Conventional honey has been processed to prolong its shelf life and improve its appearance, and although research has shown that this honey does contain some health benefits, many of the phytonutrients found in raw honey as it exists in the hive, are largely removed through this processing.
Raw honey, for example, contains small amounts of the same resins found in propolis. propolis is a complex mixture of resins and other substances that honeybees use to seal the hive and protect it from bacteria and other micro-organisms. Honeybees make propolis by combining plant resins with their own secretions. This substance has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. This is also why raw honey never grows mold or goes off.
Other phytonutrients found both in honey and propolis have been shown to posssess cancer-preventing and anti-tumor properties. These substances include caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate. Researchers have discovered that these substances prevent colon cancer in animals by shutting down activity of two enzymes, phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C and lipoxygenase. A 1992 study published in Chemical-Biological Interactions found that caffeic acid esters (the substances which give propolis a sharp taste like cinnamon) had strong anticancer characteristics when tested on colon cancer cells.
Raw honey also contains bee pollen, which many nutritional experts refer to as a potent superfood. Among bee pollen's many benefits are allergy relief, detoxification and anti-cancer properties. A study in the Journal of the National cancer Institute in 1948 reported that bee pollen fed to rats halted the proliferation of cancerous tumors.
The pollen present in unfiltered honey is also thought to provide relief to allergy sufferers, such as hayfever. Eating honey from local hives is particularly beneficial, as the bees feed on the plants that trigger those specific allergies.
Raw honey is one of the richest natural sources of amylase, an enzyme which facilitates the proper digestion of carbohydrates. This essential enzyme is lost the moment honey is heated, since amylase converts to starch when exposed to heat.
Tips for Using Raw Honey
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