As you sit at the picnic table in your backyard, sipping sweet tea and reading a new release, your perfect picture is shattered when a bee buzzes rapidly around your head, hurling you into that all-too-familiar panic attack. “I hate bees!”, you exclaim, clumsily knocking your drink over onto your new book.
Even through my theatrical flare you’ve come to know (and love?), you know what I’m saying: our perspective of bees is negative, as though they are violent pests that exist only to ruin perfect summer days. Ah, but that general opinion is a terrible oversight!
Most importantly, there is a distinction between hornets/wasps and honeybees. While hornets and wasps live only to make us suffer (really, that’s the scientific explanation), honeybees are those adorable, bumbling pollinators and honey-makers that serve an enormous purpose.
The Benefits of Raw Honey
When I say “raw honey,” I mean honey that hasn’t been heated past pasteurization. That means all of the beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and minerals are alive and well. Honey that is rapidly heated beyond approximately 95ºF (in the microwave, for example), strips the honey of nearly all of its healing and restorative power. All commercially processed honey is pasteurized and is chemically similar to processed sugar (I guess that doesn’t make for a healthy alternative to sweetener!).
Here is a sweet sample of the effects raw honey has on our health:
- Raw honey is antibacterial and antifungal, which makes it great for gut health (eradicating bad intestinal bacteria) and healing wounds.
- The sweet stuff is filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Honey soothes a sore throat naturally.
- Consuming raw honey is believed to build immunity against pollen. Enjoying raw honey can help to ease seasonal allergy symptoms in the same way allergy shots work to calm the immune response against allergens.
- Raw honey is a healthy alternative sweetener. You can boost your digestive and immune health while sweetening your tea or treats — what more do you want?
Raw Honey & Our Planet
You’ve probably heard. On top of our many failures and disappointments as human beings (we are rich in those, aren’t we?), the crown jewel is this: the rapidly diminishing population of bees. It is understood that the bee population is fading because of 3 primary reasons: varroa mites have infested bee populations with a devastating virus, our insecticides and pesticides are obviously (too) effective, and we’ve mowed down a significant fraction of their food supply (plants and flowers!).
We need bees for pollination — how can plants and crops successfully grow without the help of our bees?
A staggering amount of bee colonies in our nation exist within beekeeper facilities. Considering that, beekeeping is essential to our bee population and, therefore, the quality of our food and life.
That means beekeeping and raw honey production are beneficial to our health immediately and in the future. What else could I say to express the profound value of it all?
As usual, the best sources of raw honey are local providers. There’s no rival to being able to see the beekeeping facility, meet the beekeepers, and become intimately familiar with their processes. Up-and-coming beekeepers, Back Mountain Honey, of Mansfield, PA, are doing the good work — sustaining bees and making raw honey. In 2018, they will host a Sponsor-a-Hive program to welcome the community’s support in their beekeeping adventure. You can go to their Facebook page for more information and the opportunity to message them directly and learn more about sponsoring a hive.
For immune support, for healthier digestion, for common colds and ailments, and for our planet, choose local raw honey. I made it through this whole piece without making a bee pun. That’s how serious I am beeing.
This is a platform to discuss and reflect on ideas, advancements, questions, and other musings. I am neither a health expert nor a member of clergy. The only authority I have to speak is my experience — I yield no degree or certification to give you medical, psychological, or religious advice. This is simply where minds come to meet and broaden.