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Getting Raw With Honey

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Honey, yes honey. No, not your sweetheart -- the one you adore and want to spend the rest of your life with. Rather, the honey that is produced from the busy bees.

Today, if you go into any store, you will find many varieties on the shelf. Red Clover Honey, Orange Blossoms, Greek Honey, Ginger Honey, Pine Tree Honey -- the variety is endless.

Some facts about honey:

Honey is a common sweetener with health benefits and is considered to be a more healthful energy food. It contains some B vitamins, Vitamin C, D and E, as well as traces of minerals. Honey is actually sterile. Germs do not really grow well in honey. As long it is raw honey. Raw honey, when applied topically, speeds the healing of tissues damaged by infection and (or) trauma.

Raw honey has been used in medicine for centuries. Russian surgeons, prior to the advent of antibiotics, applied raw honey to wounds after surgery, finding that infection was curbed and the rate of healing increased. They used raw honey to draw pus out of wounds and applied it to infected tissues, such as boils and cysts, successfully eradicating these infections.

Well, did you know that the honey in Europe is not pasteurized? Yet, in the U.S. it is. Pasteurization kills all of the enzymes that aid in the healing functions of honey. Hence, using pasteurized (cooked or heated) honey means you're using honey that has lost its natural, desirable healing properties, as mentioned above, but also in healing facial masks.

And what is creamed (whipped) honey? Honey that is processed to control crystallization. Small crystals prevent the formation of larger crystals that occur in unprocessed honey. This is accomplished by mixing 90 percent pasteurized honey with 10 percent whipped honey.

Thus, raw honey has benefits that pasteurized honey doesn't have. So, if you consume honey, the choice will be yours between raw or pasteurized honey.

For me, though, if I buy honey, it will be raw honey. And raw honey only. That, by the way, can be a great Valentine's Day gift.

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