Benefits of Acacia Honey
Acacia honey is not just useful for culinary purposes. While it shares the ordinary health benefits of traditional honey, it also has unique properties of its own.
Here are some of the health benefits of acacia honey.
Rich in Antioxidants
Acacia honey supplies many important antioxidants, which may contribute to its potential health benefits ( 1Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by free radicals. Over time, free-radical damage can contribute to disease (9Trusted Source).
Flavonoids are the main type of antioxidants in acacia honey. A diet high in flavonoids may reduce your risk of chronic conditions, including heart disease and certain types of cancer (8Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Though not as prevalent as flavonoids, this honey also contains beta carotene, a type of plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties (12Trusted Source).
Eating beta-carotene-rich foods and supplements has been associated with improved brain function and skin health (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
One test-tube study even showed that acacia honey effectively stopped the spread of lung cancer cells (16Trusted Source).
Natural Antibacterial Properties
Many of acacia honey’s healing abilities are likely attributed to its antibacterial activity.
The honey contains components needed to produce and slowly release small amounts of hydrogen peroxide (3Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Hydrogen peroxide is a type of acid that kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls (18Trusted Source).
One study discovered that acacia honey proved effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It concluded that its high levels of powerful hydrogen peroxide were likely responsible (19Trusted Source).
May Aid Wound Healing
Honey has been used to treat wounds since ancient times.
Due to acacia honey’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it may help speed wound healing and prevent bacterial contamination and infection.
Additionally, this honey helps maintain a moist environment while providing a protective barrier, both of which can aid wound healing.
Confirming the efficacy of this ancient practice, both test-tube and animal studies indicate that acacia honey accelerates wound healing (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
May Prevent and Treat Acne
Scientific evidence is limited on acacia honey’s ability to fight acne.
That said, commercial acne-fighting creams and lotions containing a mixture of acacia honey and acidic ingredients are available (22Trusted Source).
Due to its strong antibacterial activity, acacia honey could help keep your skin free of bacteria, which may improve or prevent common skin conditions like acne (23Trusted Source).
Ultimately, more research is needed to determine whether acacia honey is an efficient home remedy against acne.
Acacia honey has potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It may aid wound healing and improve acne.
Acacia honey stands out from the other types of honey with quite an impressive “portfolio”. And though it is the most demanded variety on the market and is classified as “the best honey” by the mass consumer, it is wrong to consider it as the best and most useful. There are over 300 different types of honey, depending on the plants from which bees collect nectar, as each type has its own distinguishing features and advantages. As a matter of fact, there is no bad quality honey (if natural), as well as it is hard to single out the best variety, yet it’s true that acacia honey is the most preferred type.
It crystallyzes slowly, 1-2 years after being extracted (read more about honey crystallization here). Its capacity to remain in a liquid state for a long time, combined with its light color, gives it a great commercial appearance and leads to an irresistible desire to dip your finger right into the acacia honey jar if placed among other varieties.
It has an unobtrusive taste and you can consume greater amounts without having the sick feeling of overdosing which comes after taking 1-2 spoons of other types of honey. Highly preferred to mix with drinks, as it does not affect the overall taste (no aftertaste).
Its color depends on whether it has been collected from white (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) or yellow acacia (Caragana arborescens Lam), as yellow acacia honey is light yellow, whereas that coming from white acacia is lighter, almost transparent. In Bulgaria white acacia is most common.
Apart from its appearance, acacia honey stands out with a number of other characteristics.
It is readily absorbed by the body. Since it is much richer in fruit sugar than other varieties, it has a low glycemic index (does not burden the pancreas) and is quite suitable for people suffering from diabetes (type II).
Due to its low pollen content, no allergic reactions are caused.
People usually associate its healing properties with “cough suppressant” and “good antiseptic,” but in practice its activity spectrum is much wider.
When consumed regularly, acacia honey leads to blood pressure normalization and blood composition balance, increasing the level of hemoglobin (check “How Does Honey Affect Your Blood Counts?”). Sleep is improved. It has calming effect and is beneficial upon stress, nervous tension and mental disorders. Acacia honey also stimulates brain activity and is quite suitable for those who labor intellectually (and physically, in this line of thought, as it facilitates faster recovery). It energizes the body.
It is used in the treatment of ophthalmic diseases and conjunctivitis. Because of its strong antiseptic effect, it is also applied in cases of eczema, sores, skin problems, neurodermatitis, diseases of the oral cavity.
Acacia honey purifies the liver. It acts as a diuretic and antimicrobial agent, and is often defined as a natural antibiotic.
It is beneficial in cases of bronchial asthma and is also used for the treatment of rhinitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, tracheitis, etc.
Like any other type of honey, it has a strong beneficial effect in the treatment of gastritis, ulcers and other gastrointestinal diseases.
Apart from being a source of easily digestible carbohydrates, without straining the pancreas, acacia honey is a natural source of a rich complex of vitamins and microelements, antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients, substances with anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties, antibacterial compounds, biogenic stimulators, organic acids and minerals.
Why is it more expensive?
In practice, it could be said that acacia honey is among the most expensive varieties on the market. That, of course, is not accidental.
It is partly due to the greater demand for that product. Besides, it is harder to obtain and is produced in scarce quantities. In order to have acacia honey, there should be a good year and a combination of favorable factors. During the so-called “dry periods”, there are not acacia honey yields for several consecutive years, and purposeful yields imply more risks and costs for the beekeepers.
Acacia starts blossoming in May. That is when bee colonies have not “picked up momentum” yet and are not strong enough to fully assimilate the forage, as is the case with the sunflower forage, for example. Their strengthening requires a lot of additional costs and cares, which at times is risky for a number of reasons.
One of them is that such bee strengthening in May coincides with the period when bee families tend to hive off (part of the bees leave the hive when the family becomes too strong and there is “shortage of space” in the beehive – a natural reproduction instinct), which causes great losses for beekeepers (not only do they lose bees, but the main bee family that has remained in the hive gets weak and is unable to prepare for the next major forage).
Another risky issue is that acacia blooms for 10-15 days. It is within that short period of time that several factors depending entirely on nature should not only exist but be in certain combination so that bees may collect honey. Nectar secretion requires moisture. If it rains, though, it shouldn’t be for long, because rain washes away the nectar from the blossoms. Whereas wind dries them off. On the one hand worming facilitates nectar secretion, but on the other hand in spring time (especially in North Bulgaria) sharp cold spells tend to follow worm weather which damages the blossoms.
When acacia honey finally ends up in the glass jar after so many twists and turns to its appearance into the world, one could say it is definitely worth the price and waiting.
When you go into the store to buy a bottle of wine, you can’t just buy “wine.” There’s an enormous selection of reds and whites (and rosés, if your taste runs that way). They’re produced in different countries, made from different types of grapes with different varietal names, bottled in different years – and all clearly labeled that way. That may make choosing a wine more difficult, but you definitely know what you’re getting.
Purchasing honey doesn’t have to be quite that complicated, but it should really involve more than just walking into a supermarket to buy a jar of honey. In truth, many of those generic jars (or plastic bears) filled with “honey” actually contain a product which has been so thoroughly processed, or modified with artificial sweeteners, that it’s lost most of the nutrients and health benefits of unfiltered, raw honey.
Few people realize that there are more than 300 varieties of honey, each with its own distinctive color, aroma, taste and benefits. The types of honey which is ideal for marinating ribs, for example, are often very different than the best-tasting honeys for cooking or for sweetening your tea.
To many people, particularly Americans, acacia honey comes to mind when they think of high-quality honey. And even though it can be pretty expensive, it’s the most popular variety in the United States.
Here’s what you should know about acacia honey.
Acacia Honey Doesn’t Come From Acacia Trees
The name acacia honey may conjure visions of acacia trees on the wildlife-filled plains of Africa or near the crystal-clear waters of Hawaii. But acacia (in the forms of trees, shrubs and bushes) is most commonly found in Australia – and most importantly, acacia honey doesn’t comes from any of those trees, which rarely produce honey nectar.
What we know as acacia honey comes from what’s called the black locust tree or “false acacia” tree, usually the Robinia pseudoacacia or Caragana arborescens species. (The honey’s source determines whether it is white or pale yellow). “Fake acacia” is native to the southeastern U.S., but now found across North America and on three other continents.
Because of that distinction, many producers label this honey as American acacia or locust honey when sold in America, but it’s sold simply as acacia honey in Europe (and in some stores in the U.S.) Surprisingly, the variety is immensely popular in nations like Bulgaria and Hungary, and a number of Hungarian and German beekeepers have planted entire black locust forests and set up huge beehives dedicated solely to collecting acacia honey from the honeycombs.
Wherever it comes from and whatever it’s called, it’s yummy – and many experts call it the best honey you can buy.
The Qualities of Acacia Honey
There are two reasons that most people love acacia honey.
The first is its taste and appearance. Acacia has a sweet, delicate flavor with hints of vanilla, a clean floral aroma and no aftertaste. Unlike many varieties of honey which can be quite overbearing, acacia honey is light and easy on the palate; you can even enjoy more than a teaspoon or two of acacia honey straight from the bottle or jar without feeling like you’ve overdone it. In that regard, many compare acacia to orange blossom honey (which has more of a light citrus taste.) And its beautiful light color, ranging from white liquid glass to a lovely pale yellow, could easily induce you to dip your spoon into the jar more than once or twice.
The second reason acacia honey is so popular is that it is extremely slow to crystallize on the shelf, due to its high fructose content. (The percentages of simple sugars in honey determine how quickly its water falls out of suspension and forms crystals, and water remains in solution for a long time when honey is high in fructose and has low sucrose content.) Acacia can remain liquid on the shelf for as long as 1-2 years.
Best Uses for Acacia Honey
The mild taste of this honey makes it perfect for use “straight up” and added to yogurt, cereal or ice cream, since it doesn’t overpower other flavors. Acacia honey also has a low acid content so it pairs well with many cheeses, figs, apricots or other stand-alone fruits and nuts.
When it comes to baking, Acacia is a good honey to use in some circumstances. It’s quite sweet due to its high fructose content, so it is an excellent sweetener which won’t fight with other ingredients. If you want a honey to contribute its own strong flavor to a recipe, however, you may want to look to chestnut or Manuka honey, or another type of honey with an instantly-distinguishable taste.
And of course, it’s delicious right out of the jar as a quick-energy snack.
The Health Benefits of Acacia Honey
Like most varieties, raw acacia honey provides a wide range of health benefits due to its high concentration of natural antioxidants which fight damage from free radicals. Specifically, acacia is rich in flavonoids which are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer (including lung cancer). Regular consumption of acacia honey has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase hemoglobin levels.
Acacia honey has natural antibacterial properties. It contains substances which produce and release hydrogen peroxide into the body, an acid known to kill bacteria. It’s also a strong antiseptic, useful for both external and internal use to heal body sores, reverse skin problems like acne and eczema, and even treat eye issues like conjunctivitis and corneal abrasions. There are claims that acacia honey is effective in treating stress, insomnia and sleep apnea, but not enough research has been done to substantiate them.
There are important minerals and vitamins in acacia honey, including magnesium and vitamin C. And like most varieties of honey it’s an anti-inflammatory, making it a good treatment for sore throats, coughs, and respiratory system issues. Unlike many varieties, however, acacia is not particularly effective in treating or boosting the gastrointestinal tract, as many of the beneficial bacteria it contains don’t survive long enough to work their magic in the gut.
Some nutritionists and doctors tell their diabetic patients that acacia honey is the best variety for them to eat because of its high fructose content and low glycemic index. Other medical professionals, though, believe that honeys with a 50-50 ratio of fructose and glucose are healthier for diabetics. Consult your own doctor if you’re concerned about the effect of honey on your blood sugar.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post 🤗
If you want to learn more about honey, read our Types of Honey: All You Need to Know post.
Honey bee forage: black locust
The black locust tree, Robinia pseudoacacia, is famous for producing a fruity and fragrant honey that ranges from water white to lemon yellow to yellowish green. A batch of monofloral black locust honey with little cross-contamination from other flowers can be as clear as a glass jar. The honey is high in fructose so it can be stored for long periods without crystallizing.
The black locust tree is native to eastern and southeastern North America, but has spread throughout the United States and much of Canada. A member of the Fabaceae (pea family), the tree has nodules of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on its roots which make it an excellent species for re-vegetating poor or damaged soils. In addition, its tolerance for low pH has made the tree useful for strip-mine reclamation sites.
Black locust grows quickly and averages 40-70 feet tall at maturity. It is often planted as a source of firewood, not only because of its fast growth but because the wood burns very hot. Although the tree does not tolerate shade or extreme cold, it grows well in a variety of moisture, fertility, and slope conditions.
Nectar flows vary from year to year
Although it is considered a major honey plant in the eastern U.S., the black locust does not always produce a crop of honey. Nectar flow is very dependent on local weather conditions and some years the flowers yield little or no nectar at all. Some areas of the country report good crops once in every five years, but the frequency varies with the location.
Even when the flow is good, the flowering period is short. The flowers, which bloom in long, white racemes, open sometime between April and June for about ten days. During the rest of the year the trees are excellent habitat for invertebrates, birds, bats and other small mammals.
Nancy, a reader from Shady Grove Farm in Kentucky, has been enticing me with delectable descriptions of her current black locust flow. Below is a photo she sent of a tree in full bloom.
A final note: The black locust should not be confused with the honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos. Ironically, the honey locust produces very little—if any—honey. The tree was nicknamed “honey locust” because of the sweet pulp which was used for food by some of the North American tribes.
Black locust tree at Shady Grove Farm, Kentucky.