Recently my husband and I stopped in a shop close to St. Stephens for a jar of honey. The man we visited annually, Mr. D.C. Rice, passed away in 2020 and after reminiscing with his wife about his love and passion for bees I wanted to extol the benefits of honey in his honor.
Honeybees visit flower blossoms daily, pollinating plants and collecting nectar to make honey. Thankfully they make more honey than they need and beekeepers collect it and bottle it for lucky humans. There are many beekeepers around the Pee Dee and while many people avoid added sweets, natural honey can be used in small amounts to flavor foods and for health benefits. Here are 5 top benefits of using honey:
- Topically certain types such as Manuka honey are used to heal wounds. Manuka honey is manufactured in New Zealand and in 2007, the FDA approved Medihoney for treating wounds and skin ulcers. Lately, I’ve seen it recommended as a face wash to improve acne and make skin smooth.
- Relieves cough and cold symptoms – honey calms inflamed membranes and the World Health Organization recommends honey and lemon in tea for relief of cough in children.
- Honey has antibacterial and antibacterial properties and may help fight infections.
- May help relieve acid reflux by reducing upward flow of stomach acid and helps coat the lining of the esophagus and stomach
- May help reduce diarrhea by promoting healthy bacteria in the gut
Usual dosage of honey is 1 tsp. and up to 1Tbs. per 8 oz. warm water or tea. Honey is not recommended for children under 12 months of age. While it has health benefits honey is an added sugar and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp. added sugar for women and 9 tsp. for men per day. Calorie and carbohydrate content it is similar to white or brown sugar – about 60 calories and 15 g carbohydrate per tablespoon. Darker colored honey tends to have more antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.
The National Honey Board reports that honey bees, beekeepers and the honey industry are direct contributors to the success of American agriculture. Today, the honey industry faces many challenges, such as hive loss, drought, colony collapse and shrinking forage areas. Here are a few ways you can help the honeybees:
- Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard.
- Reduce or limit the use of chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden while plants are in bloom.
- Bees are thirsty. Put a shallow basin of fresh water with marbles or rocks in it for the bees to land on outside your home.
- Learn how or visit a beekeeper with sustainable practices.
- Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect and promote honey bees and other pollinators.
If you’re looking for a little sweetness a bit of local honey is delicious and nutritious!