NATURAL ENERGIZER HONEY
The natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from secretions coming from living organisms feeding on plants, that bees together and combine with specific ingredients, store and leave to ripen in the combs of the hive.
Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by bees and other insects from the nectar of flowers. The definition of honey stipulated a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substances.
Honey is one of nature’s wonders and has been treasured commodity for centuries. It is acknowledged that bees have been producing honey for 150 million years, but some of the earliest written references about honey have been found dating back to the 40th century BC in ancient Egypt. In ancient history, the ancient Egyptian and middle-eastern people used honey for embalming the dead. In jewish tradition, honey is also a symbol for the new year. At the traditional meal for that holiday, apple slices are dipped into honey and eaten to bring a sweet new year.
For around 2000 years honey has been used to treat a variety of ailments through it was not until modern times that the cause of infection was understood. Now, modern research into the use of honey as an anti-microbial agent has revealed potential treatments for a variety of ailments.
In ayurveda honey is called as ‘Madhu’. Its qualities are explained in the ayurvedic classics are: rasa (taste): Madhuram (sweet), anurasa (secondary taste): kashayam (astringent), guna (qualities): guru (heavy), ruksha (dry), virya (potency): hot (ushna), vipaka (property at the end of digestion): katu (pungent), action on doshas: aggravates vata, scrapes kapha, normalizes pitta and rakta
Ayurveda explains another special quality of honey. Honey is called as ‘Yogavahi’ which means that the substance has a quality of penetrating deep into the tissues when used with other herbs.
Action on body
Honey is very good for eyes and eyesight. It quenches thirst. Dissolves kapha. It is antipoisonous. Stops hiccoughs
It is very useful in urinary disorders, worm infestations, bronchial asthma, cough and diarrhea and nausea/ vomiting.
Cleanses and heals the wounds
Helps in quick healing of deep wounds and initiates the growth of healthy granulation of tissue
Classification of honey:
Extracted honey: It is liquid honey separated form the comb. It is most readily available and used.
Comb honey: a popular honey product. The honey is sold still in the wax comb. Comb honey was packaged by installing wooden framework in special supers, but this labor intensive method is drying, and being replaced by plastic rings or cartridges. After removal from the hive, a clear clover is usually fitted onto the cartridge.
Raw honey: honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, straining without adding heat. Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Local raw honey is sought for allergy suffers as the pollen impurities lessen the sensitivity to hay fever.
Chunk honey: honey packed in wide mouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey surrounded by extracted liquid honey.
Strained honey or filtered honey: honey, which had been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, and other defects) without removing pollen. Preferred by the health food trade – it has a cloudy appearance due to the induced pollen, but it also tends to crystallize more quickly than unfiltered honey.
Unfiltered honey: honey processed by very fine filtration under high pressure to remove all extraneous solids and pollen grains. Unfiltered honey is very clear and has a longer shelf life, because it crystallizes mores slowly.
Types of honey according to ayurveda:
Eight types of honey described in ayurveda depending on the type of bee, which collect it. They are pouttika, bhramara, kshoudra, makshika, chatra, arghy, aoudalaka, dala.
Pouttika: this type of honey is collected by very lare beeds from the nectar of poisonous flowers. It increases vata, causes gout and burning sensation in chest. It is also sedative, reduces fat.
Bhramara: this honey is collected by large bees and sticky in nature. It is useful for raktapitta, mutajatyam (heaviness in urination), abhisyandhi, pitta-karaka and cold in nature and sweet at the end if digestion.
Maakshika: honey collected by medium sized honey bees. It is very light and dry natured. Useful in vatakapha and kapha diseases, kasa (cough), swasam (dyspnoea), kamala (jaundice), helps in curing kshaya (tuberculosis).
Chatra: it is heavy and cold in nature useful in gout (arthritis), eucoderma (shiwtram)
Aadharya: good for eyes but causes arthritis.
Oudalaka: useful in skin diseases, and helps in modulation of voice.
Dala: dry and reduces vomiting
Amongst all the above ‘makshika’ is considered as the best type with immense medicinal properties.
Navina madhu (fresh honey) and purana madhu (old honey):
Navina madhu: honey that is fresh or recently collected is navina madhu. It gives nourishment. Liquefies kapha. Honey which is newly collected from bee bive increases body weight and is a mild laxative.
Purana madhu: honey when becomes old is called as purana madhu. Its qualities are graahi (adsorbent), ruksha (dry), medhanasaka (reduces fat). Honey which is stored and old helps in metabolism of fats and scrapes kapha.
Composition of honey:
Honey is a mixture of sugars, waters and other compounds. The specific compositiono f honey will depend largely on the mix of flowers consumed by bees that produced the honey. Honey has a density of about 1500 kg/m3 (50% denser than water) that means 12-13 pounds per gallon.
Typical honey analysis:
Fructose: 38%, glucose: 31%, sucrose: 1%, water: 17%, other sugars: 9% (maltose, melezitose), ash: 0.17%
It contains proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. It is volatile aromatic substance.
Honey also gives us energy about 300 to 320 calories per 100 ml of honey. One teaspoon of honey would give us about 15 to 16 calories. Various ingredients of honey have helped it become not only a sweet liquid but also a natural product with high nutritional and medicinal value.
The medicinal quality, taste, color, aroma of honey differs according to the geographical area and the species of plants from which it has been collected.
Uses of honey
The main uses of honey are in baking, spreading on bread or toast, and as an addition to various beverages such as tea. Beacuase honey is hygroscopic (drawing moisture from the air), a small quantity of honey added to a pastry recipe will retard staling. Raw honey also contains enzymes that help in its digestion, several vitamins and antioxidants.
Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage mead, which is also known as honey wine and methelgin.
Honey is used in traditional fold medicine and apitherapy and is an excellent natural preservative.
In all preparations it enhances the medicinal qualities of herbal preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues
Therapeutic uses of honey:
It contains sugars that are quickly absorbed by our digestive system and converted into energy; this can be used as instant energizer.
It is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, debrides wounds, removes malodor, growth of healing tissue and dries up.
Honey’s anti-inflammatory activity reduces edema and minimizes scarring and it stimulates growth of granulation and epithelial tissues to speed healing, not only rapidly clear existing infection but also it protects wounds from additional infection.
It acts as a sedative and is very useful in bedwetting disorders
It is a very good antioxidant, it plays a major role in the prevention of cancer as well as heart disease
It restores the damaged skin and gives soft and young looks. It has the ability to attract water. It is also safe for sensitive skin
Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic nature and enzymically produced hydrogen peroxide.
Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases
Honey may be beneficial to athletes by reducing fatigue. Honey is a good source of glucose and fructose (according to national honey institute)
Honey may be useful in sore throat also. It may not heal your sore throat but it will make it feel better as it heals. The taste may also take your mind off the pain.
Honey that is local to where one lives can also help with seasonal pollen allergies because it contains the same pollen that is producing the allergy – consumed in this way it can act as an immune booster.
Honey diluted in water helpful for stomach aches and dehydration.
Precautions to be taken before using honey:
Honey should not be heated
Honey should not be consumed when you are working in hot environment where you are exposed to more heat.
Honey should never be mixed with rain water, hot, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages, ghee and mustard oil. When honey is mixed with these the poisonous properties get enhanced and cause imbalance of doshas.
Checking purity of honey:
A cotton wick dipped in pure honey when lighted with a matchstick burns and shows the purity of honey. If adulterated, the presence of water will not allow the honey to burn; if it does it will produce a cracking sound
Pure honey does not dissolve in water quickly but impure honey dissolves quickly when compared to pure honey. Mix a spoon of honey in a cup of water and find out whether it dissolves to check its purity
Few home remedies with honey:
1. Mix 2 teaspoon of honey with carrot juice and consume regularly. This helps to improve eyesight and is very helpful those who sit before computer for long time.
2. Mix 2 tsp of honey with equal quantity of ginger juice and should be consumed frequently. It helps for cold, cough and congested chest.
3. One glass of luke warm water taken with two teaspoon of honey and 1 tsp of lemon juice in early morning reduces fat and purifies blood
4. Consuming one spoon of honey daily helps us to lead a healthy life.
Global ayurveda (Dec-Jan 2007)