A thick, golden liquid produced by industrious bees, honey is made using the nectar of flowering plants and is saved inside the beehive for eating during times of scarcity. But how do bees make honey?
Nectar – a sugary liquid is extracted from flowers using a bee’s long, tube-shaped tongue and stored in its extra stomach, or “crop.” While sloshing around in the crop, the nectar mixes with enzymes that transform its chemical composition and pH, making it more suitable for long-term storage.
When a honeybee returns to the hive, it passes the nectar to another bee by regurgitating the liquid into the other bee’s mouth. This regurgitation process is repeated until the partially digested nectar is finally deposited into a honeycomb.
Once in the comb, nectar is still a viscous liquid — nothing like the thick honey you use at the breakfast table. To get all that extra water out of their honey, bees set to work fanning the honeycomb with their wings in an effort to speed up the process of evaporation.
When most of the water has evaporated from the honeycomb, the bee seals the comb with a secretion of liquid from its abdomen, which eventually hardens into beeswax. Away from air and water, honey can be stored indefinitely, providing bees with the perfect food source for cold winter months.
But bees aren’t the only ones with a sweet tooth. Humans, bears, badgers and other animals have long been raiding the winter stores of their winged friends to harvest honey.
In fact, until sugar became widely available in the sixteenth century, honey was the world’s principal sweetener, with ancient Greece and Sicily among the best-known historical centers of honey production.
Honey’s color, taste, aroma and texture vary greatly depending on the type of flower a bee frequents. Clover honey, for example, differs greatly from the honey harvested from bees that frequent a lavender field.Honey is made up of glucose, fructose, and minerals such as iron,calcium, phosphate, sodium chlorine, potassium, magnesium.
Below is a typical honey profile, according to
• Fructose: 38.2%
• Glucose: 31.3%
• Maltose: 7.1%
• Sucrose: 1.3%
• Water: 17.2%
• Higher sugars: 1.5%
• Ash: 0.2%
• Other/undetermined: 3.2%
Health bebefits of Bee Honey
1. 1.Prevent cancer and heart disease:
Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
2. Reduce ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Recent research shows that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial
gastroenteritis. This may be related to the 3rd benefit…
3. Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal:
“All honey is antibacterial, because the bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide,” said Peter
Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
4. Increase athletic performance.
Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has now
been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and
improving recovery time than other sweeteners.
5. Reduce cough and throat irritation:
Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 110 children, a single dose of
buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough
and allowing proper sleep.
Sore throats and coughs
6. One of the best-known health benefits of honey is its ability to soothe sore throats and kill the
bacteria that causes the infection. Honey has strong antibacterial properties and provides temporary pain
Combine a spoonful of honey with some freshly-squeezed lemon juice and drink at regular
intervals. You can also mix the honey with lemon juice and a pinch of salt and gargle.
Honey also relieves mild coughing (especially night-time coughing in young children) and is a great
immune-system booster – it can help ward off colds.
Wounds, cuts and burns
Honey is an excellent first aid remedy as it is a natural antiseptic. It inhibits the growth of
bacteria and therefore helps keep wounds clean and free from infection.
After gently cleaning the wound with warm water and mild soap; apply a layer of honey on a
dressing before covering the wound. An extra dressing or bandage will contain any leaking honey.
Change every 24 hours.
Honey is also effective for cuts and burns – it reduces pain and swelling, and promotes healing.
Simply dab some honey on the affected area.
Do you suffer from hay fever? Eating honey that is local to your area (and has not been blendedwith honey from other areas) can help boost your immune system and reduce your hay fever symptoms.Why local honey? The local honey contains very tiny amounts of the pollen found in your area. These tiny amounts of pollen are not enough to trigger the allergic reaction when you ingest the local honey, but they do help your body to build up a tolerance to the pollen.
Honey has a mild laxative effect which can help combat constipation and bloating. It is also rich in friendly bacteria which act as a probiotic and keep the digestive and immune system healthy. For a homemade digestion aid, try tea with honey and lemon. Honey may also be effective in the treatment of ulcers – take 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey on an empty stomach (half an hour before a meal) up to three times a day to provide pain relief and assist in healing.
Have you had too much to drink? Honey is a great way to help the body deal with the toxic effects of a hangover, scientists say. The fructose in honey helps the body break down alcohol into harmless by-products. Honey also contains powerful antioxidant properties that can neutralise the harmful effects of alcohol. Enjoy two tablespoons of honey on its own, or on toast.
Honey is great for your skin as it locks in moisture. If you suffer from dry skin, put some honey on your skin, leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in milk and honey to preserve her youth and beauty. Run a warm bath; and add one cup of milk and half a cup of honey. If you like, you can add a few drops of essential oil (rose, jasmine and lavender are great choices).
Honey’s antibacterial properties are also great for acne. Treat spots on your skin by applying raw honey with clean fingers on skin and removing with warm water after 20 minutes.
Honey can help reduce the itch and irritation of mosquito bites. Dab a little bit of raw honey right on the bite. Honey’s anti-microbial properties will also help prevent infection.
Honey can boost athletes’ performance and endurance levels and reduce muscle fatigue. This is thanks to the perfect combination of glucose and fructose in honey.The glucose is absorbed quickly by the body and gives an immediate energy boost, whereas the fructose is absorbed more slowly, thus providing sustained energy. This combo also helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Honey has also been shown to increase antibodies and fight inflammation. Take a spoonful of honey before your workout.
Water 17,2 %
Sugar (entire) 80 %
– Fructose 38 %
– glucose 31 %
– saccharide 1 %
– Disaccharide 8 %
– higher saccharide 2 %
– citric acid
– malic acid
– succinic acid
– formic acid
– Inhibine (possess antibiotic effect)
as well as…
– flavour materials
Mineral materials before all potassium salts.