Uses of Honey

Dr. A. Amsath | March 26, 2018

Uses of Honey

Bee honey is an important constituent of the diet of many animals, such as bears and badgers, and is put to many uses by humans as medicines. 

1. Honey Used as food

Honey is a rich, readily assimilable energy­ giving food and with milk forms a perfect and complete food.  provides ready energy and is given as the first food for the new-born. It is so highly nutritious that one kg of honey is estimated to be equivalent to five kg of milk and  1.5 kg of meat or 50 eggs. It can be used with coffee, tea or milk in place of sugar. Honey mixed with butter and curds can be used with chapati, biscuit or toast. It is used on fruits, in salad dressinas, canning and preserving.

Nutritional Value of Honey Honey is full of energy, since it contains carbohydrates. A teaspoon of honey liberates 100 calories. Honey is formed of dextrose and levulose which pro­vides energy. Honey is also considered to be the "Drug of immor­tality". It has the antibacterial property. It enhances appetite. It is useful in relieving dryness of the mouth and body. It provides essential aminoacids required for the growth of the body. Honey improves metabolism. Honey is more effective with regard to digestion. Minerals found in the honey aids in blood circulation.

As stated before, honey is absorbed by the system without effort. It passes into the blood stream  rapidly. When digestion is impaired due to disease or age, ordinary sugar can be profitably replaced by honey.

Among other minerals, honey contains iron and calcium. Iron is an important constituent of our blood. Its deficiency is indicated by paleness in sickly persons and invalids. Honey is good for them. Iron stimulates to functioning of vital processes and is therefore very important. Calcium builds up the bones and makes the heart work properly. Therefore honey is the thing for children, adults and those who are for advanced in age.

If on account of excessive sweetness it becomes difficult to take honey as it is, it may be taken diluted with cold or lukewarm water or milk as suitable. It may be taken with the various articles of food, namely bread, biscuit, roti, cake and the like. Fried or puffed rice (Moorhi or Mur mura) and honey make a delicious tiffin.

In case of specialised baked items like bread, biscuits and cakes honey is issued as sweetening agent instead of sugar for not only making them healthy but also attractive due to beautiful aroma contributed by honey. Honey is often used by spreading on cake or slices of bread.

Besides being consumed raw, honey is also used for preparation of various recipes which are popular all around the globe. A type of vinegar popularly sold in Europe as honey vinegar which is manufactured from honey by quick vinegar process of fermentation. Chemically it is identical to synthetic vinegar in so far as acetic acid content and moisture is concerned but it is more popular because of its flavour and taste particu­larly when used with salads. The second type of honey vinegar is prepared by adding 4% synthetic vinegar in 100% honey base. It can be packed and sold and used with onion, ginger, garlic, grapes and vege­tables as salads. It is not only tasty but refreshing. Besides above ginger in honey vinegar, garlic in honey vinegar and grapes in honey vinegar can be packed and sold. They cannot only popular packed food but good for health too. While garlic in honey vinegar controls cholesterol, all of them corrects vomiting, dysentery and various stomach ailments.

Honey jamun chutney is prepared with honey jamun and bael leaves. It is a popular recipe in Hindi belt. It is not only tasty but useful for diabetic patients and liver ailments.

Honey mineral water with 8% honey water and mineral carbonated and sold are not tasty but also digestive and prevents dehydration.

Pan Parag is gaining popularity of late. A number of branded pan parags have now flooded ourniarket. But honey panparag is rarely found which could have been healthier too. Honey pan parag is prepared with betel leaves extract, menthol silver leaves and sweetening agent. Out of total sugar 25% may be honey. It is consumed after meals as fresher but also helps in digestion and removes gases.

Honey fruit jelly is tastier than normal fruit jelly. It is prepared with juices of various fruits like grapes, apple, carrot, pineapple, orange, guava etc. out of total sweetening matter should be honey. Concentrated Honey‑Lemon drink (Lemon syrup with honey) can ideally be a good refreshing and non rishing drink. It is prepared with 25% hone), added with lime lemon in concentrated Sugar Syrup. Honey cola is refreshing drink useful in ulcers and gas troubles. As in other cases out of total sweetening material 25% should be honey rest being sugar. Vitamin C and flavour is added to it and carbonated. Similarly 25% of the total sweetening matter honey is added besides, lemon juice, rose water and menthal to prepare what is called travelling chutney which can be carried by tourists during on journey. This chutney apart from freshening the mouth has capacity to stop vomiting.

Apart from recipes as mentioned honey itself it consumed considered to be a complete food. Apart from yielding energy giving sugars as discussed before it contains small amount of protein (to the extent of 1 % or less) with useful amino acids like leucine, histidine, alanine, methion­ine and aspartic acid. In addition honey on an average contains 0.2% which normally includes 0.018 % Magnecium, 0.001 % Sulphur, 0.019% Phosphorus, 0.007% iron and traces of iodine, calcium, chlorine, copper, manganese, potassium, silicone and sodium. However, quantity of min­erals varies depending on flora and other conditions. Honey contains almost all the vitamins of B group and Vitamin C. One kg of honey contains on an average 0.1 mgm of Vitamin B, (thiamin), 1.5 mgm of Vitamin B2 (reboflavin), 2 mgm of Vitamin B3 (niacin), 2 mgm of Vit. B5 (Pentothenic acid), 5 mgm of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), traces of Vit. B8 (protein) and Vit. B, (folvic acid) besides of course 54.9 mg of Vitamin C. The quantum of vitamins also varies according to flora and other conditions. All these nutrients being predigested it is observed in the body as soon as consumed.

The substance involved in all the bio‑physiological process are also added to honey from plant source and also be honey‑bees. They are commonly termed as enzymes. The most important of them are invertase, amylase, sacarase, katalase, peroxidase and lypase. These enzymes help us in digesting food besides helping in growth of our body, They also help in increasing resistance of our body. It is said many of these enzymes can prevent allergy, asthma and many hereditary diseases. It may be noted that these enzymes are destroyed by excessive heating of honey.

Honey contains about 0.3% of organic acids and lactones. They add to physiological activity of honey. So far identified acid components are acetic, hydrochloric, butyric, atric, gluconic, lactic, malic, phosphoric, pyroglutanic and succinic acids. The lactones are composed of gluclac­tones. Besides several other hormones and trace substances secreted from the flowers and the systems of bees are also formed in honey to add its value not only as food but also in various other ways.

The honey is thus a health food and deserves to be part of our daily died. It should also be form part of our recipes as principal sweetening agent. In various other countries like U.S.A., Germany, Italy etc., honey is being used as one of the principle sweetening agent in bakery, or other packed foods. In Our Country however it is not popularised to that extent but consumed only when a physician or vaid prescribed. There is also a wrong notion, that honey should not be consumed during summer. It is totally wrong. Honey is a health food suitable for all season and time. We must encourage consumption of honey regularly to ensure better National health.

2. Honey used as medicine

Honey plays an important role as medicine.It is used as a carrier in many ayurvedic and unani medicines. It is by itself used as a laxative and a blood purifier, and as a curative for sore, ulcers in tongue and sore in throat etc. Regular use of honey advocated for stomach and intestinal ulcers.

Various medicinal qualities of honey as described by old and now system of medicine are:Laxative * antianaemic * antipyretic * antitussive • sedative * emollient            * antitoxic* antiseptic

Antiseptic and healing properties of honey are well known. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians, used honey for preservation of mumies. Modem scientific: experiments have proved the antibiotic properties of honey which is evident from the following observation conducted in U.S.A. in respect of the mortality periods for various bacteria in honey

Bacillus typhosus (the typhoid bacterium) 48 hrs in pure honey

  1. Bacillus paratyephosus (A&B) 24 hrs in pure honey

Pricurno cocci (the pneumonia bacterium) 72 hrs in pure honey

  1. Bacillus dysentery 10 hrs in pure honey
  2. Enteritis bacterium 40 hrs in pure honey

The antibiotic properties of honey are not attributed only to the 70% or more sugars available but more so due to the continuous presence of hydrogen peroxide and other antibiotic factors. Any wound or carbuncle can be dressed with honey to heal faster than any other bandage. According to Hypocrat, the famous physician of ancient Greece, honey warms up, cleans and heals wounds and carbuncles. Honey, with the various therapcutical values is used in the ailments of lungs, eyes, ears, skin, piles and conditions of anaemia and diabetes etc.

Honey can be used as medicine in two different ways. Either honey can be a intermediate for preparing a medicinal preparations with various other ingredients or honey can itself be considered as medicine applied externally or internally with or without other natural items.

Honey increasingly being used for manufacture of various medi­cines. Chyavanprash a we 11 known tonic used commonly in India since several centuries is manufactured with honey as base. Now it is popu­larised again and sold in packed containers. Various tonics are now being prepared with honey as base all over the world. Using 100% honey as base various cough syrups and expectorants are being prepared, packed and sold. There are both herbal or pharmaceutical cough syrups with honey base being available under various brands.

Honey is known to be good for eyes. Herbal honey eye drops may be prepared with 100% apiary honey as base with camphor, Amla and rose water. A drop of eye drop used twice daily improves eye sight, energises eye tissues, cleans the eye andremoves infection.

A general honey tonic prepared with 100% honey as base and various fruit juices can be useful as general tonic besides for liver patients, anaemic patients and kidney patient. Honey gulkand prepared with 100% honey as base and rose leaves is useful for diseases related to blood and used as laxative while consumed with milk. Honey gum paint is prepared with 100% honey base with babool gum, menthol and clove oil. If applied it is useful for gingivitis, checks gum bleeding and relieves tooth ache.

Besides prepared drug as above honey itself is considered as medi­cine. A tea spoon full of honey crushed to paste with a pinch of black pepper and 5 to 7 tulsi leaves (preferably black leaves) taken early morning before brushing the tooth is sure to bring down eusonophillia of blood. The preparation replacing black pepper with few drops of ginger juice cures cough and hick ups, About 10 to 15 drops of honey with equal quantity of castor oil cures constipation of children.

Ten grams of honey taken with 10 to 20 grams of juice of Durva grass taken twice or thrice daily cures blood dysentery. Honey is used in various proportions to diseases of children. Ten grains of honey with 10 grams of juice of root of Mutha grass cures amoebic dysentery even blood dysentery.

Honey with ginger is excellent expectorant besides curing hickups and cold.

Honey with garlic controls chlorosterol, prevents cold and prevents body ache. Ten grams of honey with five grams of garlic juice cures various pains. Five grams of honey with 3 grams of amla powder revives liver pain.

Ten grams of honey taken with 60 grams of ripe coconut water or 20 gms of juice of Champa leaves (Michelle Champaka) removes all types of intestinal worms.

Ten grams of honey crushed to paste with 10 grams of kismis (dried grapes) if taken relieves pain in uterus.

Twenty grams of semi solid extract of neem bark (20 grams of bark boiled in 370 grams of water till the 45 grams of residue remains which is to be used) taken with 10 grams of honey cures jaundice, hepatitis and intestinal worms.

Five grams of honey taken with 30 grams ofjuice of Siuli leaves relieves fever due to TB, malaria or various chronic fevers.

Five grams of honey with three grams of peepul powder if taken relieves haemptysis.

Two and a half gram of Baheda husk taken with honey relieves hickups.

 Semi solid extract of Triphala (Amla, Haridra and Baheda) taken with honey is useful for jaundice and hepatitis.

Five grains of honey with ten grams of juice of "Durba" grass and a pinch of sugar cures haemtysis.

 Five grams of honey with three grams of “Boch" powder controls epilepsy.

A tea spoon full of honey taken with lemon juice and tipid warm water at early morning prevents cold and cough, prevents accumulation of fat, helps in slimming and relieves breathing troubles keeping active round the day.

Weak and extra slim people may take honey with milk at night and with breakfast. This will help them gain weight.

Honey with warm milk or warm water with a pinch of salt soothens the system and removes constipation.

Two or three tea spoonfull of honey taken every bed time is helpful to those who suffer from insomnia.

One or two tea spoon full of honey each morning and at bed time daily removes anaemic condition. However in this case darker honey should be preferred.

Honey is equally good for external applications. Charaka Samhita suggests of honey with ghee externally which soothens haemarrhoids.

Honey used as eye drop is extremely useful. However, it should be noted that there is a general belief in India that only lotus honey or padma honey is good for eye. But the fact remains lotus is one of the few flora which does not have nectar hence in real sense lotus honey does not exist. This unscientific belief should be broken or otherwise honey consumers may continue to be cheated.

Honey with juice of Malati leaves makes an excellent ear drop.

Honey with juice of Parbal leaves (Pointed gourd) if applied at centre of the head relieves head reeling.

Pure honey can be applied on any wound or infections of skin to ensure cure.

It is also effective against ulcers, sceptic wounds and ulcers besides boils and pimples. It can safely be applied on sensitive places like vagina or penis.

Honey with slaked lime while still warm be applied externally on mumps or any swelling.

A recipe prepared with a tea spoon full of raw milk of cow half a tea spoon full of honey, half a tea spoon full of carrot juice and half a tea spoon full of lime juice if applied on entire body when freshly prepared ensures healthy skin and brighter complexion. All above medicinal virtues are only a fraction of total virtue.

While consuming honey regularly either as food or as medicines few precautions are to be taken. Honey not to be consumed in equal proportion with ghee or butter since it acts as poison. Honey need to be stored below 6WF or 151°C as otherwise there is possibility of formation of hydroxy methyle furfural which is harmful for human consumption. Honey should not be taken with steaming hot food.