Depending on the floral source from which the honey is made there are different type of honey. Each of these honey varieties vary in their flavor and aroma. Honey that is derived from Lavender flowers that start to bloom from mid spring to late summer is termed as Lavender honey.
There are many species of Lavender flowers. But, the commercially grown varieties include the spike lavender, true lavender and lavandin, hybrid of the other two varieties. Honey bees too extract honey from these varieties of Lavender. Here is an overview of the properties and benefits of Lavender honey.
Properties of Pure Lavender honey
- Contains the delicate scent of lavender flowers.
- Average sweetness. However, the taste differs depending on the floral source. Sometimes it may also be slightly sour in taste. Dark colored lavender honey i.e. the honey dew variety also contains a salty taste.
- Weakly acidic.
- Leaves an after taste. But it will not be bitter.
- Crystallizes moderately in to fine crystals.
To be called as pure Lavender honey it should have only 15-20% of pollen count. Lavender is widely grown in countries such as India, England, Italy, China, North America, Southern France, Australia and Yugoslavia. Hence, to obtain pure form that lets you relish the taste and benefits of Lavender honey select suppliers from these nations.
Types of Lavender honey
There are two types of Lavender honey:
- Honey that is made by bees pollinating the Lavender flowers. To get this pure form of Lavender honey it is essential to choose the supplier properly as there are not many areas cultivating the lavender flowers.
- Infused honey: This form of honey is made by warming honey with Lavender flowers. This will infuse the flavor of the flowers to into the honey. Later the honey is strained to remove the waste. This honey also offers all the benefits offered by the raw honey extracted from bee hives.
Benefits of Lavender honey
Acts as an antiseptic: The enzyme glucose oxidase present in honey acts on water oozing from the wounds and forms hydrogen peroxide that acts as an anti-septic. Hence, application of honey on wounds prevents bacterial infections. The high sugar content of honey absorbs water making the wounded portion unfit for bacterial growth.
Gives a soothing effect: When applied over wounds it heals them fast and also gives a soothing effect. However do not use the honey extracted from the Lavandin variety of flowers that contain high amount of camphor to heal burns.
Serves as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent: Honey bees protect the bee hive from bacteria by sealing it with propolis, substance made from plant resins and bee extracts. The same resins are also found in honey in small concentrations making it to act as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. However, processing and heating of honey results in loss of these properties due to elimination of these resins.
Anti-oxidant properties : One of attractive benefits of lavender honey is its anti-oxidant property that helps to get rid of the free radicals. The honey dew variety with sugary secretions left by insects contains high concentration of polyphenols which act as strong antioxidants. Hence, consumption of this honey increases the levels of polyphenolic antioxidants in the body.
Anti-convulsant and anti-spasmodic: Honey extracted from Spanish Lavender variety is used as Anti-convulsant and anti-spasmodic to relieve muscle spasms.
Idle for cooking: the mild taste of Lavender honey makes it a perfect replacement to sugar while baking. It can also be used in cooking especially by those who prefer less sweet. You can even add it in tea.
Can be used to make good desserts: The mild sweet taste of Lavender honey makes it a perfect addition to desserts. It tastes perfect with feta cheese, semi-soft cheese and blue cheese. Drizzle lavender honey on apple slices and sprinkle cinnamon to make a quick healthy and yummy dessert.
Helps to lower your diabetic drug dosage: Having a spoon of honey everyday early in the morning or in tea helps to lower the sudden rise in blood sugar levels. Long term use of raw honey may even lower your diabetic drug dosage. It also found that intake of raw honey helps to lower the cholesterol levels. However, make sure that you are having the raw honey as artificial honey increases the levels of bad cholesterol.
Tips to Store Lavender honey
- To maintain the mild flavor and to enjoy benefits of lavender honey it is highly recommended to store it in air tight containers. Never expose honey to moisture as it would result in formation of alcohol.
- Honey stored in cool dry places tends to remain forever as the acidic pH and high sugar content prevent microbial growth.
- Storing of honey at high temperatures may change the taste.
Lavender honey is being preferred by many due to excellent flavor and many health benefits. With its great flavor it is easy to include it with various recipes and desserts. If you are a honey lover, you would absolutely love lavender honey!