Honey has been used since ancient times for its health benefits medicinal benefits, and as a natural sweetener. Honey is the second most popular natural sweetener in North America, followed by maple syrup.
While Manuka honey gets much attention for offering significant health benefits among different types of honey, often overlooked are the powerful benefits buckwheat honey has to offer. Buckwheat honey is a rich, powerful source of antioxidants and has various other health benefits, making it a very nutritious honey. Curious to learn more? This post will share with you seven impressive reasons why you want to have a spoonful of buckwheat honey today!
What is Buckwheat Honey?
Buckwheat honey is a variety of honey made from the nectar and pollen of buckwheat flowers. The buckwheat plant is a fruit related to rhubarb and is naturally gluten-free.
The buckwheat plant was originally planted along the Hudson River by Dutch colonists. Up until the 1960s, buckwheat was a popular crop in the United States. At that time, there was a decrease in production when wheat and other crops began to dominate the crop supply due to fertilizers increasing the supply and profitability.
The color and flavor of honey are determined by the type of flower the honey bees gather the nectar from. The nectar and pollen in buckwheat honey are gathered primarily from the buckwheat flower, which makes it monofloral honey. Monofloral honey has one primary type of flower as its nectar source. However, they will still have varying amounts of other nectar sources that influence the color and taste of the honey.
Buckwheat honey is typically a dark honey, usually dark copper to dark purple; it may look almost black. The variety may be darker to lighter in color depending on the amount of nectar from other sources. The darker the honey is, the more buckwheat nectar it has. The lighter the honey is, the more nectar it has from different sources and the less buckwheat nectar it has.
Dark-colored honey, such as raw buckwheat honey, contains more minerals and antioxidant compounds than light-colored honey, thus providing more health benefits than the lighter-colored and commercially produced honey varieties.
Buckwheat Honey Taste
Depending on the type of honey, and its variety, it will have different tastes depending on environmental influences and where it was cultivated. Buckwheat honey has a strong, pungent flavor that may be described as an earthy, rich flavor that is slightly spicy. Some may say it’s a little bit like molasses.
Raw honey that has not been processed or heated is the purest, retaining all the health benefits honey offers. Raw buckwheat honey has a thick consistency and crystallizes slowly. Although buckwheat honey is excellent for cooking, given its strong aroma and flavor, heat destroys the beneficial properties honey has to offer.
7 Health Benefits of Buckwheat Honey
1. Antibacterial Properties
Buckwheat honey has antibacterial properties, which have been shown to ward off certain pathogens. Although further research is needed for more specific pathogens and in-depth information, in general consuming foods with natural antibacterial properties helps support a healthy gut and immune system.
Buckwheat honey has anti-inflammatory properties. These may help to reduce swelling and pain. Along with its antibacterial properties, buckwheat honey can be applied to wounds to aid wound healing.
3. Soothes a Sore Throat
A sore throat is never fun, but a spoonful of buckwheat honey adheres to the mucus membranes, providing them with a protective coating that allows them to rest and heal, reducing irritation and discomfort. The antibacterial properties also help bacteria in the throat that may be irritating.
4. Helps Relieve Cough
Buckwheat honey is a natural cough suppressant, along with its antibacterial activity can help speed healing from infections. Taking buckwheat honey before bed can help suppress the cough, allowing for better sleep while supporting your body in treating upper respiratory tract infections and other systems related to the cough.
Buckwheat honey has been shown in studies to be as effective or better than over-the-counter cough syrup in managing a nocturnal cough.
5. Soothes Upset Stomach
Much like how buckwheat honey helps soothe a sore throat, it has a soothing effect on the lining of the mucus membranes in the stomach that may cause discomfort.
6. Powerful Antioxidant Properties
Darker honey, such as buckwheat honey, have richer antioxidant properties than regular honey or light-colored honeys. The dark brown color of buckwheat honey is provided by powerful antioxidants such as phenolic compounds, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Consuming large amounts of antioxidants has been associated with a decrease in heart disease, cancer, and inflammation, helping to ward off free radicals and protecting cells from disease, damage, and premature aging.
7. Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Buckwheat honey contains small amounts of various vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. It also includes other nutritional beneficial elements such as ash, propolis, pollen, and amino acids. Although the vitamins and minerals are found in smaller amounts and are not enough to meet daily values, they still contribute to a diverse diet of beneficial nutrients.
How to Use Buckwheat Honey
About 1-2 teaspoons of buckwheat honey a day can make a great addition to your diet. It can be eaten from a spoon, mixed in with yogurt or fruit, or added to warm tea. It’s important to note that heat can destroy the health properties that buckwheat honey offers, so it is best to steer clear of using it in cooking or hot tea if you intend to receive the health benefits of honey.
When taking buckwheat honey for its beneficial properties, you want to buy raw honey that has not been heated, processed, or filtered beyond removing larger chunks or elements of honeycomb or beeswax, etc., that disrupt the texture of the honey. The heating and processing of honey destroys many beneficial properties and is sold as commercial honey. Commercial honey can be considered more convenient, easier to spread, and clearer in color and texture, but it has a trade-off of losing health benefits.
It’s important to note that some people may have allergic reactions to honey, and specifically buckwheat honey, so be cautious or consult your medical provider if you have any concerns about how your body may respond to buckwheat honey for any health-related reasons.
The next time you buy honey, give raw buckwheat honey a try. Steer clear of commercial and processed honey that has been heated and processed, decreasing or destroying the beneficial properties buckwheat honey offers. Look for a dark-colored variety, ensuring it has high levels of antioxidants and minerals.
Buckwheat honey is a healthier alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners as a natural sweetener.
You may find raw buckwheat honey at farmer’s markets, local farm stores, and smaller health food stores, or you can find it online through small businesses and producers.
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Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.