It wasn’t until recently that I realised I’ve been surrounded by bees all my life. Well of course we all have, but it’s the importance of bees and the power of honey that I’ve been reminded of since a child. My grandma was a firm believer in a spoon of honey a day and she had a friend who kept bees and put the honey on her eyes to cure cataracts. Admittedly a stage too far, but it did make me wonder what was so special about this insect and its product.
Then I moved to Australia and learned the answers to my questions. I’m now a bee lover in the sense that I understand and respect how useful they are for our planet although I’m still not keen on getting up close and personal!
You only need to google ‘why are bees important’ to get an insight into how vital these insects are. Quite simply they are the world’s most effective pollinators, they are a key cog in the cycle of life for everything from flowers to fruit, from coffee to cotton.
But what’s so special about honey? It’s now widely being recognised for its medicinal properties as well as its taste. I want to stress at this point that we’re talking about raw honey, think your local food market rather than that mass produced, blended pot in the supermarket. In the large-scale pasteurisation process, the high heat destroys many of the honey’s benefits.
Honey naturally has anti-bacterial agents and antioxidants as well as hydrogen peroxide which is an antiseptic. Some honeys also contain MGO (methylglyoxal) which enhances the anti-bacterial and anti-microbial strength. The potency of the honey depends on the flowers from which the bees collect pollen but there’s potential for indigestion relief, mouth ulcer and sore throat healing, even wound and burns first aid.
And when it comes to quality and potency – the wonderful Gatherby are right up there. Back in 2014 in Sydney I was living with some pretty awesome people including Matt, one of the co-founders. Gatherby are a closed-loop regenerative agribusiness that produce and market medicinal and therapeutic Australian Manuka honey. My simplified description is that they make the best possible honey in the most sustainable way, treating everyone, every step of
the way with respect. Their manifesto is a beautiful read.
While we may not all be in a position to regularly splash out on the very best foods, if there’s something I have learned, it’s that some things are much higher in value than price. And for me, a honey that gives as much back to the earth and the community as it does to me, is well worth it.
The Gatherby Manifesto.