Bee Healthy


The Texas climate can be rough and varied as the landscape. In the winter months, temperate sun-soaked mornings can swiftly turn inclement, leaving many folks with a bad case of the sniffles. To help fend off your well-being woes, beekeeper Don Johnson, AKA The Honey Guy, recommends adding a teaspoon a day of honey to your health routine.

“There’s a lot of things in honey to boost your immunity,” said Johnson, a third-generation beekeeper, who keeps 50 to 100 hives in East Texa. “It has natural antihistamines, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidants and enzymes that are hard to come by.”

The healing powers of nature’s sweet and tawny-hued humectant harkens back to ancient Egypt. It was administered for a variety of health ailments, skin conditions, not to mention a mainstay in the Queen of the Niles’ beauty regiment.

“I place my bees in areas where they don’t have access to large crops,” said the Winona resident, “so they have to work the wildflowers. When they work the wildflowers you get a lot more pollen in your honey and that’s where your body gets its immunities.”

Johnson added that his honey is particularly useful for Texans with allergies; however its benefits are not limited to allergy relief. Different from the golden-tinctured store brands, Johnson’s honey is a locally-produced wildflower honey, which due to the bounty and variety of area wildflowers produces a darker, richer more intense-flavored honey.

“Every flower produces its own type of honey and every flower creates a different flavor,” Johnson said. “My honey is a mixture of flavors from the East Texas area. When you buy store bought honey it’s been pasteurized, filtered and cut with other things like corn syrup. It’s nothing like its original form, unlike mine.”

To treat allergies, the pollens found in a teaspoon of honey help your body build its immunity, but not enough to cause a reaction.

A favorite fixture at Canton First Mondays Trade Days, The Honey Guy vending booth is visited by holistic practitioners, Ayurvedic followers, as well as the health conscious honey enthusiast. Like the Dr Oz of honey health, Johnson is a veritable virtuoso of all things honey.

“The products from the hive are varied and you can make lots of products,” said the longtime member of the Texas Beekeepers Association. “Beeswax itself is almost as healthy as the honey.”

In addition to honey, Johnson offers a selection of creams and balms.

Ancient cultures have produced some form of beeswax skin cream for thousands of years, understanding its humectant healing power. Beeswax holds in moisture to promote skin softness and elasticity, as well as heals wounds with its antibiotic properties. Johnson recommends the beeswax cream to be used for everything from beauty treatments, wound care to soothing severe eczema.

“I also make a waterproof citronella bug repellent that’s natural and safer for kids,” he added, “instead of using chemicals, I use citronella. It will stay on if you’re swimming and lastseight hours.”

The beekeeper’s bounty is certainly one of Texas’ other natural resources and although it may not yield the profit of the Lone Star state’s black gold, it can be a lucrative hobby.

“We need small beekeepers in Texas,” Johnson commented on the dwindling bee population, noting the serious decline in wild and domestic bees nationwid. “With two hives you can make over 100 pounds of honey each year. It’s one hobby you can make money.  Its real easy.”

However, if you’re looking to go into the honey business for profit, you should consult the Texas Department of Health Services for food handling laws and guidelines/

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