Honey (Madhu in Hindi) is the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from secretions coming from living organisms feeding on plants, that bees gather, transform and combine with specific ingredients, store and leave to ripen in the combs of the hive. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to, as it is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.
Ingredients of honey
- Sugars like fructose, glucose, sucrose maltose, lactose and other disaccharides and trisaccharides.
- Proteins, facts, vitamins, minerals enzymes and amino acids.
- Volatile aromatic substances.
- Ashes and water etc.
Various ingredients of honey have helped it to become not only a sweet liquid but also an natural product with high nutritional and medicinal value. The medicinal quality, taste, texture, colour, aroma of honey differs according to the geographical area and the species of plants from which it has been collected.
Since honey contains electrolytes, in the form of acids and minerals, it exhibits varying degrees of electrical conductivity. Measurements of the electrical conductivity are used to determine the quality of honey in terms of ash content.The effect honey has on light is useful for determining the type and quality. Variations in the water content alter the refractive index of honey. Water content can easily be measured with a refractometer. Typically, the refractive index for honey will range from 1.504 at 13% humidity, to 1.474 at 25%. Honey also has an effect on polarized light, in that it will rotate the polarization plane. The fructose will give a negative rotation, while the glucose will give a positive one. The overall rotation can be used to measure the ratio of the mixture.
Types of Honey
There are Eight types of honey are described in ayurveda depending on the type of bee, which collects it. They are
Amongst all the above “Makshika” is considered as the best type with immense medicinal properties.
THERAPEUTIC USES OF HONEY
- It contains sugars, which are quickly absorbed by our digestive-system and converted in energy; this can be used as instant energizer.
- As it is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, growth of healing tissue and dries it up.
- Honey acts as a sedative and is very useful in bed wetting disorders.
- Honey is a very good antioxidant, which restores the damaged skin and gives soft , young looks.
- Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic nature and encymically produced hydrogen peroxide.
- Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacterial and viral diseases.
In ‘Astanga Hridaya’ the great classic of ayureda, the therapeutic uses of honey are explained as follows.
- Honey is very good for the eyes and eyes-sight.
- It quenches thirst.
- Dissolves kapha.
- Reduces effects of poison.
- Stops hiccups.
- It is very useful in urinary tract disorders, worm infestations, bronchial asthma, cough, diarrhea and nausea, vomiting.
- Cleanse the wounds.
- It heals wounds.
- Helps in quick healing of deep wounds.
- Initiates growth of healthy granulation tissue.
- Honey, which is newly collected from bee-hive increases body weight and is a mild laxative.
- Honey which is stored and is old helps in metabolism of fat and scrapes Kapha.
Ayurveda explains another special quality of honey. Honey is called as “Yougavhi”. The substance, which has quality of penetrating the deepest tissue is called as Yogavhai. When honey is used with other herbal preparations it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BEFORE USING HONEY
- Honey should not be mixed with hot foods.
- 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 and spicy food, and fermented beverages like whisky rum, brandy etc. ghee and mustard.
- Honey includes nectar of various flowers of which some may be poisonous. Poison has hot qualities. When honey is mixed with hot and spicy foods the poisonous properties get enhanced and cause imbalance of doshas.
FEW HOME REMEDIES WITH HONEY
- Mix 2 teaspoons of honey with carrot juice and consume regularly. This helps to improve eyesight and is very helpful for those who sit before computer for long hours.
- In cold, cough and congested chest mix 2 teaspoons of honey with equal quantity of ginger juice and should be consumed frequently.
- A mixture of blank pepper powder, honey and ginger juice in equal quantities, when consumed thrice daily help to relieve the symptoms of asthma.
- Regular use of one teaspoon of garlic juice mixed with two spoons of honey help to control blood pressure.
- One glass of warm water taken with two teaspoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in early morning reduces fat and purifies blood.
- Consuming one spoon of honey daily help us to lead a healthy long life.
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