Description & Source
Honey is the delightfully sweet golden nectar which was the world's standard sweetener for thousands of years before being overtaken by refined sugar in the 20th century. Bees have a major role in honey making. They use the nectar from plant blossoms and add through secretion, a glucose oxidase enzyme that assists with the conversion of the nectar into honey.
The bees help evaporate the moisture in the nectar through the movement of their wings, and when the moisture is about 17%, they store it in the cells of the honeycomb and seal it with beeswax.
Raw honey is honey that is unprocessed, unfiltered, and containes all its natural nutrients such as pollen, propolis, honeycomb and live enzymes.
Honey contains over two hundred different substances. It contains malic, citric, tartatic, oxalic and other organic acids which when combined with the enzymes catalase and peroxidase, give honey its antibacterial properties. Due to its hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase content, it makes a very effective antiseptic.
Honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Here is a listing of the major ones:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
There are many different kinds of honey available, listed here are just some of them:
- Clover (most common)
- Manuka (from New Zealand)
- Orange Blossom
Honey is valued as an antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal and humectant. Being an antibiotic, it is a very effective as a wound healer, and treatment for various skin conditions. Since honey is over 80% sugar and has natural acidity, it's an inhospitable environment for the single-celled microbes that form infections.
It has a history of being used in the treatment of cataracts, conjunctivitis, chills, fevers, sore throats and the common cold.
Honey has been used for beauty treatments by legendary beauties such as Cleopatra who enjoyed milk and honey baths, and Poppea, the Roman Emperor Nero's wife, who used milk and honey for her complexion.
Since it is a humectant, honey attracts and retains water, which makes it an valued ingredient in face creams. It's antioxidant properties helps it to protect the skin from UV (ultraviolet) rays and aids in rejuvenation. These qualities make it very popular as an ingredient in cosmetics, some of them are as follows:
- Beauty Masks
- Hair Conditioners
- Shower Gels
Interactions & Side-Effects
Honey should not be taken along with antibiotics, as it will intensify the effects. Those taking anti-convulsant medication should not use honey.
Caution must be used when giving it to babies less than 1 year old, as honey (especially raw) may contain some botulism spores, and young infants do not have the balance of acids in their intestines needed to destroy any possible bacteria.