The Great Honey Hoax

That sly grin on your honey bear’s face might be because the little guy’s keeping a secret. A recent independent study by Food Safety News shows that 75 percent of the sticky stuff on grocery store shelves isn’t actually honey at all. Instead, it’s ultra-filtered, which means that it’s been put through a heating and filtering process that kills off honey’s health-giving enzymes and nutrients.

While the sweet treats on your grocer’s shelves may taste fine, they aren’t worth beans for treating ailments or improving your looks. Fortunately, the good stuff is easy to come by: You can find raw honey in health-food stores and at farmers’ markets.

And Honey, there are plenty of sweet reasons to seek out local raw honey this summer:

Take the sting out. It’s ironic that an insect that delivers such searing pain can produce one of its sting’s best antidotes. Dab honey on the spot (after carefully removing the stinger, of course), and the pain and itch will vanish.

Alleviate allergy symptoms. When seasonal allergies have you sneezing your head off, take 1 tablespoon a day of locally produced raw honey. Your immune system will become accustomed to the neighborhood pollen contained in the honey, and your body will stop making such a fuss.*

Sooth a sunburn. When too much sun leaves you looking like a boiled lobster, relieve the burn with this gentle tub-time healer. Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil, ½ cup of honey, ½ cup of mild liquid soap, and 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla together, pour the mixture into a bottle with a tight-fitting stopper, and store it at room temperature. At bath time, shake the bottle, then pour ¼ cup of the potion under running water, slip in, and say “Ahhh.”

*Note: Although honey supplies heaping helpings of health benefits, it should never be given to babies under one year of age.