Exploring the Health and Medicinal Benefits of Raw Honey
Over the years raw honey has been used in homes for many reasons. Not only is honey used for its health and medicinal benefits but it has much more value beyond health. For most African households, honey is a must have commodity in every homestead. From time immemorial, honey has had a sociocultural value in African communities, with some cultures using it as part of the dowry payments, brewing of traditional beers and as an ingredient in preparing traditional cuisines.
Mostly, honey is used for its health and medicinal purposes. Communities have for centuries relied on honey alongside other traditional remedies to treat common illnesses such as coughs, colds, flus, and gastrointestinal discomforts, as well as cleaning wounds.
Honey is more effective when applied in Its raw form since processed honey is pasteurized, hence most beneficial nutrients are altered.
Multiple studies have shown raw honey contains antioxidants, nutrients, antifungal and antibacterial properties. In contemporary times, as it was before, honey has a wide range of benefits which include healing of wounds, treating of coughs, restoring digestive process and remedying heart issues as well as administering it as an immune booster.
Since bees look for nectar in different kinds of plants, they tend to collect an array of plant chemicals that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from cell damage due to the free radicals. Free radicals can contribute to diseases such as heart conditions and cancer. The Antioxidants compound found in honey is known as polyphenols.
Phytonutrients are also compounds found in plants and protect them from harm. Phytonutrients in honey are responsible for its antioxidant properties as well as its antifungal and antibacterial power . They are also the reason raw honey has shown immune-boosting and anticancer benefits.
Raw honey nutrition varies with the honey’s origin and other surrounding factors. Honey contains smaller amounts of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and zinc. Honey is also a source of varying amounts of enzymes , amino acids and other beneficial properties.
Healing of wounds and soothing of sore throats
Honey has antimicrobial properties known as propolis and royal jelly that have health benefits for microbial inhibition and healing of wounds. Honey has been used over the years for treating sore throat and cold. A common combination is hot water, lemon, honey and sometimes with garlic and ginger, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties for helping a sore throat.
People also use raw honey to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea since it contains prebiotics which nourish the good bacteria vital to the intestines. Besides, honey possesses health benefits essential to the brain, especially helping in memory.
Although honey offers multiple health and medicinal benefits, it can Honey can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism. It is advisable not to feed honey to children younger than 12 months.
Unfortunately Kenya as a country is unable to meet the domestic demand for honey, with recent data from Kenya’s National Farmers Information Service showing that we only produce 20,000 metric tonnes of honey per year, leaving an 80% deficit, equivalent to 80,000 metric tonnes of honey needed to meet the demand in the Kenyan market.
MAMA Honey, a beekeeping project in Orus area, Baringo County, is one of the organization’s socioeconomic approaches to achieving sustainable development goals in marginalized and rural communities in Africa.
Article written by Euodia Ondisa