Japanese Knotweed...Honey?

Japanese Knotweed Honey

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down...in the most delightful way!” Mary Poppins was on to something, but she missed the mark a little. Refined sugar can knock the immune system down by 50% for approximately TWO HOURS or more! That can be the difference between getting sick and staying well! Raw honey, on the other hand, has some major immune building components naturally built in that would actually HELP the immune system. I am intrigued by the various types of honey that are common in different areas. Growing up in Central Florida, the most common was Orange Blossom, which will always be my favorite. In North Florida, we have Gallberry and at times, Tupelo. Clover is from up north. And Wildflower is a local favorite for allergies no matter where you live. In Texas, Mesquite is pretty common. In New York, there is Goldenrod and Japanese Knotweed, which I was recently introduced to.

My friend, colleague, and bee-keeper in upstate New York showed me a picture of her Japanese Knotweed honey for this season. It was a beautiful and dark honey. Darker than any honey I have seen yet. It actually looked like molasses. Knowing that the color of the honey gives a good indication as to the antioxidant content, I knew this honey was full of antioxidants and I had to try it! Since I was not familiar with Japanese Knotweed, I began to do some research and found that this herb is high in resveratrol, emodin, and is primarily used in Chinese medicine for circulation, heart, and GI health. It is also well known as an herbal support for bartonella co-infections linked with tick-borne illnesses. According to an article found at beneficialbotanicals.com, Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) is “antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-schistosomal, anti-spirochetal, anti-fungal, immunostimulant, immunomodulant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-neoplastic, vasodilator, inhibits platelet aggregation, inhibits eicosanoid synthesis, anti-thrombotic, tyrosine kinase inhibitor, oncogene inhibitor, anti-pyretic, cardio-protective, analgesic, anti-ulcer (slightly reduces stomach acid and protects against stress ulcers), hemostatic, and astringent.”

Considering the extensive list of beneficial qualities, I had to wonder just how much of those benefits are also found in the honey. Although there isn't much to be found on Japanese Knotweed honey, there have been some great research on honey in general. And some of that research answered a lot of my questions about honey.

As I discovered, there really is something to the claims of raw honey being good for you. I was quite pleased to find some great articles and scientific research on honey and its benefits. One such article by Naturopath Case Adams, actually helps to explain why we see such amazing immune boosting benefits with raw honey. The nectar in the flowers actually contain plant polyphenols and other phytochemicals which help the plant defend itself against invading insects and is responsible for the plant's color, flavor, and some other characteristics. Some of these plant chemicals have also been found in the honey, leading us to conclude that a certain amount of desirable qualities from the plant actually do transfer to the honey. Manuka honey is a great example of this. The Manuka tree, a native of New Zealand, is related to Australia's 'tea tree', or melaleuca. The tea tree is well known by essential oil enthusiasts as a great anti-bacterial oil. The Manuka tree exhibits similar medicinal qualities, making Manuka honey a much sought after honey for its medicinal qualities like healing boils, burns, cuts, acne and even soothing sore throats when taken orally. Not only have researchers identified plant polyphenols and phytochemicals in the honey, they have also discovered the presence of several strains of probiotics. One specific strain, Lactobacillus kunkeei, has been found in the flower nectar as well as the raw honey, bee pollen, and royal jelly produced within the beehive. L. kunkeei, along with other probiotics, provide many benefits to their host, whether its the flowers, honeybees or humans. When the honeybees collect the pollen, they also collect these probiotics and transfer them to the beehive where they help protect it from harmful pathogens. These probiotics also feed on and break down the natural fructose in the pollen and honey. This also helps slow down the absorption of the sugar in the honey when we eat it. And, when we consume raw honey, we also consume these beneficial bacteria which benefit us by helping to prevent the growth of many harmful bacteria and yeast in our intestinal tract. So, if Manuka honey contains many medicinal properties of the Manuka tree, might it stand to reason that some of those same beneficial qualities found in the Japanese Knotweed plant will also be found in the Japanese Knotweed honey? I can't say for sure, and there isn't enough research on Japanese Knotweed honey to be able to make that claim. But what I do know is, based on the research cited in this article, a certain amount of beneficial plant chemicals and bacteria do get transferred to the raw honey. Plus, unlike other sweeteners, raw honey contains minerals, vitamins, acids, natural sugars, and the bacteria to break it all down, making it a much healthier alternative to other sweeteners.

I will have this incredible Knotweed honey for a limited time. Although it is not local to us, it is delicious raw honey from a conscientious bee-keeper who strives for a quality product. Stop in to pick your jar up today and take your “spoonful of honey”!

References: Journal of Apicultural Research article - www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980708085352.htm https://examine.com/supplements/japanese-knotweed/ https://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/ingredient/483/Japanese-Knotweed https://www.beneficialbotanicals.com/the-role-of-japanese-knotweed-root-in-treating-bartonella-coinfection-of-lyme-disease/ https://activeadventures.com/new-zealand/about/nature/flora/manuka-tree

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