Raw or unpasteurised honey is best described as coming straight from the hive, it is basically sieved through mesh to rid it of beeswax and dead bees, bottled and sold. Pasteurised honey is heated to remove the yeast present; the process makes the honey smoother and helps to extend its shelf life. However it also destroys much of the nutrients found in honey.
Raw honey contains pollen, which is very nutritious and contains many vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, micronutrients and antioxidants. These antioxidants are beneficial in reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
Raw honey has been proven to be an effective treatment for Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori) bacteria, a common cause of stomach ulcers. It is also a powerful prebiotic, which means it is beneficial for gut health and nourishes the good bacteria which is crucial for digestion and overall health.
Honey is antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic. It is these properties that are believed to help heal wounds and burns as well as nourishing damaged tissue. Honey works wonders on sore throats. A spoonful taken in hot tea or water with lemon works well for colds. It will also help supress coughs and this in return can lead to improved sleep.
Eating honey has many benefits however it should be consumed in moderation. Make sure to eat raw honey if you can as pasteurised honey lacks much of the nutrients present in raw honey, and quite often contains added sugar.
Children and babies under the age of 12 months should not be given raw honey as it may contain spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinium which causes botulism, a severe cause of food poisoning which attacks the nervous system (nerves, brain and spinal cord) and causes paralysis (muscle weakness). However, botulism is very rare among healthy adults and older children. As the body ages, the gut develops enough to stop the botulinum spores from growing. Regular honey may also contain a Clostridium botulinium spore which is why it should never be given to children under the age of 12 months.
If you do experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea soon after eating raw honey, you should see your doctor immediately.