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In the land of milk & honey

This bee byproduct provides benefits beyond sweetening

On January 23, 2014

Kyleah Frederic, history senior, has believed in the benefits of natural honey for most of her life.
Every other morning, Frederic makes a health-boosting concoction of hot water, a teaspoon of local honey and cinnamon.
"It helps build a resistance against allergies and helps with colds, too," Frederic said.
A Louisiana native, Frederic grew up learning the health benefits of honey from her mother.
"Honestly if you just put a teaspoon of local honey in your coffee or tea in the middle of the day, it will go a long way," Frederic said. "It really helps with your immune system."
Frederic gets her honey either at Robert's Market or the local Hollygrove Market and Farm.
"The best thing to do is just go to your local grocery store and find a honey that was made at a little bee farm in your area," Frederic said.
Brobson Lutz, local physician and part-time beekeeper, said that though there is not much scientific evidence to back up the health benefits of honey, many of his patients agree with Frederic's statements.
"First of all, the flowers and plants are benefited because they get pollenated," Lutz said.
Lutz has a more in-depth answer as to why honey is said to help with people's allergies.
"Folk-lore is that local pollen has benefits, because it is from flowers or plants that people may be sensitized to. Eating honey with that pollen in it, a person develops blocking antibodies to help decrease their allergies to certain things," Lutz said.
Lutz said that sometimes it has to do with faith rather than scientific data.
"There are a lot of things in this world, that we believe in because of faith testimony, someone believes in something strong enough then maybe it is true for them. For example, a lot of my patients tell me that by using local honey they have fewer allergic reactions," Lutz said.
Lutz has eight hives of his own, but he only makes enough to sell to Dominique, a restaurant on Magazine Street. He recommends Loyola students purchase their honey at either the Rose Garden Center on the Westbank, or at a honey vendor at the farmers market in the Central Business District.
"There is this wonderful honey vendor at PawPaw's Honey, run by the Mouton family, Alcee and Dorothy. They are at the farmers market in the CBD every Saturday. That's probably the easiest way for Loyola students to get real local honey," Lutz said.
Outside of the New Orleans area, Louisiana has a thriving local honey market, Lutz said. According to the Louisiana Beekeeper Association website, one third of the food Americans eat depends on honeybee pollination.
Local beekeeper Robert G. Taylor, based out of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, said his customers believe in the benefits of local honey as well.
"As beekeepers we are forced into learning the medicinal purposes. I found out early on that people are very interested in the medicinal purposed of honey," Taylor said.
One of his most recent experiences was with a marathon runner from Texas.
"I sold a bottle to a lady from Texas the other day coming to run the Crescent City Classic and her usage for the honey was she was going to equally divide up the whole bottle in the amount of days until the classic and she was going to consume that honey every day leading up to the race. She said it was to acclimate to the pollen in the air down here," Taylor said.
Whatever benefits people seek from it, there is no denying that honey is one of the healthier sweetener options.
"Honey is a predigested sweetener. The bees digest it and they add enzymes when they regurgitate it into the cell and when the moisture evaporates it can be brought down to a content that we can harvest it," Taylor said.
It also has other medicinal purposes.
"It is a natural antibiotic because bacteria can't get into it, so it is good for skin burns," Taylor said.
Taylor said he has heard so many "facts" about honey over the years.
"What it comes down to is we are what we eat, and the purest form of food is the best for us, honey is one of the purest forms of food," Taylor said. 

Kristen Himmelberg can be reached at 

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