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Honey – the food of the gods

In ancient Egypt, honey was an elitist food called the food of the gods. The healing properties of honey are still used successfully in many health problems. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted to prove the healing properties of honey.

Honey – a popular food

Honey has served humans as food for at least 10,000 years. For example, during the first Olympic Games, athletes achieved top results by drinking only honey water.

Honey provides the body and brain with a large number of easily usable carbohydrates that are quickly converted into energy.

80% of honey is made up of sugar

Although up to 245 natural ingredients have been found in high-quality varieties of honey, honey is still 80% pure sugar.

The average composition of honey looks like this:

38% fructose

31% glucose

10% polysaccharide

17% water

Depending on the variety, honey contains from 2 to 4% of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, organic acids and secondary plant substances.

The ratio of fructose and glucose determines the consistency of honey. Because glucose crystallizes faster in honey than fructose, honey with a high glucose content is creamy to firm, while honey with less glucose and higher fructose content tends to be liquid.

From nectar to honey

Honey bees mainly produce their honey from the sweet juice of flowering plants, nectar. Bees use a small portion of their yield to generate energy for their exhausting flight back to the hive. The diligent collector leaves the rest of his “prey” to his hives.

In addition to nectar, bees also collect honeydew, which comes from deciduous or coniferous trees.

Couples in the hive harvest from fodder. They transmit them from bee to bee, while each of these bees mixes nectar or dew with their own enzymes in the body through saliva. As a result of this transfer, the enzyme content in immature honey increases enormously. Some of these enzymes break down carbohydrates, which also changes the composition of sugar.

Constant movement in the warm air evaporates the excess water, so that the still immature honey slowly thickens. The bees carefully arrange it on the honeycomb and the beekeeper can start picking honey only at the end of an extremely complex ripening process.

Honey – Food for bees

Bees depend on sufficient supplies of honey because honey is the basic food for them and their brood.

Unlike wasps and bumblebees, of which only queens survive the winter, bees try to keep their entire colony alive even in the cold season. And to achieve this, they must produce so much heat that the required minimum temperature of 30 ° C remains in the hive even at outdoor temperatures of minus 20 ° C. This costs the bees huge amounts of energy, but thanks to adequate supplies of honey they can compensate for that energy loss. .

For wintering in Central Europe, bee colonies need about 25 kg of honey. If the bees managed to collect enough nectar or honeydew in the warm months, they will give birth to significantly more than 100 kg of honey.

Beekeepers decide whether to leave a certain amount of honey to the bees or to supplement the bee’s diet with sugar.

In the industrial production of honey, the main goal is to make the maximum profit, which is why the use of sugar water is common here. Conventional beekeepers often use both variants, while organically certified beekeepers largely give up supplementary feeding with sugar.

Conventional or organic approach to honey production?

In conventional beekeeping, artificial insemination of queens and cutting of wings is allowed for profit reasons. Honey companies generally have only a few legal regulations and are very rarely controlled.

Such methods are strictly forbidden in organic beekeeping. If the bees are really infected in organic beekeeping, only organic acids are used for treatment. Legal requirements for organic farms are extensive and subject to regular, strict controls.

Honey against bacteria, fungi and free radicals

Honey has always been valued as a remedy against many diseases and for wound healing. Honey is very healing. It owes its healing properties antibacterial , antifungal and antioxidant properties. Honey owes its healing properties to numerous secondary plant substances, but above all to antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids.

Honey as a medicine

Bacteria, fungi and excess free radicals in the body are the main causes of many inflammatory diseases. Honey with its antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant effects alleviates inflammatory processes. The use of honey gives positive results for smaller wounds, problems with the throat or skin, gastrointestinal and fungal diseases.

In the case of deep or poorly healing wounds, as well as serious diseases, one should be careful. Aseptic honey is used on the advice of a certified therapist for the area.

Honey for cough and sore throat

The most well-known use of honey refers to cough as a result of a cold. Although the effect of honey against cough has been known in many cultures for centuries, a large number of clinical studies have been conducted to confirm this effect.

For example, in Nigeria, 2014. published a study in which the cough of children between 2 and 18 years of age was treated with honey, among other things. Honey has the same good effect as some pharmaceutical products for cough suppression, with the difference that honey is a natural food without side effects.

A teaspoon of honey, taken just before bedtime or mixed in a glass of water or hot tea, significantly relieves cough.

Honey for diseased skin

Doctor Al-Waili from Dubai treated raw honey to patients suffering from flaky skin, severe itching, herpes and, as a result, hair loss. Patients applied honey mixed with a little warm water daily to the affected parts of the skin and after 3 hours carefully rinsed with water. After a week, the symptoms disappeared and the lesions began to heal.

To determine if there was indeed healing, Al-Waili divided his patients into two groups. Although one group was considered cured and no further treatment, the other group was instructed to continue using honey once a week for a period of 6 months. In the first group, the first symptoms reappeared after two months, while the second group remained asymptomatic after the sixth month.

Although the use of honey alleviates annoying flaking of the skin and unpleasant itching and, in the best case, can even eliminate it, it must generally be taken into account that any type of skin disease always suggests a disturbed intestinal flora. Thorough bowel cleansing is advised.

Honey for gastrointestinal inflammation

Gastrointestinal inflammation is a very unpleasant disease that is associated with constant diarrhea and nausea. The most common causes of this are viruses and bacteria, which prompted a research team from Egypt to investigate the effect of honey on gastrointestinal infections.

The study involved 100 sick children who were divided into 2 groups of 50 children each. To counteract the great loss of water and minerals that occurs with chronic diarrhea and nausea, patients were given a special liquid that mainly contained sugar and salt and was drunk throughout the day. While one group consumed only this liquid, honey was added to the other group.

It was quickly noticed that acute diarrhea and nausea in children who received a honey solution were significantly reduced. In the second group, however, there were hardly any changes.

The addition of honey could not only significantly shorten the course of the disease, but also contribute to faster physical regeneration and normalization of children’s body weight.

Honey for fungal infections

Despite the high sugar content in honey, it even attacks fungal infections of the genus Candida albicans. Scientists from the University of Iran managed to demonstrate the antifungal effect of honey on a group of 70 women affected by a vaginal infection.

Half of the women treated the yeast infection with a mixture of yogurt and honey, while the other half used an antifungal cream.

After only a week, it was determined that a mixture of yogurt and honey and pharmaceutical cream achieved comparative results. The use of honey can be a very powerful, natural alternative in the treatment of fungal infections.

In vitro honey has been applied to Candida albicans several times and the result has always been the same: Pure honey significantly inhibits the growth of fungi.

Honey as a prebiotic

Refined sugar has long been considered one of the main causes of disturbed intestinal flora, because it accelerates the spread of intestinal fungi and has a negative effect on the bacterial balance. An Egyptian study addressed the question of whether this effect also applies to honey, which is also very rich in sugar.

Scientists have noticed how certain molds and their toxins, so-called aflatoxins, affect mice. It turned out that the high concentration of honey as a dietary supplement effectively made aflatoxins harmless. And some fungal crops have also lagged behind in their growth after honey treatment.

Researchers have already known from previous studies that these effects are partly based on the prebiotic action of honey, because it serves as a valuable food for many beneficial intestinal bacteria.

Unlike ordinary sugar, honey contains minerals, vitamins and amino acids. By consuming honey, the bacteria in the intestines get a good nutritional basis so that they can multiply faster. The higher the number of good intestinal bacteria, the stronger the immune system.

Honey – not for babies

Despite the many health benefits that consuming good quality honey can bring, honey is not recommended for babies up to 12 months of age due to the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can appear in honey or spores of this bacterium.

The dangerous thing about these spores is that when they germinate, they produce a toxin that paralyzes the muscles. They are not a problem for adults, because even a relatively stable intestinal flora can prevent the germination of spores. The situation is different in newborns up to 12 months, because their intestinal flora is still not sufficiently developed. Unrecognized and untreated, it can cause paralysis of the muscles of breathing and swallowing in a sick child and, in the worst case, lead to death.

Conscious use of honey

Although honey seems to be the perfect sweet because of its healing effects, it is not a food that should be used constantly and in large quantities. Moderate consumption of honey is recommended because excessive amounts as well as sugar can lead to pancreatic stress, obesity and disturbed intestinal flora.

Honey is not recommended for cooking and baking, because temperatures of 40 ° C or higher nullify all the useful characteristics of honey. Tea or milk should also be cooled before adding honey.

In Ayurvedic medicine, heated honey is even considered toxic, because it is said to contribute to the contamination of body tissue and thus initiate inflammatory processes that then lead to various diseases.

Tips for buying honey

It doesn’t matter if you take honey internally or use it externally, honey should always be of the best possible purity and quality.

Honey in plastic packaging is not recommended. Then cheap honey because quality always has its price.

Imported honey, because it is usually pasteurized (heated to at least 75 ° C) and often contains genetically modified pollen. Manuka honey from New Zealand is an exception.

In Germany and Switzerland, the appropriate beekeeping association awards a stamp that can only be applied to jars of honey with domestic and unprocessed honey. Honey with this stamp is clearly different from imported honey and indicates certain quality standards. After the harvest, this honey is not even heated.

Organic honey

Organic beekeepers must follow strict regulations when producing honey and are regularly monitored. With organic honey, you can be sure that the high quality standards are really met.

Some of the regulations in the production of organic honey:

It is forbidden to trim the wings of the queen.

The use of chemical drugs and pesticides is prohibited.

In essence, only organic and / or wild plants are allowed within a radius of three kilometers. Avoid the vicinity of highways, waste incineration plants or other plants that emit pollutants.

The place must have enough natural sources for nectar and honeydew

Have pollen and have access to water.

Bees are kept exclusively in hives made of natural raw materials. Pollutant-free paints must be used for the exterior coating.

Any necessary additional feeding in winter takes place with their own honey or pollen. Organic sugar syrup should be used only in exceptional cases.

Only independent honeycombs without residues are used to extract honey.

Honey is never heated above 40 ° C.

Flower honey or honeydew honey

Honey flowers include, for example: rapeseed, clover, dandelion, linden blossom and spring honey. Flower honey whose nectar is collected in the spring is usually very light in color, while collecting nectar by summer results in honey that becomes increasingly darker. The lighter the honey, the milder its taste. Flower honeys are characterized by a fine fruity or floral aroma.

Forest honey is one of the most famous honey honeys. It consists of dew of various deciduous or coniferous trees and is usually very dark in color. Because forest honey contains less glucose than flowers, it stays liquid longer. Unlike flower honey, its aroma is strong.

Fir honey is considered the king of forest honeys, because it is quite rare due to the rather small stocks of fir.

Manuka – exceptional honey

Manuka honey comes from the flower nectar of the New Zealand manuka bush, a relative of the Australian tea tree. This is a very special honey, because its healing power far exceeds the power of all other honeys.

Manuka honey: sweet, yet healthy

Manuka honey is an excellent elixir for all kinds of health problems. Manuka honey works against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Manuka honey also acts as an antiseptic, antioxidant and as an aid in wound healing. It is excellent in the fight against caries.

Manuka honey for indoor and outdoor use

Aromatic Manuka honey comes from the flower nectar of the New Zealand manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), a relative of the Australian tea tree. Med has already been used as a medicine in many highly developed cultures. Hippocrates knew that honey helped heal open wounds and ulcers. The Maori, a native people of New Zealand, used it most often to heal wounds from colds and stomach problems.

Manuka honey for stomach and intestinal problems

Scientific studies at Wakaito University in New Zealand have found that Manuka honey is extremely effective in treating Escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori which cause gastrointestinal problems. (gastric ulcer and inflammation of the gastric mucosa)

Treating stomach ulcers with Manuka honey is much cheaper and there are no side effects, as is the case with conventional therapy.

Manuka honey for inflammation of the respiratory tract

Manuka honey has been found to be effective in treating antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that, when the immune system is weakened, can cause skin infections. After surgery, patients are often infected with this bacterium. Staphylococcus aureus also causes a number of other diseases: bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections and otitis media.

Manuka honey for colds

Manuka honey contains antibiotic and antiviral properties. Manuka honey is a tasty and effective medicine against colds, sore throats, coughs and other respiratory infections. Manuka honey is traditionally used in hot tea.

Manuka honey for fungal diseases

Manuka honey is antifungal, ie. may inhibit fungal growth. It is recommended for complementary therapy (external and internal) for all types of fungal diseases, such as e.g. lichens, Candida albicans, athletic foot and others.

Manuka honey for healthy teeth

A scientific study found that Manuka honey protects teeth from dental plaque as well as a chemical solution of chlorhexidine, which is often found in mouthwashes.

How to know the quality of Manuka honey

On the packaging of Manuka honey, which is packaged in Germany, the antibacterial activity of honey is shown with the help of the so-called MGO content. MGO stands for methylglyoxal and describes the main active ingredient of Manuka honey. The value of MGO must be analyzed by a well-known and independent honey laboratory. If the MGO value does not appear on the honey jar, the consumer can contact the bottler and request an updated MGO analysis for the honey in question using the control number. In New Zealand, the quality of Manuka honey is specified by the so-called UMF (Unique Manuka Factor), the value of UMF is reserved exclusively for Manuka honey that is bottled in New Zealand. In order to be able to mark the UMF on their honey jars, New Zealand beekeepers and honey fillers must pay a license fee.

UMF and MGO values can be easily converted into others – with the help of the Internet. Here are some examples:

UMF 10 = MGO 263

UMF 15 = MGO 514

MGO of over 400 already represents top quality.

Manuka med – application

For colds and infections with cough and sore throat, one teaspoon of Manuka honey should be dissolved on the tongue at least 3 times a day. Keep Manuka honey in your mouth for as long as possible, then swallow it very slowly. It is best to take the last teaspoon just before bedtime. The anti-inflammatory and anti-cariogenic effects of honey are great for the gums and oral cavity.

In the case of colds and sinus infections, antibiotics are often called ineffective, because their systemic mode of action (through the bloodstream) prevents them from reaching the bacteria on the mucous membrane. Manuka honey, on the other hand, can be easily applied to the inner walls of the nose before going to bed, so that honey can act on the mucous membrane on the spot overnight.

Manuka honey: do not be afraid of super-pathogens

Unlike synthetically produced antibiotics, Manuka honey does not encourage the growth and spread of antibiotic-resistant super-pathogens. This property makes Manuka honey extremely effective in treating wounds, burns and other skin problems.

Note for diabetics

Diabetics should be careful with the intake of Manuka honey, because due to a metabolic disorder in their blood, there are already elevated values of MGO, which are currently believed to be involved in the development of diabetic neuropathy. External use of Manuka honey is allowed.