Raw honey is one of the most versatile natural products out there! Use it in your food or on your face – the benefits of honey are manifold. However, with the increasing popularity and demand for honey, the market is flooded with sugar syrups disguised as honey, adulterated versions and even heavily processed forms of honey – all of which completely negate the benefits associated with this natural sweetener.
The real benefits of honey are in its natural and raw form- which is pretty hard to find these days, unless you probably go hunting for a local beekeeper! Raw honey has multiple uses and benefits – it’s a natural remedy for a sore throat, it aids in healing minor cuts and burns, it’s a memory booster, it helps with gum disease, it helps you sleep better at night, it works for both skin and hair care etc.
It’s important to understand the basic distinction between raw honey and processed honey to know why raw honey is the way is to go.
Raw honey is the form of honey that is taken from honey combs and bottled as is, with perhaps just a round of basic straining to remove any foreign particles or dirt in it. This form of honey contains a certain amount of pollen and propolis – which is a kind of glue created by honeybees to seal gaps in their hives. Propolis is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory element and is often used in traditional medicine and cosmetics. Bee pollen is rich in vitamins and minerals and is said to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal – the pollen found in honey is even said to work as a natural remedy (a vaccine of sorts) for people who suffer from seasonal pollen allergies. This is something worth exploring with your doctor if you do suffer from pollen allergies, since it’s a completely natural remedy!
On the other hand, processed honey (which is what you will usually find in the market) is typically filtered, pasteurized or even chemically refined – the process of filtration and the excessive heat used while treating the honey destroys most of it’s nutrients– including the inherent pollen and propolis. The end product of processed honey is a golden, translucent syrup – which is said to be visually more appealing and commercially sustainable, even though it’s key nutrients are lost in the process. There’s a pretty interesting documentary on Netflix that examines the crisis of adulteration of honey– check out Episode 1 of Rotten. Click Here to watch the trailer of Rotten on Netflix.
The good news is that there are clean labels out there who have the same concerns as we do about the adulteration of honey. We recently discovered Honey & Spice- a brand that specializes in exclusively procuring and selling pure, raw, unadulterated honey. They clearly describe where they source their honey from and give a description of what to expect in terms of flavour and consistency. We tried the wild honey (sourced from beehives located in various forests in India) and the rosewood honey (sourced from rosewood/ shesham plantations in North India). The wild honey tastes like regular honey and works well in warm water or tea. The rosewood honey, on the other hand, is thicker in consistency and has a distinct floral flavour to it. This one is perfect to top over hot buttered toast or vanilla yoghurt.
Honey & Spice also sell some of their honey with the honeycomb in it, or even just the honeycomb separately! This is rare to find in the market and is something we plan to try soon. Currently, these are our top 5 favourite ways of using the raw honey by Honey & Spice:
(1)Eating a spoon straight from the jar!
(2)Adding a spoonful to smoothies;
(3)Mixing some in warm milk (along with a pinch of turmeric) before sleeping;
(4)Adding a dash of it to face-packs; and
(5)Pouring some over hot buttered toast and sprinkling some cinnamon on top.
Raw, unadulterated honey
To reap the maximum health benefits associated with honey