What is Raw Honey?

Honey is a natural sweet substance produced by different species of bees from the nectar of flowering plants. It is one of the most valued natural products introduced to humankind since ancient times, going back thousands of years. In its natural pure raw unprocessed state, it offers many health benefits and medical benefits.

Standard natural raw honey is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, a powerful antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, a strong wound healer and antidiabetic as well as having a naturally long shelf life.

While excavating Egypt’s pyramids, archaeologists have found pots of raw honey in an ancient tomb. It dates back to about 3,000 years and is still perfectly edible today!

3,000 year old honey found in Egyptian tombs was found to be perfectly edible

Nanako raw honey

Types of honey

One of the most important ways of classifying honey is based on the way it is processed. The two main honey types are:

  • Processed, regular or pasteurized honey. This honey is industrially processed, pasteurized (approx. 1-1.5 mins. at high temperatures typically 65-75oC), treated and finely filtered. The process is very cost effective and fast. However, it also destroys most of the active ingredients within the honey, eliminating the vast majority of its natural health benefits. It is the most common type of honey on the market.
  • Raw honey. This is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed honey – it is practically the same honey found in the beehive. The honey is extracted my mechanical means at low temperatures (below 31oC) in small batches. It preserves all the honey´s properties and health benefits.
Nanako raw vs processed honey

How to differentiate between raw and processed honey. Source: The Natural DIY.

Active components in Raw Honey

Nanako features of honey

Schematic diagram showing the parameters that contribute to the antimicrobial potential of standard natural raw honey. Source: “The antibacterial activities of honey” S Almasaudi

The antibacterial and antimicrobial activity of wholesale natural raw honey is attributed to:

  • osmolarity,
  • hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content,
  • low pH,
  • low water content / activity
  • phenolic acids levels  
  • flavonoids
  • high viscosity
  • phytochemical, such as tetracycline
  • fatty acids
  • peroxides
  • ascorbic acid
  • amylase
  • terpenes
  • phenols,
  • benzoic acid
  • benzyl alcohols
  • peptides
  • nonperoxidase glycopeptides,
  • proteins

In general, no organisms have thus developed resistance to

Schematic diagram showing the range of antimicrobial activities of honey. Source: “The antibacterial activities of honey” S Almasaudi

Nanako beenficial effects of honey

Beneficial effects of standard natural raw honey. Source: “Phenolic compounds in honey”, D Ciancios

Nanako raw honey resistance to bacterial strains

Antibacterial activity of honey against bacteria causing life-threatening  infection to humans. Source: Mandal 2011

Nanako raw honey antibacterial activity

Antibacterial activity of some common dark, intermediate & light coloured honey varieties. Source: Stefan Bogdanov “The Book of Honey”.

The main health benefits attributed to wholesale natural raw honey intake include:

  • Promotion of wound healing
  • Improved antioxidant capacity
  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Modulation of immune system
  • Effects on glycemic regulation
  • Effects on lipid values
  • Enhanced gastric activity

Source: “The medical value of honey: a review on it benefits to human health”, ME Cortes et al, Cien. Inv. Agr. 38(2):303-317. 2011

Nutritional value of honey

The composition of standard natural raw honey depends on many factors such as the season, location, environmental conditions, processing and varieties of flower nectar. Basically, the main nutritional constituents of honey are carbohydrates (simple sugars: fructose and glucose), water and small amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and polyphenols, including flavonoids from pollen, which can help identify the honey origin.

 COMPONENTPer 100 g serving *Per 20 g serving *
Energy288 kcal / 1229 kJ58 kcal / 246 kJ
Fat (g)00
Carbohydrate (g)76.415.3
– fructose (g)41.88.4
– glucose (g)34.65.9
Protein (g)0.40.08
Other components: 
Water (g)17.53.5
Salt (g)0.030.01
The nutritional composition of honey. Source: “The Health Benefits of Honey and Its Nutritional Value” – European Food Information Council (EUFIC),
* based on analysis of 8 samples of assorted types.

Raw honey is typically a smooth liquid containing small tiny crystals. However, factors such as its origin, low storage temperature, long storage time and higher glucose content can lead to crystallization. Larger crystals form and the texture becomes crunch as it solidifies. The process can be reversed by gentle heating. However, the use of heating and filtering to process honey (to purify or pasteurize) negatively affects its properties by for example darkening the colour, destroying enzymes, and removing health-beneficial antioxidants.

Storage recommendations

When storing raw honey, remember HEAT and LIGHT are not good. The “BEST BY” or “BEST BEFORE” date for raw honey is typically 24 months. However, remember if raw honey is properly stored, it really has an extremely long shelf life.

Raw honey may crystallize. This does NOT affect its quality in any way whatsoever. To liquefy crystallized Raw Honey, place in a warm water bath of about 40°C for about 15 minutes until the crystals dissolve and the honey liquefies.

RECOMMENDATION FOR STORAGE: Store raw honey in a sealed bottle in a COOL, DRY and DARK PLACE.

For information on selected gourment natural raw honey, see our Standard Natural Raw Honey brochure.

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