Honey was discovered and produced long time ago, dating back to 2100 B.C.. Its exact origins are not known for sure. Information about honey were mentioned in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform writings, the Hittite code and the sacred writings of India and Egypt.
Its name comes from the English hunig and it was the first and most widespread sweetener used by man. Legend has it that Cupid dipped his love arrows in honey before aiming at unsuspecting lovers.
Honey was valued highly and often used as a form of currency, tribute, or offering. In the 11th century A.D., German peasants paid their feudal lords in honey and beeswax.
During history, honey has been used not only in food and beverages, but also to make cement, in furniture polishes and varnishes, and for medicinal purposes.
Composition of honey
Honey contains a number of acids which include amino acids (0.05-0.1%) and organic acids (0.57%, range: 0.17-1.17%).
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in honey. The average pH of honey is 3.9 (with a typical range of 3.4 to 6.1).
Benefits of honey
Honey is good for allergies - If you have allergies, honey can be beneficial. If you eat honey that is local to your area, it may prevent your seasonal allergies. Bees use the pollen from local plants and eventually it ends up in your honey.
Honey is good for skin - honey It has the ability to attract water. You can use honey instead of alpha hydroxy masks because of its high content of the acid. It is also safe for sensitive skin.
Honey is a good moisturizing mask for your skin as well as your hair. To use it as a conditioner, mix the honey with olive oil. Be sure to wash your hair thoroughly before you go outside.
Honey is good for sore throat.
Honey heals fast the wounds - Due to its natural anti-inflammatory effect, it will help to heal the wounds more quickly.
Honey is a natural antiseptic - It also has different phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants and different foods) that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus making it a good substitute for wound dressings. By applying honey to your wounds, you prevent infections and accelerates skin healing.
Honey accelerates skin healing - Honey draws body fluids and nutrients to the wounded area, assists cell growth and prevents a scar forming by drying out of the wound.
Honey is effective in the treatment of ulcers - There is evidence that honey diluted in water will help with your stomachaches and dehydration.
Honey is good for treating diarrhea - honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quickly clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets.
Honey is easily digested: Because sugar molecules in honey can convert into other sugars (e.g. fructose to glucose), honey is easily digested by the most sensitive stomachs, despite its high acid content.
Honey helps kidneys and intestines to function better.
Honey is a good source of antioxidants: It plays a big role in the prevention of cancer as well as heart disease.
Honey has a low calorie level and gives great energy to the body - Another quality of honey is that, when it is compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the body, it does not add weight and gives more energy to the body.
Honey rapidly diffuses through the blood - when accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes.
Honey helps brain to function better - its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar, thus, reduces fatigue.
Honey supports blood formation and cleansing of blood: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation.
Honey protects against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis.
Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker bees inside the beehive. Inside this nutritious substance are sugar, proteins, fats and many vitamins. It is used in problems caused by tissue deficiency or body frailty.
Types of honey
When honeybees collect nectar only from one flower, the honey produced is known as the mono-floral honey. It is believed to be the best type of honey, as it contains properties of only one flower. Professional beekeepers usually make such arrangements so that honeybees have access to only particular flower from which they are intended to produce honey
Poly-floral honey, on the other hand, is produced when honeybees have access to more than on flower and they collect nectar from different flowers and deposit in beehives. Sometimes, another type of honey is also available that is known as blended honey. Blended honey is simply a mixture or combination of different honeys.
Acacia honey belongs to the best types of honey. Is highly appreciated for its tender taste and slaw crystallization.
Acacia honey is almost transparent to light yellow. Its flavor is described as either floral or vanilla. According to "The Honey Prescription: The Amazing Power of Honey as Medicine," acacia honey does not crystallize easily because of its high fructose concentration. This means acacia honey can remain in a liquid form for long periods of time.
LINDEN - LIME - BASSWOOD HONEY
- Alfalfa honey, produced extensively throughout Canada and the United States from the purple blossoms, is light in color with a pleasingly mild flavor and aroma.
- AVOCADO HONEY
- Avocado honey is gathered from California avocado blossoms. Avocado honey is dark in color, with a rich, buttery taste.
- BLUEBERRY HONEY
- Taken from the tiny white flowers of the blueberry bush, the nectar makes a honey which is typically light amber in color and with a full, well-rounded flavor. Blueberry honey is produced in New England and in Michigan.
- BUCKWHEAT HONEY
- Buckwheat honey is dark and full-bodied. It is produced in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as in eastern Canada. Buckwheat honey has been found to contain more antioxidant compounds than some lighter honeys.
- CLOVER HONEY
- Clover honey has a pleasing, mild taste. Clovers contribute more to honey production in the United States than any other group of plants. Red clover, Alsike clover and the white and yellow sweet clovers are most important for honey production. Depending on the location and type of source clover, clover honey varies in color from water white to light amber to amber.
- EUCALYPTUS HONEY
- Eucalyptus honey comes from one of the larger plant genera, containing over 500 distinct species and many hybrids. As may be expected with a diverse group of plants, eucalyptus honey varies greatly in color and flavor but tends to be a stronger flavored honey with a slight medicinal scent. It is produced in California.
- FIREWEED HONEY
- Fireweed honey is light in color and comes from a perennial herb that creates wonderful bee pasture in the Northern and Pacific states and Canada. Fireweed grows in the open woods, reaching a height of three to five feet and spikes attractive pinkish flowers.
- Obtained from the blossoms of Linden or Basswood trees of several species of Tilia; it is known as Linden or Basswood honey in North America and Lime honey in the UK and Europe.
The intensity of the aroma and the taste is stronger than the color would indicate. The usual rule of darker is stronger is broken with Linden honey. When very fresh it has a greenish color, but after a time it becomes clear to amber with a yellow tone.
The aroma is described as woody, pharmacy and fresh, also described as mint, balsamic, menthol and camphor. It has low acidity, medium sweet and sometimes a light bitterness. It has a persistent aftertaste and is slightly astringent.
The crystallization rate is medium to fast with fine to medium sized crystals. Other aromatic notes (see chemical analysis below): spicy-thyme, mentholated, geranium, hay, phenolic. It goes well with lemon sherbet or herbal teas.
Therapeutically, Linden honey has a wide range of applications, it is primarily used for treating colds and fevers as a diaphoretic, and it is used as a fortifying agent and supports the heart.
In Eastern Europe and Russia, it is widely used in the treatment of sore throat, rhinitis, and laryngitis. Linden honey mixed with lemon is used to overcome upcoming colds, and along with tea is said to help in the treatment of liver and gall bladder, and relieve inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It is applied externally to help heal festering sores on the skin, eczema, and burns.
- MANUKA HONEY
- Manuka honey, primarily produced in New Zealand, is used as a natural product both internally and topically on the skin. The bees gather nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush, which is indigenous only to New Zealand. The honey making process is enriched by the pollution free environment of New Zealand.
- ORANGE BLOSSOM HONEY
- Orange blossom honey, often a combination of citrus sources, is usually light in color and mild in flavor with a fresh scent and light citrus taste. Orange blossom honey is produced in Florida, Southern California and parts of Texas.
- SAGE HONEY
- Sage honey, primarily produced in California, is light in color, heavy bodied and has a mild but delightful flavor. It is extremely slow to granulate, making it a favorite among honey packers for blending with other honeys to slow down granulation.
- TUPELO HONEY
- Tupelo honey is a premium honey produced in northwest Florida. It is heavy bodied and is usually light golden amber with a greenish cast and has a mild, distinctive taste. Because of the high fructose content in Tupelo honey, it granulates very slowly.
- WILDFLOWER HONEY
- Wildflower honey is often used to describe honey from miscellaneous and undefined flower sources.
- HONEY BLENDS
- While different types of honey are available, most honey, especially honey supplied in bulk, is blended to create a unique and consistent taste and color.