Barberry Honey

Honeybee Flying To Pollinate Barberry Flower
Honeybee flying to pollinate the barberry flower

Barberry honey is a yellow monofloral honey variety with a pleasant taste. It is produced from honeybees pollinating and extracting the nectar of the berberis plant (commonly known as the barberry plant).

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    How Is Barberry Honey Produced?

    Barberry is a good plant for honeybees as it gives an abundance of nutritious nectar between May and June.

    The moment the honey bee harvests the barberry nectar it is mixed with an enzyme within the honeybee’s mouth. The enzyme itself is otherwise known as invertase or the “bee enzyme” which is secreted from the honeybees glands.

    When the honeybees return to the hive they will pass the berberis nectar they have gathered between their mouths further mixing the nectar with the “bee enzyme” reducing the water content and converting the nectar to honey.

    They will then deposit the barberry honey into wax cells, but at this point the water content will be too high. In order to reduce the water content the honeybees will fan their wings above the wax cell. By doing this they will evaporate some of the water.

    Once they’ve finished the process the barberry honey will have a water content roughly below 20%. It will then be capped and the honeybees will repeat the process all over again.  The honey bees produce between 30 and 35 pounds of honey per acre of barberry plants. This is a remarkably low yield for a plant that is turned into monofloral varieties of honey.

    Where Does Barberry Honey Come From?

    Barberry is most commonly grown in temperate regions and it does well in relatively short growing seasons. It is produced in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Central Europe.

    Whilst barberry can be produced all over the world, it just isn’t effectively managed and harvested in ways that make it monofloral in very many of these areas.

    Best Barberry Plants for Honey Bees

    The best barberry plants for honey bees to pollinate are those that are grown in dense concentrations. This is typical when the plant is cultivated for commercial purposes.

    At the same time, like any other plant source, berberis that is grown organically, without the use of harmful pesticides and insecticides will result in a higher yield.

    This is because unfortunately the pesticides and insecticides can harm individual bees and whole colonies.

    Honeybee Pollinating Barberry Flower
    Honeybee pollinating barberry flower

    What Are the Benefits of Barberry Honey?

    Healing Wounds and Burns There has been positive effects of using raw honey on wounds & burns reported.
    Reducing The Duration of Diarrhoea According the NCBI consumption of raw honey has been shown to reduce the severity & duration of diarrhoea.
    Preventing Acid Reflux Research has shown that with honey lining the oesophagus and stomach, it actually can reduce the upward flow of undigested food and stomach acid.
    Fighting Infections Scientists in 2010 reported that honey through its protein (defensin-1) has the ability to kill bacteria.
    Relieving cold and cough symptoms Its been proven that honey may prove beneficial in relieving cold and cough symptoms. The World Health Organisation actually recommend honey as a natural cough remedy.
    Rich In Antioxidants High quality raw honey contains many helpful antioxidants. These include phenolic compounds like flavonoids and organic acids.
    Can Lower Triglycerides Triglycerides are associated with insulin resistance and are a major driver of type 2 diabetes. Multiple studies have linked regular honey consumption with lower triglyceride levels, especially when it is used to replace sugar.

    This is based on raw honey, filtered or pasturised honey will break down and diminish these benefits.

    Other Benefits of Barberry Honey

    An interesting benefit of honey, such as barberry honey, is that it can enhance the healing process of the body. While boosting antioxidants, it also helps to support the functions of the immune system. Additionally, barberry honey is high in minerals that promote nerve and muscle health such as copper, magnesium, iron and copper.

    If you’re looking for a way to speed up recovery on wounds, or soothe respiratory symptoms or symptoms of the common cold, barberry honey is great for all of these things. It is also believed that barberry honey can do things to help to regulate blood sugar levels in those who have diabetes, reduce risks of high blood pressure, and even help in the treatment of anemia.

    Barberry Flower
    Berberis plant flowering
    Barberry Fruit
    The berberis plant will sprout the "barberry" fruit as it develops

    Barberry Honey as an Antiseptic

    Because of its high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, honeys like barberry honey are widely used as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent. This honey can be used to topically treat burns and ulcers, among other injuries.

    Barberry honey absorbs water, this in turn aids in the drying out process of wounds, whilst helping to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Glucose oxidase also exists in honey, which is an enzyme that catalyzes production of hydrogen peroxide.

    When You Should Avoid Barberry Honey?

    Because of the low levels of a bacteria that could be potentially harmful, you should never give honey to any child under one year of age. Women who are pregnant or nursing should also avoid ingesting honey, due the transfer of bacteria to the baby.

    Can You Eat Too Much Barberry Honey?

    Like anything else, eating too much honey can actually be harmful. Overeating barberry honey in one sitting can cause distress in your gastrointestinal tract. This means you could experience constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

    Honey is a highly-concentrated sugar substance and can promote high blood sugar and unwanted weight gain if eaten in excess.

    Is Barberry Honey Vegan?

    The Vegan Society do not consider honey vegan, this includes cornflower honey. They believe that because some honey farmers replace honey with a sugar substitute when harvesting, it will naturally lack the essential micronutrients of honey, thus being detrimental to the honey bees.

    Furthermore, they believe that in conventional beekeeping, honey bees are specifically bred to increase productivity. Which they believe leads to a narrowing of the population gene pool and increases susceptibility to disease and large scale die-offs.

    They also believe that many honey farmers will cull their hives post-harvest and clip the queen bee’s wings to stop them from leaving to start a new colony. Thus the Vegan Society does not consider honey vegan. That, of course, doesn’t stop some vegans arguing its fine if they source their honey from reliable sources that do not practice the above.

    Honeybee Harvesting Barberry Nectar
    Honeybee harvesting barberry nectar

    What Is Barberry Honey Used For?

    Barberry is commonly used as a topping for bread and dairy products and as a sweetener for beverages. It is also prized as a dietary supplement, particularly by those seeking a powerful antioxidant source. It is popular with people who prefer home remedies for the symptoms of common colds and for simple wounds and burns.

    Is Barberry Honey Expensive?

    It is hard to find barberry honey in stores or at farmer’s markets unless you live in a region where Barberry is grown in large quantities. You can purchase high-quality, raw, organic barberry honey from online retailers.

    Typically, you can find barberry honey for less than $10 per pound when shopping online.

    The price of barberry honey will increase with increased levels of purity or in relation to highly sought-after regions of origin.

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