"Honey Cure" From Australia's ABC television program Catalyst:

People have known for thousands of years that raw honey has amazing healing properties, the ability to heal skin wounds and kill bacteria. But, science has been unable to understand what the active ingredient in raw honey is. Now, an Australian PhD student, Shona Blair believes shes discovered the mechanism of how honey attacks bacteria so effectively.

Shes studied a particularly potent form of honey made by bees using leptospermum, or jelly bush flowers from Northern NSW and a related plant known as Manuka in New Zealand. Shona has found that even the notorious Golden Staph is helpless against the raw power of this honey. Most incredibly, bacteria dont seem to become resistant to leptospermum honey. She set to work trying to find out why by doing what no-one else had. She looked at the effects on the bacterias own genes once in contact with honey.

What she found was incredible. Not only does the honey attack the bacteria, it attacks it on a multi faceted level. More than 100 genes are affected by the honey, 70 genes increase their activity as if they are trying to fight an acid attack. But 20 genes actually decrease their activity, disabling the reproductive capacity of the bacteria. Its the first time anybody has had any idea on how honey kills bacteria. So is it time for honey to come out of the alternative medicine cabinet to be used as first aid, not a last resort.

The difference between raw honey and the honey generally available at grocery stores is the type of processing. Raw honey is extracted by settling or straining. No heat is added so the honey still contains bits of wax and some pollen. All of the living enzymes are still intact as well. Processes used for mass distribution of honey include heat treating, ultrafiltering, and ultrasonicating. All of these process remove or destroy most or all of the important living (healing) aspects of the honey.

I had been purchasing tubs of honey at a local health food store and I hoped it was raw (though it didn't say raw), but then the store began stocking true "labelled" raw honey and it is quite different. The raw honey has debris floating in it and bits of honey comb. Only a thin layer at the top looked like clear dark honey, the rest was quite opaque and thick. It is strongly flavoured (to my taste) but I am so excited to have its wondrous presence in my pantry! I used a household strainer to get out some of the debris. But I'm sure the holes were large enough to leave the magical yeasts, pollens and other goodies intact.