The benefits of honey depends on the flowers available to the bee...


Honey, which is mostly made up of sugars, contains only traces of vitamins and minerals, but it does contain disease-fighting antioxidants. The composition and benefits of a honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced it, for example buckwheat honey has about eight times as many antioxidants as clover honey.


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The quality and properties of the honey depend on the flowers visited. Pictured left a honey bee is collecting nectar from Scorpionweed a flower rich in both nectar and pollen that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects like a magnet. Scorpionweed honey is an amber or sometimes light green colour, with a delicate aroma.

Honey has long been known to have anti-bacterial properties and is used in wound dressings. Different honeys vary in their effectiveness depending partly on the plants the bees visited to make it. The National Botanic Garden of Wales are screening wildflower honey for activity against two of the most common hospital-acquired infections, the bacteria MRSA and Clostridium Difficile. They find out exactly what plants the bees visited to make the honey by extracting plant DNA from the honey and comparing it to their Flower DNA Database. The hope is to pinpoint which plants make honey the most effective against infections in humans and bees.

It has been estimated by Friends of the Earth that without bees it would cost UK farmers around £2 billion per year to pollinate their crops.