Honey – Med

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating the vast majority of edible plants. It is estimated that 100,000 species of plants would become extinct without honeybees to pollinate them. The delicious honey they produce also provides wonderful benefits in soap and other beauty products!

Honey is a humectant which means it attracts moisture to itself, making it a wonderful addition to our soaps for hydrating and moisturizing skin. Honey & beeswax soften skin and create a long-lasting protective coating against environmental toxins. Honey’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities are soothing to skin irritations and it’s beneficial for acne.

honey_medHoney is divided into floral (or “blossom”) honey (obtained from nectar) and honeydew honey (obtained from honeydew, which is essentially plant sap that’s been secreted by aphids). Floral honey can be either monofloral, meaning that the nectar comes from one plant, or polyfloral, meaning that it comes from different honey-supplying plants. Honeydew honey contains 13 times more minerals than floral honey.

Honey and beeswax are plentiful in Croatia and Herzegovina, where there is a long beekeeping tradition going back to ancient times. The region can produce a wide variety of different honeys because there are 3 different types of climate – continental, mountain and Mediterranean. Croatia has over 100 species of bee-loving plants. And Herzegovina grows thousands of different plant species, with excellent honey coming from the Livno plains, the Čapljina area, Ljubuški and other areas.

Some of the most common honey varieties in Croatia and Herzegovina are:

    • Acacia Honey (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) – As you can see from the Latin name, “pseudoacacia” (or “false acacia”), acacia honey doesn’t really come from true acacia trees. Instead, it comes from the Black Locust tree. The name “locust” is said to have been given to Robinia by Jesuit missionaries, who believed that this was the tree that supported St. John in the wilderness, but it is native only to southeastern North America. It made its way around the world, however, and is one of the most important honey-supplying plants in Croatia, most commonly in Baranja, Podravina and west Slavonia. It’s also the source of the renowned acacia monofloral honey from France. Some say acacia honey is the best honey in the world.
    • Lavender Honey (Lavandula augustifolia) – This is not the honey you may find worldwide that has been infused with lavender oil. True, natural lavender honey is unadulterated and is generally white, opaque and crystalline with a delightful fragrance. Lavender is most plentiful on the island of Hvar, but is also found on the islands of Vis, Rab and Krk, as well as in the mountainous region of Croatia between Karlovac and Rijeka, in Sisak-Moslavina County, and in Osijek-Baranja County.
    • Lime/Linden Honey (Tilia) – The source of this honey is more accurately called linden, or “lipa” in all Slavic languages. There are many species of the Tilia tree, but none of them are related in any way to the lime citrus fruit tree (Citrus aurantifolia). Linden are native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, including Croatia and Herzegovina and produce a pale but richly flavored monofloral honey. In old Slavic mythology, lipa was considered a sacred tree and is a national emblem of Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Lipa contributed to the Croatian name for the month of June (Lipanj). And the Croatian currency, kuna, consists of 100 lipa (Tilia).
    • Sage Honey (Salvia officinalis) – Native to the Mediterranean, sage in Croatia is most common along the Dalmatian coast, Rijeka, the islands of Krk, Cres and Lošinj, and some parts of Istria. The nectar of sage is exceptionally high in glucose, fructose, and sucrose. This high sugar content makes sage honey one of the few varieties that will never crystallize. It is light in color, has a slightly herbal flavor and it one of the most popular honeys in the U.S. where sage grows abundantly, particularly in California.
    • Sunflower Honey (Helianthus annus) – Sunflowers are cultivated mainly for their oil, but a single plant can have up to 1.500 nectar-producing flowers, making a field of sunflowers heaven for honeybees! The honey’s color ranges from yellow to orange, and it has a pleasant taste. Sunflower honey contains little sucrose and quickly crystallizes. Sunflower honey has anti-microbial properties and is particularly beneficial for wound healing and dermatitis. There are extensive sunflower fields in Slavonia.
    • Sweet Chestnut Honey (Castanea sativa) – This honey comes from a species of flowering tree that is native to Europe and Asia Minor, and widely cultivated throughout the temperate world. In Croatia, you will find large woods in Medvednica, the Banovina region in central Croatia, and Istria. The raw nuts can be roasted and eaten; in fact, Roman soldiers were given chestnut porridge before entering battle.

We LOVE honey in soap and have other honey soap recipes in the works! Until then, try our Goat Milk, Honey & Oatmeal Bar.