Benefits, nutrition and who should avoid it

Raw honey is a thick, sweet syrup made by bees. Unlike regular honey, raw honey is not pasteurized or filtered. It is as close to the hive as possible. You may be wondering if raw honey is healthy or if you can eat it alone.

Raw honey is an excellent source of antioxidants and offers a variety of health benefits. Contains healthy bee pollen, bee propolis and antioxidants.

This article will provide an overview of raw honey, including its benefits, nutritional content, precautions, and where to find it.

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What is raw honey?

Raw honey is honey that comes directly from the hive. It is produced by extracting honey from honeycombs. The producer then pours the honey onto mesh or nylon to remove beeswax and dead bees. From there, the honey is bottled and sold.

Normal honey goes through the same process but is also pasteurized and filtered before being bottled. The pasteurization process applies high temperatures to destroy the yeast found in honey. This makes the honey taste and feel softer. It also extends the useful life.

Because it is not pasteurized or processed, raw honey may contain more nutrients than regular honey, such as those provided by pollen and propolis. Honey enzymes are likely to be reduced in processed honey due to heat treatment. The effects of processing on amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants have not been rigorously studied.

Raw honey has also been linked to several possible health benefits.

Raw Honey Nutrition

Honey can be a healthy addition to your eating plan, but should be enjoyed in moderation. It is rich in natural sugars.

One tablespoon of honey contains the following calories and nutrients in grams (g) and milligrams (mg):

  • Calories: 64
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Sugars: 17 g
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Potassium: 11 mg
  • Calcium: 1 mg

Health Benefits of Raw Honey

Raw honey has been linked to several potential health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and can protect against infections. Unlike some types of regular honey, raw honey contains no added sweeteners.

Antioxidant effects

Raw honey is rich in plant compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that have been linked to a reduction in inflammation in the body. They may also reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Regular honey may have fewer antioxidants than raw honey since the pollen is removed. Pollen also contains antioxidants, as well as vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Consuming pollen can help fight inflammation and improve liver function.

Antibacterial agents

Raw honey is known for its antibacterial effects and can protect the body against bacterial infections. Raw honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This enzyme is usually destroyed during pasteurization, so it is not present in normal honey. A 2017 study found that honey can protect against candid fungal infections.

wound healing

Honey can promote wound healing due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Chronic inflammation can prevent tissues from healing properly. By reducing inflammation, the compounds in raw honey can speed wound healing.

Honey can also increase the number of white blood cells. White blood cells are responsible for protecting the body from infections. Reducing the risk of infection can also help wounds heal faster.

Relieves cough

Taking a spoonful of honey for cough is not just a popular remedy; There is research to support it. A 2021 review found that honey effectively relieves cough and sore throat symptoms in people with an upper respiratory tract infection.

Researchers found that honey reduces cough and improves the severity of the disease. It can also slow the spread of bacteria in the body, shortening the duration of the infection.

Treat diarrhea

Honey can improve digestive problems, including diarrhea. Honey contains compounds that protect against different types of bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This type of bacteria causes diarrhea and is a common cause of stomach ulcers.

Honey also contains prebiotics, substances that nourish the good bacteria in the intestine and improve digestive health.

Protect the brain

Consuming raw honey can protect the brain from certain neurological diseases. The polyphenols in honey reduce inflammation in the hippocampus, an area of ​​the brain responsible for learning and memory. This can have several cognitive benefits, including improved memory.

Who should avoid raw honey?

Raw honey is not safe for everyone and it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before adding it to your diet.

Unlike regular honey, raw honey contains pollen. If you have a severe pollen allergy, eating raw honey could cause a severe allergic reaction. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends that people with pollen allergies talk to their allergist before trying raw honey.

Honey of any type, including raw honey, is not safe for babies under 1 year old. Raw honey may contain bacteria. Clostridium botulinum, which can cause life-threatening botulism poisoning in babies.

Where to find raw honey

To find raw honey, look for jars of honey that say “raw” on the label. You can find raw honey at your local farmers market or health food store.

It is important to note that organic honey is not the same as raw honey. Raw honey is honey that has not been pasteurized or filtered. Organic honey is honey produced on a bee farm that meets the organic standards of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Organic honey can be pasteurized or raw.

When raw honey turns into sugar

It is normal for honey to crystallize over time. If you notice that your jar of honey no longer looks clear and smooth, first open the jar and smell it. If there is a bad smell or signs of mold, throw it away.

To get honey back to its syrupy texture, try microwaving it to melt it. Store your raw honey in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.


Raw honey refers to honey that has not been pasteurized or filtered like regular honey. Raw honey is prepared by taking it from the honeycomb found in the hives. It is poured onto mesh or nylon to remove beeswax or dead bees and then shaken.

Raw honey contains antioxidants, vitamins, and enzymes that have been linked to several health benefits. Raw honey has antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties. People with pollen allergies should use caution when consuming raw honey. Any type of honey, raw or not, should not be given to a baby under 1 year of age.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts contained in our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we check the facts and keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

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By Carrie Madormo, RN, Master of Public Health

Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with more than a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.

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