January 2, 2012

Honey Does Have Medicinal Properties

Honey is a favorite topic for me. I started keeping bees as a youngster and did for several years until college took me away. I have on occasion assisted other beekeepers in the years since. I never did need to worry about being stung, as I had no reaction to the stings other than the initial pain. I even knew how to remove the attached stinger without inserting more of the venom from the part left in my skin. I always carried the proper tool for removing them.

I admit that with the African killer bees, I would be very hesitant to get near them, even with the proper protective gear. I had the gentle Italian bees and often I would not wear protective gear when working with the hives. If I noted unusual activity or the drones were agitated, I would return to the shed where I kept the gear and become properly outfitted. When assisting other beekeepers, I always wore the protective gear and was happy to do so.

When this article appeared in WebMD, I was interested in reading it. For those that have never been around honeybees, please take time to read the article as it does cover some history and medical facts. The medicinal properties have been verified and while some people believe honey has more medicinal value than affirmed in the article, this is clearly not the case.

Please heed the warning about keeping honey away from infants. The botulism risk is real and young children are not capable of overcoming it. This is true for all forms of honey, even highly processed honey, but especially raw honey.

Honey is well known for its power in wound healing and skin ulcers. New Zealand has a product that has been FDA approved called Medihoney, which the FDA approved in 2007 for use in treating wounds and skin ulcers. Other types of honey are also used for wound healing, but seem less effective. They still aid in healing.

There has also been some studies done in the area of cough suppressants, but this is not as conclusive. “Maryland family doctor Ariane Cometa, MD, who describes herself as a holistic practitioner, likes to use a buckwheat honey-based syrup to ease early symptoms of a cold. She says it calms inflamed membranes and eases a cough -- the latter claim supported by a few studies.”

Beyond this, honey is a good food, which people with diabetes must use in limited amounts to avoid hyperglycemia. I still enjoy honey from a local beekeeper, but a jar lasts a lot longer and near the end needs to be warmed to melt the sugaring that takes place. There are some minerals and vitamins and antioxidant properties in honey. The darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants, however, I would not rely on this source as honey has more calories and carbohydrates than the same quantity of table sugar.

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