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Raw Honey - The difference between raw honey and pure honey

Raw honey is a form of honey that is unprocessed, unpasteurized and dripping with benefits. It is honey that comes straight from the bee farm and is delicious in the most natural way. 

Not only is it tasty, this golden delicacy is filled with beneficial nutrients that helps combat human illnesses, heal wounds, act as an antibacterial and antifungal agent and can be used as a treatment for acne.

Knowing the difference between raw honey and pure honey would help you to choose your honey wisely. Through this article, you would not only be able to tell whether honey is raw or not by just looking at it but also by the taste of it. 

What is raw honey?

Raw honey as many would describe, is the honey that comes directly from beehives. It is considered one of the most beneficial forms of honey you can make use of. Raw honey does not go through any type of processing or heating apart from the beekeepers straining it lightly to remove any type of impurities. Beekeepers would naturally pour out the honey over nylon or mesh cloth to help ease the process of straining.

Raw honey comes with a lot of benefits and contains a list of nutritional values. Almost all types of raw honey contain enzymes, amino acids, organic acids, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, polyphenols (phenolic compounds) and Maillard reaction products that have proven to be beneficial in fighting against human diseases.

There are also different types of raw honey that are harvested in Malaysia that might be of interest to you.Among the many would be Trigona Honey or locally known in Malaysia as Kelulut Honey. It is a type of honey that is produced by a rare species of stingless Trigona Itama and Trigona Thoracica bees.

Raw honey can sometimes be confused with organic honey because their appearance is almost similar. The difference you should note between raw honey and organic honey is that raw honey is not pasteurized or filtered. It is honey that crystallizes easily due to the high pollen content. 

Organic honey is honey that is harvested by bees that take the nectar from unpolluted flowers and is free of any type of chemical and antibiotics. To be a bee farm that is certified for producing organic honey, the beehive would have to be located 5 to 8 miles away from any type of artificial chemical source such as factories or houses. The flowers would have to be free of pesticides and other added chemicals.

Raw Honey vs Pure Honey

It is easy for you to distinguish between raw honey and pure honey. Looking at the labels will be of great help when identifying the honey as  raw or pure. It is usually stated on the label. 

Apart from that, raw honey is unprocessed honey that has only undergone light filtration. Raw honey is unheated and unpasteurized, which retains its natural sweetness. Pure honey on the other hand, undergoes a heating process to remove any kind of impurities and smoothen the texture. However, no additives are added into the honey, be it artificial or natural.

Corn syrup, sugar or flavourings are considered to be additives in this sense. Depending on the type of flower the bees obtain their honey from, the honey may be labeled as clover or raspberry honey.

Another distinguishing factor between raw and pure honey is the colour. Raw honey is generally opaque or cloudier due to the fact that it comes straight from the honeycombs. Pure honey takes on a clearer and golden colour because of the pasteurization process that kills the yeast cells in the honey and it also helps to increase the honey’s shelf life. 

Despite the differences, raw and pure honey both have medicinal properties. Both types of honey are a good source of antioxidants, antibacterial, antifungal, help with digestive issues and soothe the sore throat. Of course, raw honey comes with an extra component which is propolis, a component in honey that helps with healing.

How can you tell if honey is raw? 

The most notable difference would be the colour of the honey. Look carefully whether the honey has a cloudier and yellow appearance, this is the significant indicator to whether the honey is raw or pure.

The top layer of the honey can also be used as an indicator. Raw honey usually contains a thick crust at the top that is considered to be full of healthy propolis. They usually look like a thick crust of brown pellets on top of the honey. Another way to tell if the honey is raw or processed is the layers in the honey. Raw honey usually settles down in layers - the top layer being the tan pallets, a golden clear middle layer and the bottom would usually be opaque.

The taste of raw honey is also significantly different from pure honey. Raw honey has a creamier texture compared to pure honey.

The crystallization of the honey is another indicator of it being raw honey and can be reversed by placing the honey in hot water but make sure that the temperature is not too high or it will cause the raw honey to lose its healthy nutrients.

What is raw unprocessed honey?

Raw unprocessed honey is honey that is not filtered and has not been heated.

Filtering means the process whereby small particles (even those as small as pollen) are removed from the honey. Usually when this process is done, the honey is heated ,thus losing the ‘rawness’ of the honey.

Unprocessed honey is honey that is taken straight from the honey extractor and has not been touched at all. It is best to get the produce straight from the farm as one can be sure that the honey has not been tampered with and is straight from the honeycomb.

Raw unprocessed honey is the type of honey that is filled with medicinal properties the most. Since it is unprocessed and raw, the honey would be filled with propolis, bee pollen, bits and pieces of honeycombs and different types of active enzymes that are beneficial to combating certain diseases.

Raw Honey Benefits - What is raw honey good for?

There is a list of benefits when it comes to raw honey. One can not only benefit from raw honey by consuming it internally but it is also beneficial when used externally.

Honey is a great remedy for illnesses. Honey lemon is a favourite go to remedy for those who suffer sore throat, cold, cough and indigestion. Honey not only acts as a natural medicine but it also helps to soothe the pain and inflammation caused by these illnesses. For these kinds of issues, two teaspoons of honey mixed with lemon water is the best combination.

Linden honey is a type of honey that is widely used to treat coughs, sore throats and rhinitis. It is known to have a woody, and fresh and pharmacy-like scent and tastes somewhere between medium sweetness to light bitterness. Linden honey is considered to be the best choice when it comes to treating coughs. Honey is also used as a natural sweetener and a great source of antioxidants.

For external use, raw honey can be used to heal wounds. Manuka honey is a go to for honey lovers in this case. Studies have shown that Manuka honey can not only reduce infection but also boosts healing time. The best Manuka honey that one can easily get their hands on can be found at Nature’s Farm. They have a wide variety of Manuka honey that is not only delicious but beneficial.

Honey can also be used as a treatment for the skin and face. Unpasteurized honey such as Manuka honey is a good option to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. When applied to skin, the honey will help to activate one’s immune system thus helping with the inflammation and redness.

Honey can also help to reduce acne on the face as well. Apart from these, honey is also used for skin lightening, brightening and scar fading. Before applying honey to skin, it is best to do a patch test to make sure one is not allergic to the contents of raw honey such as pollen and bee venom.

Raw honey is also used when one is trying to lose weight or for a good night's sleep. Honey when mixed with cinnamon water can help one lose weight with ease especially the belly fat that seems to be a headache to lose. It is suggested you drink this combination between meals, as a pre-workout drink and before going to bed as it can help to curb not only an unhealthy desire for junk food but also midnight hunger episodes.

A teaspoon of honey before bed helps one sleep well. Honey’s natural sugar helps to elevate insulin in the body that allows tryptophan to enter the brain and prevents crisis triggers from the brain as it restocks the liver as well with glycogen. It makes for a great remedy when looking forward to a good night of sleep.

Is it safe to eat raw honey?

Raw honey is great for consumption. In fact, it is a better option compared to those that have been processed or filled with additives. Not only is it free from  any preservatives, it is also good because of the healthy benefits it comes with. Raw honey contains a wide variety of nutrients. Since raw honey does not undergo any type of processing, this allows the honey to retain its benefits which can be used to prevent inflammation, heart disease and stroke.

However, just like any other product, raw honey should be consumed in moderation. Since it is high in sugar and calorie content, it can lead to side effects on one’s health.

Generally, it is safe for consumption. However it should not be given to children below one year old. Raw honey may contain bacteria that are called Clostridium botulinum and it may cause botulism, a rare type of food poisoning. Hence, it is unsafe for children below one year old as they are unable to process the bacteria well. 

It is best to be sure that one is not by any chance allergic to raw honey before ingesting it. Honey is known to be a potential allergenic food that can trigger allergy reactions from something as simple as coughs or something as severe as anaphylaxis.

Since raw honey is not processed or filtered, there will be remnants of pollen in the honey. Those who are allergic to pollen will also be allergic to honey since honey contains pollen. It is best to refrain from ingesting honey if you are allergic to it. 

There are certain things that one should avoid doing to honey.Raw honey has quite a long shelf-life. However, when left out in the open, unsealed and in a humid environment, the honey can and will go bad. It is best kept in a cool space and tightly sealed to prevent it from going bad. Never, ever add water to honey because that will not only ruin the taste of honey but it will also remove any benefits the honey may come with. 

Conclusion

Raw Honey is a golden delicacy that is overflowing with many nutritious and wonderful benefits. It not only can be used as a disinfectant but also in varying other ways to make your skin glow from the inside out.

Raw honey is also not easy to come by but it can be purchased directly from stores that do sell raw honey. It is best to do some research on trusted brands such as Nature’s Farm where you can buy online. They are well known for Manuka Honey as it is their number one product.

 

References

Eteraf-Oskouei, T., & Najafi, M. (2013). Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences, 16(6), 731. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/ [Accessed 15 Jun 2020]

Gan, Z., Yang, Y., Li, J., Wen, X., Zhu, M., Jiang, Y., & Ni, Y. (2016). Using sensor and spectral analysis to classify botanical origin and determine adulteration of raw honey. Journal of Food Engineering, 178, 151-158. [Online] Available at: https://www.umf.org.nz/wp-content/myimages/2017/02/PUBLI_2016_B200_Honey_Botanical_Origin_Adulteration.pdf [Accessed 15 Jun 2020]

Ajibola, A. (2015). Novel insights into the health importance of natural honey. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS, 22(5), 7. [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
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