Throughout ancient times, people have cherished honey for both its sweet flavor and its therapeutic powers. From the buzzing hives of busy bees, this golden elixir has found its way into every corner of the world, with each region boasting its unique flavors and qualities. Bhutanese honey has become extremely well-known due to its superiority, adding to the buzz. According to a recent study by experts, the highest quality honey might be from Bhutan. The honey, produced by the native bees of the landlocked country, is said to be among the purest and most exquisite in the world. The country’s pristine environment and sustainable beekeeping practices make its honey a premium product in the global market.
Bhutan's Rich Biodiversity- Haven for bees and honey production
Bhutan is a sanctuary for bees for the production of honey due to its rugged mountain terrain, extensive forest cover, and rich biodiversity. The Bhutanese people have lived in harmony with the natural environment for centuries, relying on subsistence agriculture and pastoral farming to sustain themselves. This approach, which balances economic development with environmental protection and cultural preservation, is integral to fostering Gross National Happiness. Beekeeping is an important aspect of this method, as it supports local communities by providing a sustainable source of income, while also protecting the natural environment.
Bhutan is home to six different species of honey bees Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis laboriosa, Apis florea, and Meliponine and Apis mellifera, which thrive in the country’s natural environment. The six agroecological zones of the nation offer a wide variety of flora and fauna, which fosters the development of various bee species. Bhutan’s abundant flora enables the production of premium honey, which is valued for its distinctive flavor and therapeutic benefits. Bhutanese honey also holds great cultural significance in traditional Bhutanese food and medicine.
Eco-Friendly Beekeeping Practices of Bhutanese Communities
Beekeeping has been a part of Bhutanese culture for a long time, especially in the southern communities where rural habitation predominates. Here traditional methods such as handmade wooden beehives hanging in trees are still used today. Beekeeping for honey production was considered sinful in Buddhist beliefs. The indigenous practices often led to the harm and death of bees. However, with the introduction of modern beekeeping techniques, it has become a sustainable and lucrative business in Bhutan.
Modern Beekeeping Method
In the central part of the country, amidst the fields, a riot of color, with hues of pink, purple, and white all blending, one could find several beehives hidden away in the flowering plants, buzzing with activity. It is a beautiful sight to behold around the time of August in Bumthang.
Modern beekeeping started in Bumthang in 1986, and this venture has gained momentum in some selected parts of Bhutan. The technique practiced by the community involves the use of movable frame hives. These hives allow beekeepers to easily manage their bees without causing harm or damage to the honeycombs and larvae. The National Highland Research and Development Center (NHRDC) in Bumthang has provided technical support for the management of European honeybees (Apis mellifera) in these modern hives. This has allowed beekeepers to produce the highest quality honey. They also have been able to produce desired products such as honey, wax, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, honey venom, and bee venom
Bhutanese beekeepers place a high value on maintaining a clean environment. Bees in Bhutan forage on mountain flowers in a clean environment free from pollution. This contributes to the purity of honey, which is known for its strong flavor and aroma. Beekeepers also give the health of their bees priority by providing them with year-round access to a range of flowering plants. Throughout the winter and summer, buckwheat fields are particularly crucial for bee populations.
The Highest Quality Honey from Bhutan
A recent study by experts from the Republic of Korea found that honey from Bhutan was of premium quality.
Bhutan has a long tradition of rural beekeeping, but modern technology is helping to fully unlock the potential of this industry. The quantity and quality of honey produced in Bhutan varies by region and the type of bee species managed by the beekeepers. The east central region produces the most honey, followed by the west central, western, and eastern regions.
According to a recent study conducted in 2022 by specialists from the Republic of Korea, the highest quality honey was from Bumthang and Tsirang, Bhutan. “Apis mellifera” bees are the source of the fragrant and delectable Highland Honey from Bumthang. This honey is in high demand and beekeepers have no problem selling it. The color of the honey may vary from pale yellow to dark amber, with darker honey containing more minerals for human health. Pure honey is 1.5 times sweeter than regular sugar and contains various natural minerals.
The value of honey bees in Bhutan is multilateral. In addition to serving as a source of food, they also play a significant role in the country’s sociocultural life. It also helps in environmental preservation and the betterment of the poor and disadvantaged populations in the country.
OGOP- The Most Trusted Producer of Bhutanese Honey
One Gewog One Product (OGOP) is a Royal initiative programme that has been making waves in Bhutan for its commitment to promoting locally-sourced, sustainable products that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. Among their many offerings, the honey produced by OGOP stands out as one of the purest and highest quality honey products in the country. Their honey is carefully crafted using local wisdom and sustainable methods. It is completely natural and free of any artificial additives or preservatives. But what sets OGOP’s honey apart from other honey products in Bhutan is its unique blend of superfoods such as cordyceps, turmeric, and lemon. These additions not only add a delicious taste but also provide numerous health benefits.
OGOP’s commitment to producing natural, sustainable, and high-quality honey has earned them the reputation of being the most trusted producer of honey in Bhutan. Taste some of their delectable honey products and support the initiative that is making a positive impact on the environment and the local community.
Uses and Benefits
Honey, regarded as a superior health food worldwide, is a remarkable natural creation that offers numerous health benefits. It is a widely used sweetener in various cultures and serves as a fundamental ingredient in traditional medicines, particularly in Ayurveda. Honey has several benefits and is known to offer healing properties.
Raw honey contains phytochemicals and polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants. These antioxidants can help remove harmful free radicals from our bodies that can cause serious health problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Boosts Immune System
Honey is a natural remedy that can help cure a sore throat and fight infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Buckwheat honey has the most antioxidants, making it a great choice for boosting immunity when consumed regularly.
Aids in the skin and face nourishment
Honey is excellent for the skin as it moisturizes and nourishes it. It is especially good for dry skin and is easy to apply. Raw honey is great for unclogging pores and moisturizing dry skin, including cracked lips during winter. Honey masks can also help to even out skin tone.
Natural remedy for cough
Studies have indicated that consuming a tablespoon of honey might soothe sore throats. Honey is the favorite natural cough cure, particularly for children because it helps to alleviate nocturnal cough, enabling restful sleep.
Helps in healing wounds
Honey is a natural antiseptic, which makes it useful for treating wounds, bruises, cuts, burns, and infections. It is traditionally used as a home remedy for curing wounds and injuries. It was discovered that honey kills bacteria caused by any skin injury.
How to include honey in your diet?
Get ready to add some buzz to your diet with these creative ways to incorporate the highest quality honey from Bhutan!
- Transform your dressings and marinades into a delectable delight with a touch of honey.
- Stir honey into your coffee or tea.
- drizzle it over your favorite breakfast treats like toast or pancakes.
- Spread some raw honey over whole-grain toast and top it with peanut butter.