November 11, 2016
Honey can be found in almost 80% of US pantries as more and more Americans are adding honey into their everyday diet with over half of us using honey in their tea. When you consider that honey has many antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, this is perfectly understandable.
Not only is honey a delicious sweetener for tea, but honey has healing benefits which have been known for thousands of years. Dioscorides, the great Greek physician and pharmacist is attributed to saying, honey is good for sunburn and spots on the face and for all rotten and hollow ulcers. Honey heals inflammation of the throat and tonsils, and cures coughs. As it turns out, Dioscorides was on to something way back in c 60 AD!
Dioscorides wasn’t the only one, Hippocrates prescribed honey to be taken daily for health. Aristotle advised using honey as a salve for wounds and sore eyes. The Romans used honey to cure pneumonia, pleurisy and snake bites. The Mayans used honey for treatment of cataracts. The healing properties of honey are mentioned in the Old Testament, the Koran and ancient Chinese medicine texts. We were still using honey in the trenches in World War 1 but the therapeutic benefits of honey got pushed aside with the advent and wide spread use of man-made antibiotics in the 1960s.
While adding honey to tea is an excellent idea it is essential that you use a specific type of honey, namely Belixir Manuka Drinking Honey. Let me explain why.
To understand the antibacterial nature of honey, first you need to understand how honey is made.
The first part of the process is when the bee visits the flower and sucks up the nectar, which then goes into their honey stomach. Once inside the bee’s stomach the nectar is broken down by the bees enzymes and stored in wax combs inside the hive. The bees then fan their honey with their wings to dehydrate it.
Different plants produce slightly different nectar, and nectar being the main ingredient in honey means different flowers will produce different types of honey.
Recently it has been discovered that in the process of the glucose from the nectar being broken down by the bees' enzymes that hydrogen peroxide is created which is what gives most raw honey antibacterial properties. Some pollens negate this effect a little but most quality raw honey contains hydrogen peroxide.
Honey is also extremely low in water and highly acidic, both conditions are a hostile environment for bacteria. So that's why most honey is considered antibacterial.
The reason why manuka honey is hailed as the high antibacterial honey is because in addition to the hydrogen peroxide which comes from the bees enzymes, manuka honey also contains an aditional and much stronger antibacterial component that comes specifically from the manuka flower. This type of antibacterial activity is called non-peroxide activity or NPA for short. The non-peroxide activity of manuka honey is made up of three components: Methygloxal (or MG for short), dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and Leptosperin.
Of these three components, MG is the major antibacterial component in manuka honey. The MG rating system measures how many milligrams of MG are present in 1 kilo of honey. For example, MG 83 contains 83 mg of methylgloxal per kilo of that honey. The greater the amount of MG in the honey, the greater the level of anti-bacterial activity.
So you've been told not to use honey in hot tea because it kills the antibacterial properties, right? Well, this is where the story gets interesting. Hydrogen peroxide, the antibacterial component of most quality raw honeys does die in heat and light. So yes, most honey, in a cup of hot water will lose it's antibacterial qualities.
MG which is the antibacterial component unique to manuka honey is both heat and light stable - meaning the special, high antibacterial properties of manuka honey don't die in tea the same way that hydrogen peroxide found in other honey does. Hence, manuka honey is the ideal drinking honey.
Belixir Manuka Drinking Honey is new to the USA market and we're proud to be the only company in the USA offering this fabulous manuka honey. We offer MG 83 (UMF 5+), MG 500 (UMF 15+) and MG 820 (UMF 20+) in 250gm jars. Click here to purchase. Click here for a table of how the UMF and MG rating systems compare for MG content.
Let us know if you found this article interesting and beneficial, or if you have any other honey related questions.
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