raw honey are killed off.
Pasteurized honey is classified as an invert sugar syrup which is a refined sugar and often has other ingredients added to it. Other ingredients can include dyes, flavours and high fructose corn syrup.
Pasteurization also kills yeast cells in the honey which prevent fermentation and can affect the natural taste of honey, hence the added flavour enhancers.
Raw honey on the other hand is anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and
anti-carcinogenic (find out what these action words mean here). It promotes wound healing, soothes upper respiratory ailments and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals depending on the type of flowers consumed by the bees.
Raw honey can also boost the immune system and help your overall state of health. For example, using honey to take pungent herbs makes it easier to take your dosages, especially for children.*
When mixed with herbs, the benefits of honey are amplified!
Here are some herbs to use in herbal honeys:
* Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
* Cinnamon sticks (Cinnamomum verum)
* Garlic (Allium sativum)
* Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
* Rose (Rosa spp.)
* Chamomile (Marticaria recutita)
* Any of the mints (Spearmint, chocolate mint, peppermint, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, etc.)
Dried herbs are best with the exception of ginger root (Zingiber officinale) and garlic cloves (Allium sativum).
Although raw honey contains about 18% water and is naturally acidic you want to be careful that you don’t add too much more moisture to prevent fermentation.
And remember, the more pungent your herb is the more flavour you’ll have in you herbal honey!
Making Herbal Honey:
Sterilized glass jar
Herb of choice – this will depend on what medicinal benefit/flavour you desire
Butter knife / Chop stick
Choose your herb(s).
Fill the glass jar halfway with the herb.
Pour honey over the herb until the herb is covered and the honey rises to the top.
Release air bubbles that may form by mixing & popping them with your knife/chop stick. The air bubbles may make it go bad faster.
Cover the jar and store in a dark cool area or the refrigerator. Let it stand for a few days, and use as needed.
Tips and Warnings:
Keep an eye on your honey. Make sure no mold forms. If it does, compost it!
Keep adding honey to your herb is you use it quickly.
Eating the herb is just fine.
*Don't feed infants two-years-old or under honey because it contains a small amount of botulism and infants don't have the immunity to withstand it.
Cold Buster Remedy: Honey Bombs
When I feel a little off, a cold coming on or I know I'm going to be around sick people, I make these honey bombs to give my immune system a boost!
Finely chop 1 clove raw garlic
Place garlic in small glob of honey and roll into ball
Swallow honey ball with water - DO NOT CHEW IT'S HOT!
Take 1-3 honey bombs per day for acute symptoms and 1 a day for maintenance.
Ninetta (Nina) Savino