Honey's a bit of magic you know
Jars of 'medicinal' honey change hands for more than £100. Think that's crazy? Well, listen up...
We reckon that a little bit of what you fancy does you good. After all, doesn't a little treat now and again make life seem sweeter? Honey packs a few extra benefits too, with medicinal uses that go beyond he throat-soothing spoonful we drink with lemon to fend off cold symptoms.
Archaeological evidence has long suggested that ancient civilisations used honey to dress wounds and treat burns. In fact, modern research* suggests heather honey can indeed fight back against infection, killing MRSA and three other strains of bacteria. Scientists found honey from hives in the Inverness area particularly potent. Honey is also used to treat hay fever, with sufferers recommended to ingest small doses of pollen via local honey. The hay fever sufferer can develop a tolerance of the pollen at low levels before being exposed to summer's high pollen count.
The big buzz in honey is 'manuka', made by bees that pollenate the pretty white flowers of a myrtle variety known as manuka in New Zealand and 'tea tree' in Australia. The active ingredient is antibacterial 'methylglyoxal', with larger concentrations (indicated by a complicated set of gradings) commanding increasingly astronomical prices. It's long been used in traditional remedies and field dressings, but in 2016 researchers at the University of Southampton proved that manuka honey can curb the growth of bacteria even when used at low dilutions, making it a useful cleaning agent for medical plastic and direct application for healing wounds.
All sorts of bee products have become trendy in the modern quest for 'wellness'. Bee pollen (or 'bee bread') is the name for crunchy granules of pollen that colonies feed their young bees. It's also a rich source of vitamins, though evidence is scarce that it brings health benefits to humans.
The good news is that you don't have to enter a bidding war to get your hands on local honey that will boost your health. Raw honey straight from the hive is proven to carry natural enzymes and nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet. Oh, and they'll put a smile on your face.
*conducted at the University of Glasgow in 2014