Why Raw Honey Lasts Forever

Ever wonder why the raw honey you have in your kitchen can sit in the cupboard for months on end (or even years) without going bad?

It's because of GOx.

GOx is short for glucose oxidase.

Protein With a Punch

Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that oxidizes glucose into glucolactone which converts oxygen into hydrogen peroxide in the process.

What this means is: it acts as an antioxidant - or preservative.

In short, GOx is an all natural bactericide – built right into the chemical composition of raw honey. 

Aside from keeping honey from going bad, it has scads of other uses. In fact, glucose oxidase is the center of a 5 billion dollar biotech industry. 

GOx Rocks

Among many other things, glucose oxidase is used for measuring blood glucose. It works by turning the glucose in blood (which is difficult to measure) into hydrogen peroxide (which is easy to measure). This makes it an ideal biosensor for diabetes.

Here's a short-list of some of its other uses.

GOx Uses:

  • food preservative
  • in baking: helps increase dough consistency and quality
  • color stabilizer
  • in wine production (lowers alcohol content and adds bactericidal effect)
  • antimicrobial agent in oral hygiene products
  • acidity regulator in food production
  • biofuel cells
  • in packaging: removes oxygen from food packaging

Honey on The Skin and Hair

No wonder raw honey is so fabulous for skin. You can use it to wash your face or leave it on as a moisturizing, cleansing mask.

If you have time, try leaving a honey mask on the skin (and in the hair) for as long as you please. I've experimented with the leave-on time, and a 2 hour honey mask is a real treat for the skin.

Because honey easily dissolves in water, the mask rinses out like a dream.

Bonus Tip: if you decide to do a lengthy honey mask, don't steam iron anything (so I learned after having to re-wash my freshly ironed, honey-dripped tablecloth)

Links to More Info

wikipedia: glucose oxidase
Protein data bank: glucose oxidase
PubMed: glucose oxidase
PubChem: glucolactone
wikipedia: asperillus niger
Wiley: Antibacterial components of honey (2012)
American Bee Journal: Inhibine and glucose oxidase in honey - a review (1966)


Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Hi Lise,

I have a friend who keeps bees and I use the honey I buy from her on my face as well as in my food.
Thank you for the reminder, after a party last night today was the perfect day to put honey on my face :-)

María said…
It's an amazing ingredient. I've added it in a balm for irritated skin I've made (like a whipped butter)with aloe vera gel, and works like a dream :)
LisaLise said…
HI Tina - Ooh you lucky gal! Having your own personal honey and beeswax connection. I did a honey hair mask this morning and I just love honey every which way it is used.

Hi María - That balm sounds fabulous! I have only worked with powdered honey in any of my products, but imagine working with the raw ingredient adds a certain something to the texture. :)
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Putting on my honey mask on Sunday was a treat and I decided to do a honey mask every day for a week to see if it would make my skin feel and look better, and cause I have honey that needs to be used so I can try this years harvest :-)

So I have been doing 15-20 minute masks every night since Sunday, that's 5 days including today, and my skin loves it! I have hormonal breakouts on my chin and neck and they take forever to heal but its like they are finally healing so I'm keeping up the challenge and might even extend it :-)

Again, thanks for the reminder Lise! Sometimes the most simple things are the best :-)
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Seems I would like today to be Thursday, not Wednesday... I am on day four of my honey challenge, even more impressed with the results now :-)
LisaLise said…
Hi Tina - always a pleasure to hear your input! So glad this is working well for you. I must admit, I find a honey mask the quickest and easiest mask ever! :)
Tina Rasmussen, CPH said…
Thank you Lise :-)
I must admit there's been a few nights this week where the honey was almost dripping off my skin due to the heat - I have learned to use a much thinner layer :-)
I still like how the honey seems to keep the breakouts under control.
LisaLise said…
Tina - I'm giggling because of your description of honey dripping due to the heat. I was silly enough to start steam ironing things with my honey mask on- I'm sure you can imagine how that went! So pleased to know this is working well for you. I have even been washing my hair in honey (leaving it on as a mask on face and hair first .- then rinsing). I'm thinking of doing a blog post on my experience with it. :)
Unknown said…
Is there any powdered honey that’s 100% honey? I mostly see things that have syrups, sugars, etc.

LisaLise said…
HI Marcus - yes there is. Check cosmetics suppliers for this ingredient.
Britta said…
Hi Lise.
How do you put the honey in the hair? It seems too sticky to distribute properly.
LisaLise said…
Hi Britta — Added as an ingredient in a deep cleansing hair mask, it’s lovely.