This weekend is a national holiday, celebrating 2 Presidents birthdays. In doing research for this blog I came across an historical tidbit: President Lincoln enjoyed honey.
Honey, food of the Gods and royalty, continues to be a popular sweetener whether in a cup of tea, cakes or pies. Medicinally honey is the subject of ongoing research. Honey has been used for food and as a medicine both internally and externally for thousands of years. it is known for its antiviral, antibiotic, and antibacterial properties. For ex. new research found in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior (New Zealand), reports that dark honey in particular, raw, has potential for improving memory and reducing anxiety. It is also high in antioxidants which relieves the pressures of aging on our cells. Honey has been used to treat burns. This amazing treatment for wounds such as burns has been proven to be antiseptic, analgesic and a great debriding agent.
Honeybees, Apis melliflora, gather nectar from flowers and ingest it. Bees have 2 stomachs, one specifically for gathering nectar, often referred to as a honey sac. Back at the hive young worker bees suck it out of the forager bees. These bees mix it with their digestive enzymes. Honey is created and then these bees secrete it into honeycombs. Bees fan these combs to remove the moisture content. Nectar is about 80% water. Honey is about 14-18% water. Honey and the beeswax that from which the honeycomb is made is antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial.
This weekend try a different flavor. Many farm stands and health food stores carry local unprocessed honey. Personally I enjoy Buckwheat honey, dark and thick loaded with antioxidants. I take a ½ to 1 tsp in between meals for its health benefits. I use local, wildflower honey to add to my tea. The darker the honey the more antioxidants it seems to have. My next blog will focus on the plight of our bees. In the meantime if you use raw honey this weekend be grateful. Our honeybees are very stressed and Colony Collapse Disorder, CCD, is real.