Honey is a natural nutrient produced by bees by collecting nectars from various plants by processing them with special enzymes they secrete. Bees produce honey of different kinds and benefits in different parts of the world. So, what are the most valuable honey types in the world? In this article, I searched the answer to the question, what are the best honey types produced in the world and what are their properties?
Producing honey requires both serious labor and a great organization. Let me briefly explain how enormous it is to produce honey for bees. To produce only half a kilo of honey, approximately 900 thousand bees need to work full-time. Moreover, not all of the nectar collected is used to produce honey. Bees are very selective organisms and use only the most valuable part of the nectar they collect to produce honey.
In summary, it can be said that a very crowded team works meticulously in the background of the honey we consume each morning for breakfast. Honey is one of the greatest blessings that nature offers to humans, and its variety is quite high. The color, taste, and smell of honey may vary depending on the type of plants it is collected from. However, the most distinctive feature of honey of different colors and species is that they can remain for a long time without deterioration.
There are different varieties according to the plant species and climatic characteristics of honey, which have many health benefits. In this article, I tried to answer the question of which honey types are the most valuable in the world.
We always knew honey was healthy. But a while ago, our interest in shifting from only one family of plants to honey obtained at certain altitudes instead of generic flower honey has now changed the continent. The honey of the local manuka bush of New Zealand and Australia seems to have taken its place in global health and food trends recently. So, what’s the claim of this honey?
It has been proven so far that true honey fights infections and that some honey species trigger new cell production in the repair of damaged tissues after infection. However, so to speak, not all types of honey are equal and the bacteria-fighting properties you can expect from honey have a tight link to the harvesting method of the honey as well as from which plant honey is collected.
The superpower of honey against bacteria comes from hydrogen peroxide, which is naturally present in the first place. But in the arsenal of manuka honey, there is also methylglyoxal, a different compound, often referred to as MG, that is dense compared to other honey. So much so that, honey producers developed a separate scale to calculate and show the power of manuka honey. In the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) scale, the manuka honey should have at least 10 UMFs in order to be regarded as to have healing powers. Manuka honey with UMFs above this number are also marketed as ‘active manuka honey’ or ‘UMF manuka honey.
As a matter of fact, Manuka honey had a positive effect especially on the healing of wounds. However, the allegations in the marketing of manuka honey that prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, and solutions to diabetes and digestive system problems remain as claims only for the time being. Nevertheless, it seems to have affected a serious consumer mass.
Medical grade honey, used by health professionals as part of the wound dressing, can help heal some wounds. Experts believe that Manuka honey can be more effective because it adds antibacterial and healing properties. But now there is little evidence to support the theory. The Cochrane Review reviewed all available evidence to support the use of honey in wound care. The study published in 2015 indicated that differences in wound types make it impossible to draw general conclusions about the effects of honey on healing.
The study found strong evidence that honey heals partial-depth burns 4-5 days faster than traditional dressings. There is also evidence that honey is more effective than antiseptic and gauze to heal infected surgical wounds. Another study concluded that honey has fast wound healing properties, but further research is necessary to confirm that honey can be used as the first line of treatment for such wounds. Although some studies show that honey can help improve certain conditions, further studies are needed to confirm the benefits of honey for:
- Mixed acute and chronic wounds
- Pressure ulcers
- Fournier’s gangrene
- Venous leg ulcers
- Minor acute wounds
Antibiotic resistance is now taking place all over the world and an increasing number of infections are becoming difficult to treat. This results in longer hospitalization times, higher medical costs, and ultimately more deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed resistance to antibiotics as one of the biggest threats to global health, food safety, and development. Natural antibacterial properties of honey can be useful in this fight. In the laboratory, it has been shown that Manuka honey can inhibit about 60 bacterial species. These include Escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella.
Some studies have shown that Manuka Honey can fight bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics. These include staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-15) and pseudomonas Aeruginosa. This line of inquiry is still in its infancy. These are small laboratory tests that combine medical-grade Manuka honey with antibiotics. There is still much work to be done before scientists come to a conclusion.
Contrary to what is known, buckwheat is not a cereal product and is not related to wheat. Since it does not contain gluten, it is an important alternative to cereal and is especially preferred by celiac patients. Buckwheat honey is the name given to honey obtained by bees from buckwheat flowers. It is more expensive as compared to other standard honey types.
The most important feature of buckwheat honey is that it blooms when other plants are not flowering and can remain flowering for 45 days. Bees love buckwheat flower very much, so during this period when there are no other flowers, honey bees making honey with buckwheat pollen become quite pure and 100% buckwheat honey. Buckwheat honey has a dark color, dark purplish or may have a color close to black. It has a spicy and malt taste.
Benefits of Buckwheat Honey
One of the main health benefits of buckwheat honey is related to the dark color of honey. It is known that dark honey types are generally found to be richer in antioxidants than lighter honey types. This is because the antioxidants found in honey are one of the chemicals that give its color. Honey made from buckwheat flowers contains an antioxidant called polyphenol, which gives the honey its distinctive dark copper color. Darker honey types such as buckwheat also tend to contain more vitamins and minerals in addition to antioxidants. Buckwheat honey is a small source of eighteen amino acids. This type of honey is also known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can accelerate wound healing and even reduce scarring. Buckwheat honey is a dark honey with a distinctive spicy-malt flavor and a taste like molasses.
The field or the environment where the buckwheat honey is produced must consist entirely of land sown with buckwheat seeds. The more time the bee nectar stream receives honey from this buckwheat, the closer the honey extract is to the Buckwheat honey. So if you collect honey with very different flowers buckwheat value may fall. You can think of it like chestnut honey. Where the chestnut trees are dense, the aroma of chestnut honey is more effective. At the points where the chestnut tree is not dense, honey gets mixed from the normal flower and the effect of chestnut honey is low. The closer the bees are to the buckwheat field, the more you get pure Buckwheat honey.
The most important point is the cure effect of the buckwheat honey against the disease known as celiac disease. The flour of the buckwheat plant, which has a great impact on human health, is also very important. Now, many beekeepers take buckwheat seeds and try to get more by planting this seed around their bees. Because buckwheat spends half of the time between the planting period and harvesting period as a flower. So buckwheat can be visited by bees for a long time.
It contains almost all of the B group complex vitamins, it is rich in calcium, sulfur, and phosphorus and contains minerals such as iodine and zinc. It is rich in folic acid. It also contains basic amino acids. Among the benefits of buckwheat honey, the benefit to the liver comes first. It strengthens the immune system and has antioxidant properties. It provides quick healing of wounds.
Buckwheat honey is particularly useful for coughing. It is stated to be quite effective for chronic cough and flu. It has been claimed to be beneficial for respiratory infections and for problems such as insomnia. The antioxidant power of honey is the result of a wide range of compounds including phenolics, enzymes, peptides, organic acids, and Maillard reaction products. According to these results, the antioxidant capacity of buckwheat honey is higher than other dark honey types. It is also rich in vitamin C compared to other honey.
Honey produced by bees from nectar collected from the flowers of Salvia Officinalis grown organically in the countries on the Mediterranean coast is called sage honey. Sage, which is used for therapeutic and healing purposes and dates back to ancient times, is widely used today in almost all over the world. Sage, which is still widely used today, was selected as the best plant of the year in 2001 by the International Medicinal Plants Association. The effect of sage honey is really powerful in terms of health benefits.
There is a wonderful relationship between the honey bee and sage. It is as if these two creatures were created for each other. The honey bee makes a special effort to extract the honey nectar found in the depths of the sage flower. While the honey bee tries to enter the inner part of the flower in order to extract the honey nectar from the flower, it presses the organ to which the pollen sac is connected with its head. As a result of this pressure, the mechanism to which the stamens (male organ) are attached also works and causes the pollen-loaded stamens to bend towards the abdominal region of the bee. The pollen sac in the stamens touches the abdomen of the animal and the flowerpots are poured here. As a result, when the honey bee, which is contaminated with flower powder, goes to another female flower, it transmits the flower powders in the abdominal area to the top of the female organ of the flower, thus ensuring the pollination of the sage.
Sage honey is used as a herbal medicine in the treatment of many diseases as well as being useful for infection. Sage honey is one of the most effective drugs that cause the expulsion of phlegm from irritated throat and canals. It also has a great effect on digestive system disorders and memory enhancement. It is also scientifically proven that it is good for hair loss, the problem generally encountered both by men and women.
Clover honey is popular for its sweet, light floral taste. Unlike other common sweeteners, such as table sugar, it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may benefit health. You will find information on the health benefits of clover honey, which is rich in compounds, below:
Clover honey is a thick, sweet syrup made by honey bees collecting the nectar of clover plants. The taste is light and colorful, making it a popular choice among taste enthusiasts. Clover plants are very common, weather-resistant and a preferred source of nectar for honey bees, so clover honey is widely available. Clover honey has a more complex flavor compared to the table sugar and many people use it to sweeten tea, coffee, and sweets. In addition, due to the growing interest in healthier alternatives to sugar, food producers offer more honey-sweet foods and beverages. Clover honey is frequently used in cold and cough medicines and home remedies due to its unique health-improving properties, including its antibacterial properties and its soothing effect on sore throats.
Clover honey is high in sugar but also provides some nutrients. One tablespoon (21 grams) of clover honey contains:
• Calories: 60 calories
• Protein: 0 grams
• Fat: 0 grams
• Carbohydrate: 17 grams
This type of honey is mostly carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars. However, it also offers a small number of different vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Moreover, it is rich in antioxidant compounds that may benefit health. Clover honey contains mostly natural sugars, but also contains different vitamins and minerals. It also contains health-enhancing antioxidants.
Potential Benefits of Clover Honey
Some of the various potential health benefits of clover honey are as follows:
Antiviral and antibacterial: Clover and other honey species have antiviral and antibacterial effects. In a study comparing the antibacterial capacity of 16 different honey species, it was found that clover had the strongest antibacterial effect against harmful Staphylococcus aureus. Clover honey is equivalent to 2.2 mg antibiotic kanamycin dose. It is also an effective antibacterial dressing for wounds such as burns and scratches, as bacteria cannot develop resistance to honey. In a 3-month study in which clover honey was used as a dressing for 30 different diabetic foot wounds, 43% of the wounds were completely healed and 43% were significantly reduced in size and number of bacteria. In a test tube study, it was found that the application of a 5% clover honey solution to chickenpox virus-infected skin cells significantly reduced the survival rate of the virus. It should be remembered that fresh raw honey may have stronger antibacterial properties than varieties pasteurized or stored for a long time.
Rich in antioxidants: Clover honey is full of antioxidants, compounds that can prevent or reduce cellular damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. This can reduce the risk of illness. In a study of mice, clover honey extract reversed liver damage caused by free radicals, possibly due to the antioxidant capacity of the extract. Clover honey is especially high in anti-inflammatory flavonol and phenolic acid antioxidants. Flavanols can improve heart and lung health, while phenolic acids strengthen the central nervous system.
It has fewer negative effects than sugar: Although honey is mostly sugar, it is a better choice than other sweeteners such as table sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Some studies show that honey may be better than table sugar for heart health and weight control. In a 6-week study of 60 people consuming 70 grams of honey or table sugar daily, people in the honey group had lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
In addition, in a study of 80 children, it is observed that a single dose of honey caused a blood sugar response smaller than an equal dose of table sugar, including participants with type 1 diabetes. However, although honey is healthier than table sugar, it is still considered an added sugar and should be limited. Diets high in terms of added sugars are associated with obesity regardless of the type and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. For optimum health, less than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugars.
Comparison with Other Honey Varieties
The nutrient content, flavor, and color of honey depend on the type of nectar from which it is made, as well as the processing and storage time. Along with clover honey, other soft tastes include clover, orange blossom, and wildflower honey. These varieties are similar in terms of antioxidant content. However, buckwheat and manuka honey, which are often used medically, are darker in color and richer in flavor, which may be a result of their high mineral and antioxidant content.
Manuka honey, made from a New Zealand plant, has also been awarded for its potent medicinal potential. Although more antioxidant than clover honey, in a test tube study, 5% manuka and clover honey solution were found to be equally effective in stopping the spread of varicella virus, respectively. However, if honey is used for medicinal purposes, it may be more appropriate to choose a darker variety, such as buckwheat or manuka.
All kinds of unpasteurized and unfiltered raw honey are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than pasteurized varieties, making it a healthy choice for many people. It also contains pollen, can provide benefits such as stimulating the immune system, reducing inflammation and protecting the liver from free radical damage. Raw honey, including clover plants, can be bought online and in stores. Moreover, locally collected raw honey is available in many farmers’ markets. If the immune system is compromised, raw honey should not be eaten. In addition, honey diseases should not be given to children under one year of age because of the risk of serious illness.
To sum up, clover honey is a popular, light-colored, soft-flavoring honey that provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It offers strong antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Although it is slightly healthier than table sugar, it should be used moderately.
Pine honey is exceptional honey produced by the secretion of a beetle living in the trunk of some pine tree species of the Mediterranean climate, not from the flower pollen of bees. It found only in Turkey and Greece in the world. In order to produce pine honey, there is a need for a pest cotton beetle, popularly known as pine cotton lice because of its millimeter dimensions. This insect lives only in red pine (also called “Turkish pine” or “Calabrian pine”), larch and Aleppo pine. In zoology, this insect is called Marchalina Hellenica in the classification of aphids and is also known as Monophlebus Hellecinus.
This insect is fed by absorbing the sap of the pine and defecates the remaining sap as a sweet substance. This liquid, which the insect secretes between July and October, is well-liked by bees. This sugar residue of the insect is collected by bees. On the trees that contain this sugary substance, the insects lay eggs at the soil level of the tree trunks and the fry born slowly climb up the tree sucking the sap of the pine. Since they die during the harsh winter, the beekeepers collect the wax from which the insect accumulates in the winter and take it to their areas and cover it with a brush. This should be done at the latest in April when the winter candle remains intact. Otherwise, insects cannot withstand the journey and the breeding season in May is compromised.
Another point that beekeepers pay attention to when leaving beehives (for bees to produce pine honey) is not to keep the bees in this region too much. Because, if the bees producing honey from the insect secretion are left in the pine for a very long time (maximum 20 days), the queen bee reduces the spawning time because there is no pollen in the pine trees at that time. Therefore the hive weakens. The practice of giving ready pollen cakes to maintain the productivity of the queen is also becoming widespread. On the other hand, if it is desired to produce pine honey, it is important not to have too many flowers in the environment so that the bee will not leave the pine and turn to flower pollen.
The most important feature of pine honey is that it can be stored for years without disturbing its consistency or freezing. It is therefore easy to market. Its color is darker than the majority of flower honey species. Although its nutritional value is slightly lower, it is especially good for sore throat disorders. Pine honey is a product with wide usage area as a natural additive in various products (eg ice cream) in medicine and food sector with its crystallization resistance and preventive feature, and it has significant export potential.
Benefits of Pine Honey
The benefits of pine honey are great. I wanted to sort them out for you. Here are the benefits of pine honey:
- It nourishes hair and contributes to strengthening hair follicles.
- It’s good for fatigue.
- It can be used to reduce high blood pressure.
- It supports the digestive system and flora to remain healthy.
- Even sensitive stomachs can easily digest Pine honey. It does not cause indigestion.
- Pine honey has a therapeutic structure in the stomach. It is effective against helicobacter. It is a stomach-friendly with its protective and preventive effect.
- Treats wounds. Being acidic, moisture-free and rich in hydrogen peroxide makes it a very effective antiseptic against bacteria. Collagen fiber which closes the wound with its dense healing content enables the formation of tissues quickly. It has an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces swelling and redness around the wound.
- Pine honey is good for colds, cough, and sore throat.
- Resolves heart rhythm disorder.
- It is good for anemia and strengthens the immune system.
- Very effective in vascular occlusion.
- Prevents allergic reactions and prevents allergies.
- Corrects diarrhea.
- It has a natural painkiller effect that prevents pain and leakage.
- Pine honey mixed with warm water is used to lose weight in case of drinking.
- It is good for dry eye syndrome, itching, and turbidity in the eyes.
- It makes a very positive contribution to the development of the intelligence of children.
- Natural toothpaste
- It provides a natural remedy for anemia and relieves anemia.
- Good for constipation.
- It’s good for rheumatism.
Anzer honey is the honey produced in Turkey, on the Anzer Plateau, the highest plateau of Rize with its height between 3100-3500 meters, 35 km south of İkizdere district center of Rize. Anzer honey is a honey that is analyzed and registered at Hacettepe University. Although the official name of the plateau is Ballıköy, the honey is named after Anzer Plateau. Anzer honey is said to have many benefits in terms of human health as well as being capable of destroying cancer cells, renewing blood and cleaning.
The reason for the high quality and healing properties of the Anzer honey is the existence of a wildflower flora consisting of 450-500 kinds of flowers in the plateau. Among these varieties, 80-90 of them are endemic species and it is a flower variety specific to Anzer Plateau. In Anzer Plateau, there are no plants in the form of trees such as wild plums, pears, apples, rosehip, pine, chestnut, linden, black mulberry, and acacia. Therefore, the bees only take pollen and extract from 450-500 varieties of one-year flowers found in the Anzer Plateau. This feature is used to identify fake Anzer honey. Because except Anzer, there are perennial tree species such as chestnut, linden, mulberry and acacia in all of the highlands. If the content of honey specified as Anzer honey is determined to be extracted from the flowers of plants in the form of trees, that honey is not Anzer honey.
In the Anzer Plateau, the beekeepers start to take their hives when the weather starts to warm up from the first week of May. All beekeepers have brought their hives by 20-25 of June. Although there are professional beekeepers coming from outside in Anzer Plateau, beekeeping is generally done by the villagers as amateurs. It is said that 200 producers produce honey with 1300 hive bees in total. Between 15-20 August, beekeepers perform honey extraction in their hives. Anzer honey production is produced in modern hives. The producers do not use old methods since the bee in the hive (old type hive) also produces honeycomb itself, which leads to a further reduction in the production of honey, which is already in a small amount. Only a few manufacturers produce several old hives for hobby purposes. Anzer honey is not sold as a frame because only part of the frames have honey.
Caucasus or Caucasian hybrid bee genus is used in honey production because it has many positive properties and provides better adaptation to the weather conditions of the plateau (cold climate of high regions). In this way, they can provide more and better quality honey production compared to other bee species.
The short summers of Anzer Plateau reduce the weather conditions in which bees can work for honey production. Besides, the decrease in the temperature of the air at the time of honey production, the presence of mist and precipitation in the air reduces the production of honey. In summer, when the air temperature is high and the weather is sunny, the amount of honey produced increases. Normally, 20-30 kg of honey emerges from a hive. However, in Anzer, 1-5 kg of honey emerges from a hive, depending on the weather and the time of mowing. However, it is said that there are years when the honey yield is little or no.
Temperatures above 40°C eliminate the enzymes and pollen contained in honey, thus reducing the quality of honey. Therefore, the heat treatment to prevent the crystallization of honey is not applied during the harvesting of the beehives here.
Best Honey Types You Can Buy Online
- Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Raw Wildflower Honey, 32 oz (Previously Solimo) (Price: $9.35)
- Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey KFactor 16+, 17.6 Ounce (Price: $29.55)
- Topanga Quality Honey (Orange Floral Source) Raw, Unfiltered, Unpasteurized, Best Quality, All Natural, Kosher – 3 Pounds Each (Price: $16.90)
- Greek Honey Taygetos Mountain From Pine 460gr 16.22oz Pure (Price: $37.69)
- Y.S. Eco Bee Farms, Raw Honey, 3.0 lbs Pack of 2 (Price: 47.99)