Beekeeper's Apothecary: Medicinal Benefits of Honey
Honey is the sweet liquid made by Honey Bees using the nectars of the flowers.
Honey used in the medicinal form, dates back to as far as 8000 BCE. From ancient Chinese topical use of Honey, Egyptian medicinal concoctions with honey and milk, to the ancient Greeks who mixed together tinctures of vinegar and honey to treat pain from wound sites. Honey is simply a remarkable substance created by our tiny winged heroes that we call Apis mellifera. To think about how honey is made from the many gatherings of the nectars, combined, sealed, and preserved is like natures multi-vitamin of the flowers.
Medicinal Properties of Honey
As long as honey has been utilized, it has been considered the nectar of the Gods and with its medicinal properties, I can understand why.
Cellular Protection-Raw honey is a prefect combination of a variety of plant chemical that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect your body from cell damage due to free radicals. Free radicals contribute to the aging process and may also contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. There is even research that shows that antioxidant compounds in honey called polyphenols may play a role in preventing heart disease.
Wound Healing-Unaltered Raw honey has wound healing properties that can help your body fight off bacteria or fungus. Not only does honey inhibit bacteria growth, but the properties in raw honey promote tissue growth and is used today on wounds, burns, and even in wounds that are not responding to todays medicine.
Colds and Coughs- Honey is also used to help alleviate sore throats and coughs and is a wonderful alternative for child (over the age of one) who may not enjoy over the counter cough medicine.
Digestive Health- Honey has been shown to diminish the severity and duration of diarrhea. When ingesting honey, it promotes the increase of potassium and water intake, which is vital helpful when experiencing diarrhea and warding off dehydration.
How Do Honey Bees make Honey?
Forager Honey bees collect pollen and nectar from a variety of flowers within a two mile radius of their colony. They use their straw-like tongues (called proboscis) to drink the nectar out of the flowers and then stores it in their crop and carry it to the beehive.
The forager bee then regurgitating the nectar directly into the crop of a “processor” bee at or near the entrance to the hive. She then heads back out to forage for more nectar and pollen.
The processor bee takes the nectar to the designated hexagon shaped wax honeycomb cells, and regurgitates it into the cell, but she also adds an enzyme called invertase every time she does this. The nectar consists largely of sucrose (table sugar) and water, but the invertase breaks the sucrose down into two simpler sugars: glucose (blood sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar).
After the cells are full, the bees need to dry out the nectar and allow it to ripen. They fan their wing to create an air flow, which evaporates the water out of the nectar. This action prevents the honey from fermenting. They then seal the cell with a wax coating and store it until it is needed.
A single Honey bee will make around 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
Honey Infused with Herbs
Honey is amazing in its own, but is wonderful medicine when infused with herbs-
Honey alone is proven to have very potent healing properties, but when you infuse honey with medicinal herbs you can enhance the combination. You can be creative with your concoctions and even enjoy herbs from your garden to complement your raw honey. Herb infused honey can assist with sweetening the plant chosen to help encourage the action of the herb and how it is intended to alleviate the ailment, from children over 12 months of age to the elderly.
Wild Bergamot infused Honey:
Wild bergamot infused honey not only takes delicious, but can help relieve coughs and sore throats. Fill a jar half way with dried wild bergamot and cover with honey. Turn the jar once a day and strain after a month.
Borage Infused Honey:
Borage flower infused honey alleviates coughs, wheezing, asthma and other long irritations. Fill a jar half way with fresh flower and cover with honey. Turn the jar once a day and strain after a month. Enjoy with tea or by the spoonful daily.
Thyme infused Honey:
Thyme infused honey is lovely for coughs and it will soothe sore throat all while tasting delicious. It is a powerhouse for antivirals and can help combat bronchitis. Fill a jar half way with fresh herbs and cover with honey. Turn the jar once a day and let sit for a month and strain.
-Do not feed honey to children under the age of one year old as their digestive system is not mature enough to defend itself against Clostridium bacteria spores.
-Do not use Honey if you are allergic to any bee made products.
Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity
My name is Kaylee and I am a Believer, Wife and Mother. My family and I Homestead on a 40 acre farm in Virginia. We raise a variety of livestock, grow the majority of our own produce and keep bees as well. Along with all of this, I am in pursuit of becoming a Registered Herbalist. I have witnessed the connection of honey bees on our homestead and their relationship with the plants that not only have benefited our gardens, but our livestock as well. We document our story on youtube and welcome the excited of new beekeepers and homesteaders to learn and grow with us.
~Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and learn something grow.