“My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste.” Proverbs 24:13

Man has been eating honey as long as man has been. It probably took the first gathers some painful trial and error lessons before they learned how to get it without being turned into a pincushion.

Now we can just go to the store or a farmer’s market, maybe have a friend who shares, or is lucky like me and has a son with beehives.

Honey was revered by the ancient Egyptians for its proven medicinal uses. It’s great for wounds, cuts, and burns due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. In its raw state, as the bees make it, it’s jam-packed with nutrients. Young king Tutankhamen (Tut) even had some in his tomb to take with him to the afterlife. Honey found in such tombs is still good today. (If honey crystallizes, simply put in a pot of warm, not hot, water. It will reconstitute.)

Is what you buy at the store 100% honey or even honey at all? Even if it says: “Contain 100% honey” bottlers are allowed to use that phrase even if they only add even a small amount of “100% honey.”

Some will have added corn syrup, HFCS, or other ingredients. Indeed, China makes “honey” with no honey at all. They mix things like HRCS, beet sugar and such and ship to places like Canada in large barrels where it’s put up in jars and labeled with phrases like “Bottled by so and so” with a Canadian address, giving the impression its real honey from Canada. (Beekeepers call it “funny honey.” It hurts the honest industry and is devoid of anything healthy.)

Honey not only disinfects surface wounds but takes the sting out of stings. My daughter, when she was 4, was strung just above her lip. It quickly turned red and started to swell to the tune of cries from my little girl. I took her straight home, about 10 minutes away, and put honey on it. It quickly stopped the pain and you could almost see the swelling disappear. And that was the end of it.

It’s also a staple for sore throats, usually mixed with some lemon juice. Take a tablespoon before bed for a good sleep and no coughing. CAUTION: Doctors advise not to give honey to children under age one. Although it is rare, infants may have an allergic reaction to some pollens in honey. Even for adults, do your own research and consult with your doctor for possible side effects with medications or illnesses like diabetes or cancer.

One of my first books on home remedies was “Folk Medicine” (first published in 1958 and still available today) by a Vermont Doctor, Dr. D. C. Jarvis, famous for his many uses of honey and natural apple cider vinegar for both people and animals.

Raw, cold-pressed honey is touted for upset stomachs and in the gut because of it’s bacteria-killing properties.

I get only raw, organic honey. I prefer it the way God makes it. I still trust his version is the best. I do prefer to get it from local beekeepers. We are fortunate to have many.

And now, one of my sons is a beekeeper. He drew off his first honey this year. Some beautiful. And he provided the whole family, strung out all over the county, with jars of the liquid gold.

Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.

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