I believe the best labs can create synthetic liquids that look and taste like real honey and even have the same glucose-fructose molecular structure, but NEVER can they fake something that works the same as real honey for our health and well-being. Because the bees have added a MYSTERIOUS GOODNESS of their own that can never be comprehended by the most ingenious mind or counterfeited by the most advanced technology ~ Ruth Tan
If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that I love honey and we had our own adventures in beekeeping last season - if you missed the post you can see it here. Did you know that not all honey that is available to you is the same? There is raw honey and processed honey and they are as different from each other as night and day.
Honey, raw honey that is, is full of phytonutrients, vitamins and enzymes that have health benefits. It is a life-giving food source that also happens to contain pollen and even propolysis which has anti-microbial properties. There is an abundance of friendly bacteria which add to the health benefits and it can even help with wound healing.
On the other hand, processed honey has been heated, watered down and forced through filters at high pressure to remove all the pollen. The heating kills the nutrients, vitamins and enzymes too. The difference between processed honey and raw honey can be compared nutritionally to the difference between eating extra soft, squishy white bread versus a dense loaf of bread made with whole wheat. The processed honey is devoid of nutrients and the raw honey is full of nutrients.
Unfortunately, much of the honey that is readily available at your local grocer is of the processed kind. So avoid it and seek out a friendly beekeeper in your area to get raw honey or have a hive or two yourself!
There are some ways to tell if the honey you have in the cupboard right now is processed. Here are some tips from The Permaculture Research Institute:
- The Thumb Test: Put a drop of honey on your thumb
- Does it spread around? If yes, processed
- Does it stay intact? If yes, raw
- The Water Test: Fill a glass with water and add a tablespoon of your honey
- Does it dissolve? If yes, processed
- Does it settle in the bottom of the glass? If yes, raw
- The Shelf Life Test:
- Did it crystallize? If yes, processed
- Did it stay more like syrup? If yes, raw
- Light a Fire: Dip the tip of a match in the honey and then try to light it
- If it won't light - processed
- If it lights and burns - raw
As promised, I wanted to share a recipe for cough syrup made with honey and herbs that is an adaptation of the recipe that came in my Homegrown Collective January Greenbox.
Remember that coughing does serve a purpose to clear mucus but when the cough is disruptive of sleep, for example, assistance to suppress coughing may be useful. Always seek medical attention for coughs accompanied by shortness of breath or high fever. Also seek medical attention for coughs that persist. I am not a physician and do not intend this recipe to replace medical treatments. Please use the same discretion you would use in any other over-the-counter cough products.
Homemade Cough Syrup
1 quart of water
1/4 cup dried echinacea root
1/4 cup dried St. John's wort
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 crushed cinnamon stick
juice from one lemon
1 cup of raw honey
- Combine the water, echinacea, St. John's wort, ginger and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Simmer over low heat until liquid is reduced by half.
- Strain the liquid through a strainer to remove the herbs. Compost the herbs.
- Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the lemon juice and honey. Warm the liquid over very low heat until the mixture blends together. Do not heat too much or you will destroy the benefit of the honey.
- Transfer to jar, label and refrigerate.
- Honey: according to the Mayo Clinic, honey may be as effective as over-the-counter cough suppressants
- Lemon: helps with congestion
- Cinnamon: has anti-bacterial properties
- Ginger: is an anti-inflammatory and can help body aches; also boosts the immune system
- St. John's Wort: has anti-viral properties
- Echinacea: boosts the immune system
What are some ways you use the "MYSTERIOUS GOODNESS" of real, raw honey? I would love to hear your comments. Thank you so much for visiting today.
Tomorrow is our visit to the Garden Gate and I share my favorite herbal teas to make as well as how to make your own tea bags. I hope to see you then.
Peace be with you,
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