Honey (Raw)

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Raw honey has unctuous, viscous qualities; a sweet taste, and an astringent aftertaste; heating metabolic effect, which varies according to type.

Ayurveda describes raw honey as the best medicine for Kapha as it helps scrape fat. Honey is also balancing for Vata and for Pitta that is under control, although it will overheat high Pitta. The energetics of honey are unique because it has both Soma (lunar energy) and Agni (fiery, solar energy).

Sushruta Samhita (an ancient text on Ayurveda), describes eight types of honey, depending on the bees that collected it and where they collected nectar from.

Characteristics of Best Quality Honey

(excerpt from Dravyagunavignyan, by Vaidya V. M. Gogte)

  • Sinks in water
  • Flies do not sit on it
  • A dog does not lick good honey
  • If honey is poured on a vertically held cloth, then it does not wet the cloth but instead flows along its surface
  • Burns like oil
  • If applied on the eyes, causes irritation

 

Healing Properties Listed in the Ayurvedic Texts

  • Increases digestive fire and appetite
  • Improves complexion and voice
  • Increases softness of the skin
  • Acts as a cardiac and an aphrodisiac tonic
  • Facilitates reunion of bones in fractures
  • Promotes mental health
  • Cleanses the physical channels (shrotas)
  • Supports the eyes

How to Use

  • Honey can be used daily, unless you have high Pitta imbalance.
  • Honey can be heating to the liver, so if you know that your liver is hot, stay away from honey until your liver calms down.
  • According to Ayurveda, heat turns honey toxic. So don’t cook with it (like using it to sweeten cakes and cookies or cooking it in a syrup), and if you are adding it to tea, wait for the boiling hot beverage to cool down until you can sip it, then add honey.

6 replies
  1. Cristina Mis
    Cristina Mis says:

    Dear Divya,

    Thank you for the precious knowledge. Can you recommend a brand you trust amongst all honey choices out there?

    Thank you,
    Cristina

    Reply
    • Divya Alter
      Divya Alter says:

      It’s always good to source raw honey locally. You could check out your farmers market. At our restaurant, we use raw honey from Roxbury Mountain Maple farm and we love it.

      Reply
  2. Alexander Yakhnis
    Alexander Yakhnis says:

    Dear Divya,
    I enjoyed your post on the benefits of raw honey. You’ve mentioned that Sushruta (?) refers to 8 types of bees that produce honey. How different the respective honeys benefits could be? Would this classification of bees apply to US bees, such as in New York State? I am Pitta. Practice Hatha Yoga since 1971. I’ve eaten a lot of honey. I was lucky not to get sick from honey. Yet I might not be a high Pitta. What are the criteria for High Pitta? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Alexander Yakhnis
      Alexander Yakhnis says:

      Dear Divya,
      You are not replying to my post for 11 days. On the other hand the number of visitors to your website only increases, since replied to Cristina’s comment in April, 2019. That is almost a year ago. I hope your website does well and you are well. Perhaps you could give a reference that would answer my 2 questions. Would you?
      I have another Q that is actually urgent to respond to. What foods, herbs, and yoga practices could protect against corona virus or help us to resist the virus?

      Thank you.
      Alex

      Reply
    • Divya Alter
      Divya Alter says:

      Hi Alexander, thank you for your patience. I am sorry, I am not a bee expert to answer your questions.

      The type of honey also depends on the flowers that the bees collect nectar from.
      It’s always best to use local raw honey–look for the producers you have around.

      Honey is heating and also quite acidic, so it will aggravate high Pitta. If you’re a moderate Pitta, then avoid honey only during the summer.
      For a general self-assessment of your Pitta, read my description here: http://divyaalter.com/resources/knowledge/are-you-mostly-airy-fiery-or-earthy

      Reply

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