Honey is a dark-colored sweet, watery and viscous liquid.
It has been used from ancient days for health and nutrition.
It is obtained from honeycombs made by honey bees.
These honey bees suck a sweet liquid named nectar from the flowers.
But why flowers produce this nectar? Because to attract insects.
When insects land on the flowers, the male gametes, i.e., pollen grains, get attached to the limbs of these honey bees.
When these honey bees with the pollen visit another flower, the pollen is shed.
Thus nectar is intended for cross-pollination employing insects and birds.
The honey lodged into the combs is taken out by driving them away.
The honeycombs are squeezed or let for natural draining to collect into a vessel. This is allowed to settle down to lets granular particles sediment. The upper clear layer is used.
In large-scale production, the honey is filtered instead after squeezing.
The sting bite of a bee can be painful and sometimes lethal. Hence in the early days, the bees were driven away by producing smoke or fumes below the comb.
Now honey is obtained by the beekeeping method. Here honeycombs are produced in boxes meant for the purpose in open places.
Honey Health Benefits
1. For nutrition: Honey nutrition and taste make it a good consumable to everyone daily. It is rich in sugars, so it helps for instant energy when consumed. Since it is easily absorbed into the body from the digestive system, it is suitable for babies and patients to provide nutrition.
2. Demulcent: Honey is smooth and viscous by its constitution. It can be applied to the skin as a protectant, soothing agent and drunk for throat irritation.
3. Wound healing: It can be applied to open wounds to enhance healing. It is interesting to note that honey, though sweet, doesn’t permit microbial growth. Further, it is also believed to have some good antiseptic and anti-oxidant properties.
4. As a sweetening agent: Many drugs in modern medicine are bitter and nonagreeable taste. Honey is added as an adjuvant and sweetening agent to mask the bitter taste. Hence we see honey as a part of formulation in cough syrups, infant and kids syrups, etc.
5. In alternative medicine: Honey is of immense value in traditional or alternative medicine like Ayurveda. It is used as a vehicle for many drugs to administer to the sick. It is also expected to prevent the harshness or bitter taste of the drug from being felt by the patient. Further, it helps in the easy absorption of the administered drug.
Calories in honey & nutrition
Honey is rich in sugars like Glucose 35%, fructose 45%, sucrose 2%. Since the concentration of carbohydrates is large and honey is of good calorific value. It also has maltose, gum, small amounts of acetic acid, formic acid.
This formic acid might be from the bee itself as it is the cause of pain by a bee bite.
Further, it also has vitamins like C, B, and micro-elements like Potassium, Sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, iron, etc., other enzymes, essential vitamins, minerals. Due to vitamin C, it is also a good anti-oxidant.
On standing, it can crystallize; hence it is heated to 80°C and sent to market. It is filtered to remove any pollen or particulate matter.