Throughout history honey has been used as an energy source, for trading, and wound dressing. Due to it's high acidity and high sugar content, bacteria cannot survive in honey, making it essentially have no expiration date. Researchers have found honey in ancient Egyption pyramids that could still be eaten after 2000 years. Honey is a sweet tasting delicacy produced by the bees. High in natural sugars, it is a great source of energy. All honey also contains concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, giving it antimicrobial properties to help with wound healing.
Bees need two foods to survive; honey and pollen. The bees will travel from flower to flower, sucking up the nectar. They will then return to the hive, where the nectar is passed from bee to bee. This reduces the moisture content, creating the sticky texture we see. The honey is then stored in the comb and capped off with wax. It takes roughly 500 worker bees 4 weeks to make 1kg of honey .
The nectar from different trees provides the unique flavours and colours of honey. The sweetness comes from the various concentrations of glucose, fructose and sucrose. As a general rule, stronger honey flavours are attributed to the darkness of the honey.
Some general benefits of honey include: inhibits growth of up to 60 strains of bacteria, accelerates wound healing when applied with a dressing, and anti-inflammatory effects .
Honey can be included into many dishes to sweeten up the taste. It is a great ingredient in baking and desserts, as heated honey can create a caramelizing layer. However, heating honey up to temperatures greater than 35°C will destroy the enzymes and decrease the medicinal benefits of the honey.
Due to its large quantity of glucose, crystallization of honey is a natural process. Crystallization will turn the honey solid, and make it appear white. To regain its liquid form, gently heat the honey under the sun until it becomes clear and runny.
ABOUT JELLY BUSH HONEY
Jelly Bush honey, also known as Manuka honey in New Zealand, comes from the Leptospermum species of trees. Contrary to popular belief, Leptospermum trees are endemic to both Australia and New Zealand. While New Zealand Manuka honey comes from only one variety of Leptospermum (L. Scoparium), current research by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIDRC) has indicated Australia contain over 80 varieties. Our Jelly Bush honey is mainly produced from the L. Polygalifolium species. The honey produced from these trees contains many medicinal benefits that is greater than regular raw honey, such as antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Clinical studies have shown that Jelly Bush honey can accelerate wound healing , prevent post-op infections, and high strength Jelly Bush can even kill MRSA . People have also found Jelly Bush honey to be an effective preventative option for acne.
With over 80 varieties of Leptospermum in Australia, it is important to note that the species can come in a wide range of anti-bacterial strength. Some species are of higher activity, while some can be non-active at all. The strength of these properties are characterised by the methylglyoxal (MGO) compound found in the honey. It is important to look for this rating as some Jelly Bush honey can have an insignificant amount of MGO (<30) needed for effective treatment. Other ratings such as Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), trademarked in New Zealand, and Non-peroxide Activity (NPA) are also indicative of the strength of Jelly Bush honey.
As advised by the University of Technology Sydney, a rating above UMF 10+ / MGO263+ is considered therapeutic.
The amount of MGO present in the honey will also increase over time. This is why you see a + sign at the end of the MGO label. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) present in the honey will be converted into MGO over a period of 2 years. The more DHA present, the higher the MGO will increase. During this 2 year period, it is best to store the honey at a temperature between 15°C-22°C, as this will promote the fastest conversion of DHA. After the honey has fully matured, store the honey at 4°C to maintain its MGO levels. The MGO levels will be stable for approximately 7 years if stored correctly.
Although Jelly Bush honey may be taken orally, it can lose the antibacterial properties due to the high acidity in the stomach. As honey is hygroscopic (absorbs water), it is best applied as a topical solution directly onto the skin and/or wound.
Bees naturally produce wax by eating honey. Glands in the bees abdominal segment will convert the honey into beeswax, which is then used to make the honeycomb structure. Humans have historically used the beeswax for many purposes: such as candle making, for trading and dentistry. Although swallowing and chewing beeswax can be of great benefit, some people are inclined to spit out the wax due to its similar texture to chewing gum. However, if swallowed, it can act as roughage and aid the digestive system even with its low nutriional value.
Beeswax is great candle material due to the fact it can burn longer and brighter. It will also emit negative ions, attracting the positive ions (dust, toxins, mold), purifying the surrounding air. The fragrance of honey and their nectar is also translated into the beeswax.
Some applications of beeswax include:
- Lip balms
- Rust prevention
Honeycomb is a wax structure that bees use to store their honey, pollen and larvae. Each cell has a hexagon-shaped structure, which provides the highest volume with the least materials used. A common question we get asked is whether honeycomb is edible, and the answer is yes. It is usually served as an addition to desserts, but can also be eaten by itself. The wax itself has a chewing-gum like texture, which is not enjoyed by all. If swallowed, although the wax in the honeycomb provides little to no nutritional benefit, it will act as roughage to aid in digestion.
ABOUT BEE POLLEN
WARNING: Some people may be allergic to bee pollen. If you are allergic to bees or pollen, it is best to avoid bee pollen.
Bee pollen is described as nature's superfood, containing nearly all nutrients needed by humans. The bees collect pollen from flowers using special traps on their legs. It is then stored in the honeycomb cells and used to feed the young bees. Since it is rich in protein, only a tablespoon of bee pollen is needed daily.
Benefits of bee pollen include being a natural anti-histamine and promote wound healing. It also helps reduce stress levels , protects against liver toxicity , and contain antimicrobial characteristics.
People have described the taste of pollen to be sweet and nutty; some even compared it to matcha. It is best stored in the pantry, away from direct sunlight.
Propolis is a form of tree resin the bees collect and bring back to the hive. It is known as 'bee glue' in the beekeeping world, due to its natural sticky texture. The bees will use propolis to seal unwanted entrances to the hive, as a disinfectant for pathogens, and thermal insulation. The chemical composition of propolis is dependent on the location and the environmental surroundings.
Propolis for humans can be found in many forms; such as in capsule form, tinctures, oils, and raw. It can either by ingested orally, or applied topically onto the skin. Raw propolis can be used by chewing for oral health, producing capsules, and to make teas for general well-being.
Propolis contains many polyphenols and flavinoids that are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant. Studies have shown that it can help improve gastrointestinal disorders, maintain oral and gynecological health, and aid in the death of cancer cells.
On labels for propolis tinctures, you will find a strength rating for propolis. A 20% strength rating means it will contain 200mg or propolis per ml of alcohol. 30% is the highest strength deemed safe by the UN. This is because propolis may cause allergic reactions in some people. When finding out which strength is best for you, it is best to talk to a doctor or your local beekeeper.
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