Honey

Honey is good for you, miles better than sugar. Naturally produced, raw unheated, unrefined honey with the pollen unfiltered has vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants aplenty. Most honey is significantly antibacterial.Some people swear by it to help them with seasonal allergies. It tastes good. Take your pick from any of that

I’d like to mention Manuka Honey as it seems popular with cancer sufferers

Manuka is honey produced from a particular little bush that grows in New Zealand (and Australia….but that is a whole different story)

For years it was despised by beekeepers as it was difficult to extract and tasted absolutely horrid. Beekeepers avoided putting their bees anywhere near where the weed grew naturally. Then somebody discovered that it had antibacterial properties, especially as a salve or wound dressing, and the rest is history. 


It has become ridiculously expensive and on the back of the boom, hive thefts, vandalism and poisonings have become standard fare, with countless beekeepers victims of one or more serious crimes. Verbal threats and physical beatings have also been reported and there are unconfirmed reports that beekeepers now travel in packs for protection to work remote hives.

This is an article from 2016. The situation has undoubtedly worsened since then. 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/04/manuka-honey-wars-new-zealand-crime-booming-industry-poisoning-beatings

The smaller concerns and hobbyists position honey hives, hidden in nooks and crannies, close to the plants so that they can market their honey as “manuka” and sell it for triple the price of standard clover honey, even if the active manuka content is so low as to be negligible.

A disturbing fact has come to light that every year there is more Manuka sold just in Europe, (never mind the rest of the world especially China which buys more than any other country), than is produced in the whole of New Zealand in one year. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/the-manuka-honey-scandal-9577344.html

The darker side of this is that much Manuka is counterfeit. 

New Zealand produces about 1,700 tons of manuka honey in a season, the UK consumes 1,800 yet 10,000 tons are sold annually world-wide. It’s scary, I know, but do the maths on that and 4 out of 5 jars of Manuka honey are not the real thing.

I have a friend who spotted a jar of “Manuka” for £3.00!!!!!!!

New Zealand has developed a grading system called the “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF). The higher the UMF the more Manuka in your jar……supposedly. Honey is adulterated with sugar, corn syrup or rice syrup and as fast as tests are developed to spot this the counterfeiters develop ways round them.

Now there is a way round this….and here I am mighty mighty biased because I keep bees.

Buy raw honey produced by your local beekeeper because this honey will beat Manuka hands down every time. It’s pure, unadulterated, has similar if not better antibacterial properties and tastes bloody good!

The use of traditional medicine to treat infection has been practiced since the origin of mankind, and honey produced by Apis mellifera, the honey bee, is one of the oldest traditional medicines considered to be important in the treatment of several human ailments. Currently, many researchers have reported the antibacterial activity of honey and found that natural unheated honey has some broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. In most ancient cultures honey has been used for both nutritional and medical purposes

Raw honey contains copious amounts of compounds such as flavonoids and other polyphenols which may function as antioxidants.

These lovely little facts apply to a lot of “artisan” produced honey.

I keep six hives in the middle of rural West Wales. I take only what the bees have spare.

It’s a crop free area. All we grow are hedgerows, trees and fields full of flowers, sheep and cows; not a pesticide in sight. I know exactly what’s in my honey depending what time of year I take it off the bees. In the spring the honey is dark and mellow. The bees have fed on fruit trees, Sycamore, Dandelions that pepper the surrounding pastures and the Hawthorn that dots the uncut hedgerows like marshmallows. They often don’t have much spring gold to spare and sometimes none at all. In summer the honey is pale and delicately scented and comes from Clover and Bramble. It all tastes gorgeous.

If you say you don’t like honey I’ll send anybody a little jar of the proper stuff free to prove you wrong.

Published by Dani Akrigg

I'm 68 in 2019. Retired Veterinary Surgeon

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