A Taste of Honey – Story from the BBC

Gentle readers,

Mrs. Homegrown here. When we renamed our blog Root Simple we were making a commitment to build a better blog. We don’t have the change all mapped out yet–we’re letting it evolve organically (how else?) but one thing we’ve known for a long time, and that is that we wanted to partner with Eric Thomason and Julia Posey from Ramshackle Solid. We’ve long admired their aesthetics, the grace with which they live simply, and the way they’re raising their boys: free and bold.

Don’t worry, Ramshackle Solid fans: they will continue to document their adventures on that blog, just as always. Here at Root Simple they’re going to liven up our game, dropping by with opinions, ideas and information that you probably wouldn’t get from me and Erik, making Root Simple a more interesting place. At the same time, Erik and I will continue to blog as we always have.

So give them a big welcome! And now, on with Eric’s first post, about one of my favorite subjects, the healing power of honey:

photo credit: edibleoffice via creative commons lisc.
The other night, Wednesday Feb 9th to be exact, while suffering a bout of sleeplessness, I had the great good fortune to hear this very interesting 27 min. audio story: A Taste of Honey (BBC)
It’s a very informative news piece starting with the history of mankind’s honey consumption and cultivation, discussing small scale vs. large commercial apiaries, colony collapse and ending with new breakthrough medicinal application of honey for aliments ranging from types of cancer to drug resistant staff infections.
One type of honey in particular, manuka honey, has very effective antimicrobial properties due to an additional compound found only in some wild manuka (leptospermum scoparium) in New Zealand.
Here’s a statement from the Summer Glow Apiaries website:

In laboratory studies honey with high UMF activity (over UMF10) has been found to be effective against a wide range of bacteria including the very resistant helicobacter pylori (this bacteria causes most stomach ulcers), the wound-infecting bacteria staphylococcus aureus and escherichia coli, streptococcus pyogenes (causes sore throats).

If you don’t have the time to listen or prefer to read, much of the health benefits being explored are discussed here in this BBC print piece from 2004: Harnessing Honey’s Healing Power

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  1. Interesting. I had a hen with a prolapse. Usual advice is to use preparationH or cull because prolapse is hard to fix. The prepH didn’t work, but honey did. Not only did the area not get infected, but honey is hydrophilic (absorbs moisture) and it helped to shrink the prolapse. I think the stickiness kept the prolapse in place. Two years later and the hen is still laying eggs!

  2. Very cool, all ’round. I’ve been following Eric and Julia at Ramshackle Solid for awhile.

    I’d forgotten about the healing properties of honey. This week I shoved a three-quarter inch wood chisel into my thumb, and while I don’t think any gardener should forego a tetanus booster if they need one (I did), in retrospect I should have put some honey on it to speed the healing along. By the way, don’t mess with tetanus; I did some research on it and it’s pretty serious, if left untreated. Not sure that something as great as honey would kill Clostridium tetani.

    I’m so glad my bees are coming this April! Now if I could just get my hands on some wild manuka!

  3. So glad to see HomeGrown Neighbor and the Camp Ramshackle folks here! BTW, do you still have a link to Ramshackle Solid on this page? It was always so convenient to read your posts and then hop right over to their blog using the link. : )

  4. @Diane: That’s a good point! We’ve got to figure out a bunch of design issues. In the meanwhile, here’s a secret–if you click on either of the Ramshackles’ pictures you’ll go straight there.

  5. Thoreau’s brother died from tetanus. Ooops, sorry, I thought I was in grad school…lol. I cannot take regular tetanus. It takes an act of Congress when I need the special one I have to take.

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to go to the Honey Shack for honey tomorrow.

    Ramshackle Solid is one of my favorite blogs along with this one.

  6. Thanks for all of the support! Julia and I are very excited that our friends Kelly and Erik have invited us to contribute to Root Simple. We hope we won’t disappoint.

    To the new or soon-to-be beekeepers: Beekeeping is one of the most enjoyable hobbies I have taken up. This story shows that bees may be even more beneficial than we had previously thought.

    @ Paula: Ouch! do take care of that thumb.

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