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Properties of heather honey

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The heather honey it is another vital component within the world of flower and plant honeys. It is not one of the best known, but it has been consumed for many years. In Spain, Cantabria is the first power in obtaining and producing.

In addition to its flavor, the consumption of honey is linked to some medicinal benefits, although there are also side effects due to its high consumption of sugars.

All these topics we want to treat and clarify in this article focused on heather honey, which surely, you are obliged to try. We are going to analyze the nutritional composition (of which you will surely already know its high sugar content), and the medicinal effects studied and submitted to scientific review

Where does heather honey come from?

The way we have today to distinguish the origin of one or another honey is based on the amount of pollen to form the final product. As you know, there is rosemary, citrus, sunflower, lavender or acacia honey on the market, among others.

In the case of heather honey, the bees collected work in environments where there is a large presence of the heather plant (also known as biércol or brecina), and whose scientific name is calluna vulgaris.

This resistant shrub that can also be grown in pots, can usually be found in mountainous areas and stony soils, emitting a spectacular bloom of violet color that attracts a wide variety of insects, including bees.

It has low water need, so, as is usual also in medicinal plants, this causes there to be a higher concentration of antioxidant and biologically active substances.

From here, with the extraction of pollen, the heather honey, which should have a content between 45 and 65% concentration, and the rest mixed with other plants (rosemary, different legumes, eucalyptus, etc.).

How is heather honey

Other types of honey that we can find

Rosemary honeys

20-77% pollen Rosmarinus officinalis
Other flowers: Hypecoum sp., Rosaceae, Cruciferae, Cistaceae, Leguminosae.

Citrus honeys

10-46% pollen Citrus Spp
Other flowers: O. europaea, Cistus Spp. Quercus sp., Cruciferae, Compositae, Leguminosae, Rosaceae and Gramineae.

Lavender honeys

15-68% pollen Lavandula latifolia
Other flowers: H. annuus, Eucalyptus sp., Compositae, Cistaceae, Thymus sp., Leguminosae e Hypecum sp.

Sunflower honeys

45-82% pollen H. annuus
Other flowers: Eucalyptus sp. Echium sp. Cistus spp., Leguminosae, Compositae.

Eucalyptus honeys

82-98% pollen Eucalyptus Spp.
Other: Echium sp. Cistus spp., Compositae.

Heather honeys

48-67% Ericaceae pollen
Other flowers: Cistaceae, Eucalyptus sp. Echium sp. isLeguminosae Castanea sativa and R. officinalis.

Nutritional composition

For 100 grams of heather honey:

  • Energy: 322 kcal
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 80.1 g
  • Sugars: 69.1 g

Medicinal properties of heather honey

Content in antioxidants

Honeys have always been classified as a product with a high concentration of antioxidants. These substances come from the presence of different flavonoids that reduce the oxidative damage of different compounds that we introduce into our diet.

In fact, the Swedish Food Safety Agency in 2002 warned of the presence of acrylamide as a carcinogen, and we get it when food is cooked at high temperatures (frying above 150 ºC).

Several studies have obtained irrefutable evidence of the inhibitory effect on the formation of de acrylamide which has different honeys from flowers, including heather honey, given its content in different protective polyphenols.

Exposure of acrylamide (1.4 and 2.8 mg/ml) to cells significantly reduced its viability rate. However, when honey was introduced, the protective effects at the cellular level increased by up to 66%, with values even higher than those of rosemary honey.

The results support that heather honey does not reduce the cytoxide effect of acylamide, but it does favor the protective effect at the cellular level by the presence of polyphenols.

Activity against microorganisms

Positive effects have been found on the growth of pathogenic populations of bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) by the presence of hydrogen peroxide groups in honey. [2]

Finding different ingredients with bactericidal activity is very interesting in a world where the effects of antibiotics are increasingly lost and “superbugs” are generated.

The positive effects can be used on the skin, so that it facilitates the healing and cleaning of wounds, as we will see below.

Promotes wound healing

The healing and sanitation of wounds on the skin is linked to the presence of anti-inflammatory compounds, bactericidal compounds and antioxidant substances.

The effect of different kinds of flower honey is being studied to evaluate the healing response, in use together with medicinal plants with active ingredients for this purpose. This means that the consumption of heather honey is not only limited to oral intake.

This type of healing is also being studied at the in vitro level to promote the healing of wounds in the eye, specifically in the cornea (corneal fibroblasts).

Related products

Consumption not recommended for:

However, we can always find side effects and contraindications to the consumption of any plant or food.

In this case, heather flower honey contains a large amount of sugars, so it offers a high caloric content. Therefore, we must monitor who consumes this food and who should avoid it completely.

People with diabetes

Anyone suffering from type 2 diabetes should avoid at all costs the consumption of foods high in sugars, such as this honey.

Newborns or breastfeeding

Any type of honey is strictly prohibited in babies under 1 year of age. The cause is the possibility of contracting botulism.

Allergic to honey or bee products

Of course, anyone with food allergies derived from any manufacturing process by insects (specifically by bees), should avoid the consumption of heather honey or from any other source.

References

[1] Rosemary, heather and multifloral honeys protect against acrylamide cytotoxicity in human hepatoma cells.

[2] Antibacterial activity of different flower honeys.


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About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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