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.