The Healthy Sweetness of Killer Bees Honey
The medicinal and beneficial properties of honey have been known for centuries. Recorded pharmaceutical use of it by the ancients goes back to 8000 BC. Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Assyrian cultures administered honey, propolis and even beeswax as a remedy for numerous ailments. Just like everything else that has a few beneficial properties, there is also a fair share of hype surrounding hive products as miracle drugs. Let’s separate fact from fiction.
- Honey has immense antibacterial properties. Honey has a low water content, but is high in sugar. This combination creates a difficult environment for bacterium to grow. Studies have shown that dozens of bacteria strains including E. coli and salmonella can be killed by the use of many varieties of honey. Staph? Our hive girls have got you covered.
- Honey is a proven antimicrobial agent. Due to a low, 3.9 pH level, honey has high acidity. It sounds counterintuitive, but on a pH scale of 1 (acid) to15 (base) with water being a neutral 7, honey has an acidity level comparable to apples. This high acidity combined with the hydrogen peroxide bees introduce into nectar was the reason Egyptians referenced it 500 out of 900 times in their medical writings.
- Honey is the ultimate high energy food. No surprise here. Via trophallaxis honeybees introduce invertase. This enzyme breaks down sucrose, a disaccharide, into glucose and fructose which are monosaccharides. This makes honey easier to digest with less energy expended to metabolize it. A tablespoon of honey has a whopping 64 calories. Gram for gram it is equivalent to any high energy drink or bar. Speaking of which, why buy faux honey energy snacks when you can easily make your own?
- Honey is filled with healthy phenolics and flavonoids. Think of honey in the same manner as any power foods such as salmon, blueberries, garlic, mustard greens and....I hate saying this, kale.
- Honey is a proven remedy for sore throats. A recent Mayo Clinic study indicated that honey mixed with warm tea and lemon juice not only soothed children's sore throats, but it inhibited coughing which resulted in better sleep. The British NHS recommends administering honey prior to using antibiotics for adults. On a personal note, The Beekeeper of KBH strongly recommends a good scotch whiskey as an extra adult ingredient for a hot toddy. Under these circumstances, the use of alcohol here is strictly for medicinal purposes.
Fiction or, the jury is still out:
- Alcohol combined with honey for medicinal purposes has no real added benefit other than as an analgesic. Whatever works for you is okay by me.
- Specific types of honey have been shown to prevent certain diseases and cancers. Possibly, but there is a long way between petri dishes and human trials.
- Honey is better than table sugar for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Due to natural enzymes, phenolics and flavonoids, it can be said that honey is healthier. But it's still a sugar and will increase your blood sugar levels, but less so than table sugar.
- Local honey is good for your allergies. Honey has been anecdotally shown to lessen seasonally allergies. Most allergists insists that honey doesn't help. Some say it can. Your call.
Other benefits of honey: it doesn't need to be refrigerated and its shelf life is unknown -Archaeologists found perfectly good honey dating back 3000 years buried in Egyptian tombs. My bet is on our honey outlasting you.