Raw Honey is Ayurveda's supreme medicinal sweetener. Its qualities are associated with loving-kindness, compassion, and contentment. Foods that carry the sweet taste are said to build Ojas and immunity. Honey is also considered a catalytic carrier (anupana) for other healing substances drawing medicinal properties deep into the tissues. Additionally, it is known to lighten heavier foods and herbs and stimulates Agni, the digestive fire.
In Ayurveda, the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) are valued for their therapeutic qualities. In general, most sweeteners are cold, heavy, and oily, which are soothing, building, and pacifying for the Vata and Pitta doshas, but can aggravate Kapha. But raw Honey is the exception having a warming nature. It can lighten other substances thanks to its drying and astringent qualities and is the best choice for Kapha.
Unfortunately, eating the sweet taste (dessert) after a meal dampens or halts digestion until the sweet is fully digested, leaving other foods undigested. A good rule of thumb is to eat sweets between meals or on their own.
Honey is the concentrated essence of flower nectar and is gathered and transformed by honeybees. The flowers that go into a honey influence its taste and medicinal properties. It is produced worldwide, notably in India, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Greece, Denmark, Italy, Canada, and the USA.
Honey is either a single-flower Honey (varietals, monofloral or unfloral) produced and collected from a single plant type. The second classification is Multiflora or Wildflower honey that comes from unspecific plants. The beekeeper can manipulate single flower production by targeting specific plants, so the bees do not have a choice of plant, or by coordinating the hive's location during harvesting seasons.
Raw Honey means that it is not heated, filtered, or processed, ensuring the enzymes, nutrients, pollen, and propolis fragments remain intact. Honey is graded by a point system bases on soluble solids, absence of defects, flavor, and aroma, and clarity:
Grade A- score of 90 or above (usually processed)
Grade B- score of 80 points (Raw Honey falls into this category because it is not processed)
Grade C- score of 70 points
Substandard- falls below 70 points
Honey is not Vegan because of the bee's part of its production. If this is a consideration, you can also consider using Jaggery (dried sugar can juice) or molasses. Both have a sweet taste, warm energy, and sweet after effect, making it similar to Honey. These are both excellent Ojas builders, and molasses is a natural blood builder.
Honey benefits the circulatory and respiratory system when combined with warming and drying herbs. When mixed with milk, it calms the Vata dosha and builds Ojas (immunity). Applied topically, it promotes healthy skin, and its ingestion benefits aging adults by building tissue and generating heat and energy. Raw Honey contains iron, manganese, and copper and assists in blood production and heart conditions: easy digestion and absorption benefits from stressful digestive issues. Being a natural scrapper in the body, it clears channels in the body. Honey has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which aids in healthy teeth and gums. Its demulcent qualities have a soothing effect on the throat relieving coughs, and irritation. Honey is hypnotic, and it's heavy, wet, and warm qualities induce relaxation and sleep.
Honey is not recommended for babies under one year old because a bacteria (Clostridium) that gathers on dirt surfaces can create infant botulism.
According to Ayurveda, you do not heat Honey because it is a volatile sweet. When heated, it will ferment and create Ama (toxins) in the digestive tract.