Raw Honey Benefits with Mark Connelly of Edisto Gold Honey
by The Local Palate Marketplace
Mark Connelly of Edisto Gold Honey explains the difference between raw honey and ultra-filtered honey while sharing his knowledge of raw honey benefits.
Tall oaks and Spanish moss-draped tupelo trees tower above the tea-stained water of the Edisto River, located a short drive from Charleston. Combined with the heat and humidity, the area’s a prime environment for honey bees buzzing their way into the abundance of clover, wildflowers, and Lowcountry flora. This thriving natural habitat is home to Edisto Gold Honey.
Sold in its natural state, Edisto Honey is raw—it goes straight from the beehive to the bottle. Your typical honey, the kind you see most often in big-box stores, is usually pasteurized and ultra-filtered (meaning it’s heated and squeezed under high pressure through microscopic filters to preserve shelf-life). “What people consider ‘raw honey’ is honey that hasn’t been heated above the beehive’s natural temperature,” explains beekeeper Mark Connelly of Edisto Gold Honey. “Lots of big honey packers heat it to over 160-degrees, which strips it from many potential benefits. You’re basically just getting a sweet liquid at that point.”
By contrast, raw honey may contain traces of bee pollen, a bee “superfood.” Pollen is packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, including vitamins E and D, folate, and biotin, making it a potentially powerful immune booster. While more research is needed to confirm bee pollen’s benefits to humans, it’s shown promising healing results in animal studies, including an ability to lower blood pressure. It may also have prebiotic properties, which could promote the growth of “good” bacteria in your gut. And for those watching their sugar intake, honey is an excellent alternative, since you need less of it to achieve your desired sweetness.
Another raw honey benefit that may not come as a surprise: Research shows raw honey’s potential to soothe sore throats and suppress coughs. Though these are science-backed claims, many of us can attest to them personally, including Connelly. “Honey coats your throat,” he says. “When my kids have coughs at night, a spoonful of honey always helps them sleep.” Because honey is antibacterial, it may also offer more than just physical relief from cold symptoms. “Bacteria can’t grow in honey,” says Connelly. However, it's important to note that honey is unsafe for babies under one year of age.