MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
HONEY - THE HONEYBEE FOOD SOURCE
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to, as it is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties. Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation. They store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive.
Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar. It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavor that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Most microorganisms do not grow in honey because of its low water activity of 0.6. However, honey sometimes contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants, as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in infants' immature intestinal tracts, leading to illness and even death.
Honey has a long history in human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. In ancient times, Honey was used as a wound dressing, and for skin and hair care treatments; however, it is also a wonderful source of energy, and has few calories. Honey is also an excellent carbohydrate source for post-workout muscle recuperation and energy repletion. Honey contains polyphenols, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants cleanse the body of the free radicals that contribute to serious illness. Serving for serving, Honey contains the same amount of antioxidants as spinach, and a comparable range to that of apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey. Bees carry an electrostatic charge whereby they attract other particles in addition to pollen, which become incorporated into their honey; the honey can be analysed by the techniques of melissopalynology in area environmental studies of radioactive particles, dust and particulate pollution.
Honey's natural sugars are dehydrated, which prevents fermentation, with added enzymes to modify and transform their chemical composition and pH. Invertases and digestive acids hydrolyze sucrose to give the monosaccharides glucose and fructose. The invertase is one of these enzymes synthesized by the body of the insect. Honey bees transform saccharides into honey by a process of regurgitation, a number of times, until it is partially digested. The bees do the regurgitation and digestion as a group. After the last regurgitation, the aqueous solution is still high in water, so the process continues by evaporation of much of the water and enzymatic transformation.
Honey is produced by bees as a food source. In cold weather or when fresh food sources are scarce, bees use their stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semidomesticate the insects, and harvest excess honey. In the hive (or in a wild nest), there are three types of bees:
- A single female queen bee.
- A seasonally variable number of male drone bees to fertilize new queens.
- Some 20,000 to 40,000 female worker bees.
The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. Leaving the hive, they collect sugar-rich flower nectar and return. In the hive, the bees use their "honey stomachs" to ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. Invertase synthesized by the bees and digestive acids hydrolyze sucrose to give the same mixture of glucose and fructose. The bees work together as a group with the regurgitation and digestion until the product reaches a desired quality. It is then stored in honeycomb cells. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed. However, the nectar is still high in both water content and natural yeasts, which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment. The process continues as bees inside the hive fan their wings, creating a strong draft across the honeycomb, which enhances evaporation of much of the water from the nectar. This reduction in water content raises the sugar concentration and prevents fermentation. Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by a beekeeper, has a long shelf life, and will not ferment if properly sealed.
The health effects of honey have long been noted. The nutritional and medicinal qualities of honey have been documented in Vedic, Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and other texts. Physicians of ancient times, such as Aristotle (384–322 BC), Aristoxenus (320 BC) Hippocrates, Porphyry, Cornelius Celsus (early first century AD) and Dioscorides (c. 50 AD), and Arab physicians have referred to the healing qualities of honey. Though scientific arguments have been made for use of honey in modern times, its use is still considered part of alternative medicine. Honey contains powerful antioxidants with antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
HONEY USES, HEALTH BENEFITS, & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
Today there is a trend towards re-discovering the antibacterial properties of Honey for infected wounds, and the anti-inflammatory action for easing pain and improving circulation. Honey is being used in British hospitals for persistent wounds, acne, burns, and gastric ulcers. Clinical trials have shown its effectiveness as an antibacterial, and in another trial, patients given a daily application of honey recovered more quickly from necrotising fasciitis - the "flesh eating bug" - than those treated with surgery and antibiotics. New research shows that drinking four tablespoons of Honey in water improves blood antioxidants, which helps to prevent narrowing of the arteries.
Honey has other medicinal uses. It can be mixed with lemon and hot water to soothe sore throats and coughs. Mix it with hot milk to aid sleep, and it can be used for treating athlete's foot and other fungal problems, and to re-hydrate dry skin. Honey is also added to creams, cleansers, masks, shampoos and conditioners as a moisturizer and to keep skin soft and supple. Its antioxidant properties also help protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Some believe that eating raw honey from your region can help reduce allergies.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
Honey is a sweet liquid produced by honey bees using nectar from flowers through a process of regurgitation and evaporation. Honey has high levels of monosaccharides, fructose and glucose, containing about 70 to 80 percent sugar, which gives it its sweet taste - minerals and water make up the rest of its composition. The health benefits of consuming honey date back to Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts. The healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384 to 322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC). Honey possesses powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In modern science we have managed to find useful applications of honey in chronic wound management. However, it should be noted that many of honey's health claims still require further large scale scientific studies to confirm them.
Collected from the tea tree of New Zealand, Manuka Honey is pure, raw, natural, and organic honey that is highly regarded for its unique medical properties. It has been confirmed that Manuka oil from the East Cape region of New Zealand has the highest anti-microbial activity, up to 20 times more potent than Australian tea tree oil. Manuka Honey is used to treat sore throats, colds, canker sores, fever blisters, leg ulcers, burns, bacterial infections, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and septic wounds. It is also being used to combat the antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA which infests surgical wounds in hospital wards. Manuka Honey works well treating diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome as well.
It is important to use "active" Manuka Honey for the best results of your condition. Read and follow product label directions for use.
Since Manuka Honey has long been used as a food, it is regarded as safe for most healthy people; however, if you suffer from bee sting allergy, uncompensated allergies, cardiovascular conditions, tuberculosis, or insulin dependent diabetes do not use Manuka Honey. If you are taking beta-blockers Manuka Honey may interfere with its effectiveness.
HISTORY OF HONEY
Over four thousand years ago, honey was used as a traditional ayurvedic medicine, where it was thought to be effective at treating material imbalances in the body. Honey has been consumed for thousands of years for its supposed health benefitsIn pre-Ancient Egyptian times, honey was used topically to treat wounds. Egyptian medicinal compounds more than five millennia ago used honey. The ancient Greeks believed that consuming honey could help make you live longer. Even the Prophet Mohammed glorified the healing powers of honey.
PROPERTIES OF HONEY
Honey is made up of glucose, fructose, and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chlorine, potassium, magnesium. It is also fairly rich in vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, and B-6. Below is a typical honey profile, according to BeeSource:
- 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%
The slightly acidic pH level of honey (between 3.2 and 4.5) is what helps prevent the growth of bacteria, while its antioxidant constituents cleans up free radicals. The physical properties of honey vary depending on the specific flora that was used to produce it, as well as its water content.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
There is nothing in the world quite like honey. For thousands of years, honey has been used all over the world and in just about every culture. Ancient Egyptians used it as a form of currency, like gold, and they mixed it into the wines that they offered to their gods. Germans have used it to sweeten alcoholic beverages like mead, cider and beer. In the US, American Indians put it to work as a fruit preservative and base for herbal medicine. Modern science is finding that many of the historical claims that honey can be used in medicine may indeed be true. Most people have used honey to sweeten foods and beverages, but few realize that it is a powerful food, beauty aide and a topical antibiotic. Honey naturally contains 18 amino acids, plus small amounts of a many vitamins and minerals. Honey is one of Mother Nature’s most versatile foods. It not only serves as a delicious, all-natural sweetener, but it is a helpful tool in supporting a healthy body and glowing appearance. The old wives' tales we hear are actually often based in truth, as honey has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. Not only can honey soothe and lubricate a sore throat, but because of its nutrient-rich profile, it has been used internally and externally for a variety of other benefits, including:
- BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE: Many athletes rely on carbohydrates for an energy boost during intense training. Studies have shown that the glucose found in honey, plus other natural sugars, can provide the same boost to athletes. Instead of consuming refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup, which is on my list as one of the worst things we can consume and is found in many sports drinks, opt for an all-natural boost of honey.
- IMPROVED SLEEP & RELAXATION: Honey can promote relaxation and help ease you to sleep at night. The natural sugar found in honey raises our insulin slightly and allows tryptophan, the compound famous for making us sleepy after eating turkey at Thanksgiving, to enter our brains more easily. Taking a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get restful sleep.
- MOISTURIZING SKIN: Honey not only attracts water but it helps absorb and retain it on hair and skin. Because of this, honey is added to countless shampoos, soaps and cosmetics. You can enjoy the moisturizing benefits of honey at home by stirring it up with milk for a facial, adding it to your bath water to soften skin, or mixing it with olive oil as a natural hair conditioner. You can even make your own moisturizing exfoliator: Just add sea salt or crushed oats to the honey and rub it on the body. One study found that Manuka honey may prevent radiation-induced dermatitis in breast cancer patients.
- ACID REFLUX: Honey is more viscous than water at body temperature. It may be helpful in preventing GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux).
- GASTROENTERITIS: A clinical study was done in which they used honey in oral rehydration solution in children and infants with gastroenteritis. Their aim was twofold: Determine whether honey might affect the duration of acute diarrhea and to evaluate honey as a glucose substitute in oral rehydration. They found that honey shortens the duration of bacterial diarrhea in infants and young children. They added that honey does not prolong non-bacterial diarrhea duration, and may safely be used as a substitute for glucose in oral rehydration solution containing electrolytes. Antioxidants in honey have even been associated with reducing the damage done to the colon in colitis in a study involving administering honey enemas to rats. Such claims are consistent with its use in many traditions of folk medicine.
- HEALING WOUNDS & BURNS: Topically applying honey is an effective way of treating diabetic ulcers (when the person does not respond to antibiotics). Hurlburt, a borderline diabetic, with recurring cellulitis and staph infections tried taking antibiotics for months, however, they failed to alleviate the symptoms. Hulburt's physician, Jennifer Eddy of UW Health's Eau Claire Family Medicine Clinic, suggested that she should try topically applying honey. Soon after applying the honey she began to feel better. It is a lot better than having to put oral antibiotics into your system. According to a review published in the The Cochrane Library, honey is able to successfully help heal burns, the lead author of the study said that "topical honey is cheaper than other interventions, notably oral antibiotics, which are often used and may have other deleterious side effects." Some studies have revealed that a certain type of honey, called Manuka honey, may even be effective for the treatment of MRSA infections.
- FEWER ALLERGIES: Honey used for treating allergies. Taking a high-quality raw local honey for two months before allergy season can actually lessen your allergies. Bees carry the pollen that aggravates seasonal allergies, and some of that pollen becomes part of the honey. Consuming honey daily before allergy season can help your body grow accustomed to the pollen and immunize your body against it. There is some research to suggest that honey may be useful in minimizing seasonal allergies. The Guardian reported that honey even 'beats cough medicine' at alleviating and reducing the frequency of cough. One placebo-controlled study which included 36 people with ocular allergies, found that participants responded better to treatment with honey compared to placebo. However, a third of them reported that eating a tablespoon of honey every day was hard to tolerate due to its overly sweet taste.
- FIGHTING INFECTIONS: Honey has antibacterial properties that prevent infection in minor abrasions. Plus, its thickness will protect against bacteria and dirt entering a wound. Simply dab a little honey onto your cut and cover with a bandage. Natural honey better at killing bacteria than artificial honey - Kendall Powell wrote in the journal Nature that 'natural honey kills bacteria three times more effectively' than an artificial honey solution of the same thickness and sugar concentration.In 2010, scientists from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam reported in FASEB Journal that honey's ability to kill bacteria lies in a protein called defensin-1. A study published in the journal Microbiology revealed that Manuka honey is effective at treating chronic wound infections and may even prevent them from developing in the first place. Dr. Rowena Jenkins and colleagues, from the University of Wales Institute, reported that Manuka honey kills bacteria by destroying key bacterial proteins. Dr Jenkins concluded: "Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time. But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics". Manuka honey may even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Harrogate, UK.
- NOCTERNAL COUGHING: A study published in the Journal Pediatrics, which compared honey to placebo in helping children with cough during night time, found that honey was superior. The researchers concluded "Parents rated the honey products higher than the silan date extract for symptomatic relief of their children's nocturnal coughand sleep difficulty due to URI (upper respiratory infection). Honey may be a preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood URI."
New research is always finding new possible uses of honey in treating certain conditions and diseases.
Honey contains invert sugar that has the quality of providing instant energy when consumed. It is also a heart stimulant and a useful food supplement. As a food beverage, it was widely used from ancient times as an energy restorative. Today, honey is used as a food and in cooking, baking and as a spread on bread, and as an addition to various beveraes, such as tea, and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages. According to the The National Honey Board (a USDA-overseen organization), "honey stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance... this includes, but is not limited to, water or other sweeteners". Honey barbecue and honey mustard are common and popular sauce flavors.
Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic beverage mead, which is also known as "honey wine" or "honey beer". Historically, the ferment for mead was honey's naturally occurring yeast. Honey is also used as an adjunct in some beers. Honey wine, or mead, is typically (modern era) made with a honey and water mixture with a pack of yeast added for fermentation. Primary fermentation usually takes 40 days, after which the must needs to be racked into a secondary fermentation vessel and left to sit about 35 to 40 more days. If done properly, fermentation will be finished by this point (though if a sparkling mead is desired, fermentation can be restarted after bottling by the addition of a small amount of sugar), but most meads require aging for 6 to 9 months or more in order to be palatable.
HONEY NUTRITION PROFILE NUTRIENT Per 100 grams (3.5 oz.) Energy 1,272 kJ (304 kcal) Carbohydrates 82.4 g - Sugars 82.12 g - Dietary Fiber 0.2 g Fat 0 g Protein 0.3 g Water 17.10 g Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) 0.038 mg (3%) Niacin (Vitamin B-3) 0.121 mg (1%) Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B-5) 0.068 mg (1%) Vitamin B-6 0.024 mg (2%) Folate (Vitamin B-9) 2 mcg (1%) Vitamin C 0.5 mg (1%) Calcium 6 mg (1%) Iron 0.42 mg (3%) Magnesium 2 mg (1%) Phosphorus 4 mg (1%) Potassium 52 mg (1%) Sodium 4 mg (0%) Zinc 0.22 mg (2%)
Shown is for 100 grams, roughly 5 tablespoons Honey. Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Honey is a mixture of sugars and other compounds. With respect to carbohydrates, honey is mainly fructose (about 38.5%) and glucose (about 31.0%), making it similar to the synthetically produced inverted sugar syrup, which is approximately 48% fructose, 47% glucose, and 5% sucrose. Honey's remaining carbohydrates include maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates. As with all nutritive sweeteners, honey is mostly sugars and contains only trace amounts of vitamins or minerals. Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants, including chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin. The specific composition of any batch of honey depends on the flowers available to the bees that produced the honey.
Typical Honey Analysis:
- 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%
Its glycemic index ranges from 31 to 78, depending on the variety. Honey has a density of about 1.36 kilograms per liter (36% denser than water).
HONEY CLASSIFICATION BY FLORAL SOURCE
Honey is classified by its floral source, and there are also divisions according to the packaging and processing used. There are also regional honeys. Honey is also graded on its color and optical density by USDA standards, graded on a scale called the Pfund scale, which ranges from 0 for "water white" honey to more than 114 for "dark amber" honey.
Generally, honey is classified by the floral source of the nectar from which it was made. Honeys can be from specific types of flower nectars or can be blended after collection. The pollen in honey is traceable to floral source and therefore region of origin.
Most commercially available honey is blended, meaning it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin. Polyfloral honey, also known as wildflower honey, is derived from the nectar of many types of flowers. The taste may vary from year to year, and the aroma and the flavor can be more or less intense, depending on which bloomings are prevalent.
Monofloral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower. Different monofloral honeys have a distinctive flavor and color because of differences between their principal nectar sources. To produce monofloral honey, beekeepers keep beehives in an area where the bees have access to only one type of flower. In practice, because of the difficulties in containing bees, a small proportion of any honey will be from additional nectar from other flower types. Typical examples of North American monofloral honeys are clover, orange blossom, blueberry, sage, tupelo, buckwheat, fireweed, mesquite and sourwood. Some typical European examples include thyme, thistle, heather, acacia, dandelion, sunflower, honeysuckle, and varieties from lime and chestnut trees. In North Africa (e.g. Egypt) examples include clover, cotton, and citrus (mainly orange blossoms).
Instead of taking nectar, bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects. Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam, and is not as sweet as nectar honeys. Germany's Black Forest is a well known source of honeydew-based honeys, as well as some regions in Bulgaria, Tara (mountain) in Serbia and Northern California in the United States. In Greece, pine honey (a type of honeydew honey) constitutes 60 to 65% of the annual honey production. Honeydew honey is popular in some areas, but in other areas beekeepers have difficulty selling the stronger flavored product.
The production of honeydew honey has some complications and dangers. The honey has a much larger proportion of indigestibles than light floral honeys, thus causing dysentery to the bees, resulting in the death of colonies in areas with cold winters. Good beekeeping management requires the removal of honeydew prior to winter in colder areas. Bees collecting this resource also have to be fed protein supplements, as honeydew lacks the protein-rich pollen accompaniment gathered from flowers.
HONEY CLASSIFICATION BY PACKAGING & PROCESSING
Generally, honey is bottled in its familiar liquid form. However, honey is sold in other forms, and can be subjected to a variety of processing methods.
Crystallized Honey: Crystalized honey is honey in which some of the glucose content has spontaneously crystallized from solution as the monohydrate. Also called "granulated honey" or "candied honey." Honey that has crystallized (or commercially purchased crystallized) can be returned to a liquid state by warming.
Pasteurized Honey: Pasteurized honey is honey that has been heated in a pasteurization process which requires temperatures of 161°F (72°C) or higher. Pasteurization destroys yeast cells. It also liquefies any microcrystals in the honey, which delays the onset of visible crystallization. However, excessive heat exposure also results in product deterioration, as it increases the level of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and reduces enzyme (e.g. diastase) activity. Heat also affects appearance (darkens the natural honey color), taste, and fragrance.
Raw Honey: Raw honey is honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining, without adding heat (although some honey that has been "minimally processed" is often labeled as raw honey). Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. Some allergy sufferers try using raw, local honey to build up a tolerance to the pollen in the air. However, hay fever is typically caused by pollen in the air, which is mostly from trees, weeds, and grass, rather than flowers.
Strained Honey: Strained honey has been passed through a mesh material to remove particulate material (pieces of wax, propolis, other defects) without removing pollen, minerals or enzymes.
Filtered Honey: Filtered honey is honey of any type that has been filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen grains, air bubbles, or other materials normally found in suspension, have been removed. The process typically heats honey to 150 to 170°F (66 to 77°C) to more easily pass through the filter. Filtered honey is very clear and will not crystallize as quickly, making it preferred by the supermarket trade.
Ultrasonicated Honey: Ultrasonicated honey has been processed by ultrasonication, a non-thermal processing alternative for honey. When honey is exposed to ultrasonication, most of the yeast cells are destroyed. Those cells that survive sonication generally lose their ability to grow, which reduces the rate of honey fermentation substantially. Ultrasonication also eliminates existing crystals and inhibits further crystallization in honey. Ultrasonically aided liquefaction can work at substantially lower temperatures of approximately 95°F (35°C) and can reduce liquefaction time to less than 30 seconds.
Creamed Honey: Creamed honey, also called whipped honey, spun honey, churned honey, candied honey, honey fondant, and (in the UK) set honey, has been processed to control crystallization. Creamed honey contains a large number of small crystals, which prevent the formation of larger crystals that can occur in unprocessed honey. The processing also produces a honey with a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Dried Honey: Dried honey has the moisture extracted from liquid honey to create completely solid, nonsticky granules. This process may or may not include the use of drying and anticaking agents. Dried honey is used in baked goods, and to garnish desserts.
Comb Honey: Comb honey is honey still in the honeybees' wax comb. It traditionally is collected by using standard wooden frames in honey supers. The frames are collected and the comb is cut out in chunks before packaging. As an alternative to this labor intensive method, plastic rings or cartridges can be used that do not require manual cutting of the comb, and speed packaging. Comb honey harvested in the traditional manner is also referred to as "cut-comb honey".
Chunk Honey: Chunk honey is packed in widemouth containers consisting of one or more pieces of comb honey immersed in extracted liquid honey.
Because of its unique composition and chemical properties, honey is suitable for long-term storage, and is easily assimilated even after long preservation. Honey, and objects immersed in honey, have been preserved for decades and even centuries. The key to preservation is limiting access to humidity. In its cured state, honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation. If exposed to moist air, its hydrophilic properties will pull moisture into the honey, eventually diluting it to the point that fermentation can begin. Regardless of preservation, honey may crystallize over time. The crystals can be dissolved by heating the honey.
In the US, honey grading is performed voluntarily (USDA does offer inspection and grading "as on-line (in-plant) or lot inspection - upon application, on a fee-for-service basis.") based upon USDA standards. Honey is graded based upon a number of factors, including water content, flavor and aroma, absence of defects and clarity. Honey is also classified by color though it is not a factor in the grading scale. The honey grade scale is:
GRADE WATER CONTENT FLAVOR & AROMA ABSENCE OF DEFECTS CLARITY A < 18.5% Good - has a good, normal flavor and aroma for the predominant floral source and is free from caramelization, smoke, fermentation, chemicals and other odor causes. Practically Free - practically no defects that affect appearance or edibility. Clear - may contain air bubbles that do not materially affect the appearance; may contain a trace of pollen grains or other finely divided particles of suspended material that do not affect appearance. B > 18.6% and < 20.0% Reasonably Good - practically free from caramelization; free from smoke, fermentation, chemicals, and other causes Reasonably Free - do not materially affect appearance or edibility Reasonably Clear - may contain air bubbles, pollen grains, or other finely divided particles of suspended material that do not materially affect appearance C < 20.0% Fairly Good - reasonably free from caramelization; free from smoke, fermentation, chemicals, and other causes Fairly Free - do not seriously affect the appearance or edibility Fairly Clear - may contain air bubbles, pollen grains, or other finely divided particles of suspended material that do not seriously affect appearance Substandard > 20.0% Fails Grade C Fails Grade C Fails Grade C
Other countries may have differing standards on the grading of honey. India, for example, certifies honey grades based on additional factors, such as the Fiehe's test, and other empirical measurements.
INDICATORS OF QUALITY
High-quality honey can be distinguished by fragrance, taste, and consistency. Ripe, freshly collected, high-quality honey at 20°C (68 °F) should flow from a knife in a straight stream, without breaking into separate drops. After falling down, the honey should form a bead. The honey, when poured, should form small, temporary layers that disappear fairly quickly, indicating high viscosity. If not, it indicates excessive water content (over 20%) of the product. Honey with excessive water content is not suitable for long-term preservation.
In jars, fresh honey should appear as a pure, consistent fluid, and should not set in layers. Within a few weeks to a few months of extraction, many varieties of honey crystallize into a cream-colored solid. Some varieties of honey, including tupelo, acacia, and sage, crystallize less regularly. Honey may be heated during bottling at temperatures of 40 to 49°C (104 to 120*deg;F) to delay or inhibit crystallization. Overheating is indicated by change in enzyme levels, for instance, diastase activity, which can be determined with the Schade or the Phadebas methods. A fluffy film on the surface of the honey (like a white foam), or marble-colored or white-spotted crystallization on a containers sides, is formed by air bubbles trapped during the bottling process.
HONEY DOSAGE INFORMATION
HONEY SUPPLEMENT FORMS
Honey comes in many forms. Read and follow product label directions for use. Some suggestions are given below for honey uses.
Honey - the name of this familiar and time-tested household remedy comes from ancient Hebrew and means "enchant". Long used as a culinary sweetener, honey is valued for its many healing properties as well. Treatment with honey is referred to as apitherapy and includes replenishing energy, enhancing physical stamina and strengthening those weakened by illness or stress. Honey can also help calm the mind and promote rejuvenating sleep. In addition, honey relieves indigestion and is used to treat cardiovascular disease and respiratory complaints. Finally, a thin coat of honey can be applied to the skin to disinfect and heal minor skin wounds and chapped lips.
BEES FILTER OUT ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
Honey contains only slight traces of residues from industrial emissions, car exhaust and agricultural chemicals because bees act as a biological filter: They die if they come into contact with toxins and thus do not bring pollutants into the hive.
COMPONENTS OF HONEY
Bees produce honey by mixing nectar, which is a sweet substance secreted by flowers, with bee enzymes. The principle constituents of honey are the simple sugars fructose and glucose. Other ingredients include water, pollen, organic acids, enzymes, and various proteins. Honey is made up of 35 percent protein and contains half of all the amino acids, and is a highly concentrated source of many essential nutrients, including large amounts of carbohydrates (sugars), some minerals, B-complex vitamins, and vitamins C, D, and E.
Honey is used to restore energy and promote healing, has a general calming effect and helps to dissolve mucus. It is a natural antiseptic and makes a good salve, when applied externally to the skin for burns and wounds disinfecting and healing minor wounds. Honey is used for the treatment of indigestion, coughs and colds, insomnia, headaches, general weakness and skin wounds. Honey is also used for sweetening other foods and beverages. It varies somewhat in color and taste depending on the origin of the flower and nectar, but in general it is approximately twice as sweet as sugar, so not as much is needed for sweetening purposes. People who have diabetes or hypoglycemia should be careful when consuming honey and its byproducts. These substances affect blood sugar levels in the same way that refined sugars do. Tupelo honey contains more fructose than other types of honey and it is absorbed at a slower rate, so some people with hypoglycemia can use this type sparingly without ill effects.
HONEY & FITNESS
Honey provides a healthful pick-me-up. The glucose and fructose in honey have been predigested by the bees that produced it. These simple sugars are quickly and easily absorbed in the human digestive tract, and they have an overall soothing effect. Honey may be a healthy treat, but take care when using it as a sweetener. Just 1 tablespoon of honey has 64 calories, compared to 46 calories in 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
HONEY APPLICATIONS & RECIPES
RELAXING HONEY BATH RECIPE
2 ounces Honey
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Put honey in a glass with Lavender Essential Oil. If the honey is too thick, heat it by placing the glass in warm water. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the honey-lavender mixture to your bathwater to help you relax and combat insomnia.
HONEY AS A DRESSING FOR WOUNDS
Applied externally, honey is useful for healing minor cuts and abrasions by drawing excess water from the tissues and reducing swelling. In addition, honey contains a germ-killing substance called inhibine, which helps prevent infections. Spread the honey directly on the wound and cover with a sterile bandage.
HONEY HELP FOR HAY FEVER
Honey contains grains of pollen that, over time, may have a desensitizing effect, making it useful for the relief of allergies. Hay fever sufferers are advised to eat honey that has been harvested locally.
HONEY FOR THE RELIEF OF ASTHMA, BRONCHITIS, & OTHER RESPIRATORY AILMENTS
Honey is an outstanding household remedy that can be used in combination with various medicinal herbs. For relief of coughs and wheezing associated with bronchitis, whooping cough or other minor respiratory ailments.
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thyme
1/4 to 1/2 cup Honey
Mix thyme with a little honey. Take the mixture orally as needed to soothe inflamed lungs and airways. Dried thyme can be used if rehydrated in a little warm water before mixing with honey.
Do not give unpasteurized honey to infants. It contains a type of bacteria that, though harmless to older children and adults, can be very dangerous to those younger than a year.
Many kinds of honey are available. The consistency, fragrance and taste depend on the types of flowers from which bees collect nectar. Look for honey that has been produced by beekeepers who do not feed their bees refined sugars or use harmful pesticides. Buy only unfiltered, unheated, unprocessed honey, and never give honey to an infant under one year of age. In its natural form, honey can contain spores of the bacteria that causes botulism. This poses no problem for adults and older children, but in infants, the spores can colonize the digestive tract and produce the deadly toxin there. Honey is safe for babies after age one.
HONEY & MEAD MAKING INFORMATION & RESOURCES
Mead is a honey wine that is easy to make and is quite tasty. My former son-in-law, Alex, used to make wonderful mead. Here are some links to resources for this sweet, tasty wine.
The Bee Folks Products (Honey, Beeswax candles, Bee Beauty Products Honey Gardens Apiaries Plant Medicine (Vermont) Georgia Honey Online: Natural Raw Honey Gruwell Apiary Raw Honey & More... Anna's Honey: Pure Raw Honey - Taste The Difference Log Chain.com: Raw Honey & Recipes The Mead Maker's Page BrewMaxer: Wine Recipes - Sweet Mead Wine Queen Mab: Legend of Queen of Maeve (Maeve means Mead - The Wine of Women's Wisdom The Bee's Lees: A Collection of Mead Recipes Mead & Honey Based Wines: Making Mead
HELPFUL MEAD & WINE-MAKING BOOKS
Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More -- By Pattie Vargas, Rich Gulling The Compleat Meadmaker: Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-Winning Fruit & Herb Variations -- By Ken Schramm Making Mead Honey Wine: History, Recipes, Methods & Equipment -- By Roger A. Morse, Mary A. Scott Making Mead Honey Wine -- By Roger A. Morse
Note: Many of the links provided on this page have assorted Bee Products besides just those listed in each section above. I tried to supply a diverse selection of links that would allow you to compare quality and prices of the products shown and from various areas of the country.
Honey Products Lavender Essential Oil Products Thyme Essential Oil Products Thyme Herbal Products
HONEY SAFETY & INTERACTION INFORMATION
Honey is regarded as safe for most people; however, if you have an allergy to bee stings do not use. If you should ingest Honey and have a allergic reaction, get medical attention as soon as possible.
Because of the natural presence of botulinum endospores in honey, children under one year of age should not be given honey. The more-developed digestive system of older children and adults generally destroys the spores. Infants, however, can contract botulism from honey. Medical grade honey can be treated with gamma radiation to reduce the risk of botulinum spores being present. Gamma radiation evidently does not affect honey's antibacterial activity, whether or not the particular honey's antibacterial activity is dependent upon peroxide generation. Infantile botulism shows geographical variation. In the UK, only six cases have been reported between 1976 and 2006, yet the U.S. has much higher rates: 1.9 per 100,000 live births, 47.2% of which are in California. While the risk honey poses to infant health is small, it is recommended not to take the risk.
Toxic Honey: Honey produced from flowers of oleanders, rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel, and azaleas may cause honey intoxication. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea, and vomiting. Less commonly, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities, and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. Honey intoxication is more likely when using natural unprocessed honey and honey from farmers who may have a small number of hives. Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources, is thought to dilute any toxins.
Toxic honey may also result when bees are proximate to tutu bushes (Coriaria arborea) and the vine hopper insect (Scolypopa australis). Both are found throughout New Zealand. Bees gather honeydew produced by the vine hopper insects feeding on the tutu plant. This introduces the poison tutin into honey. Only a few areas in New Zealand (Coromandel Peninsula, Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Marlborough Sound) frequently produce toxic honey. Symptoms of tutin poisoning include vomiting, delirium, giddiness, increased excitability, stupor, coma, and violent convulsions. To reduce the risk of tutin poisoning, humans should not eat honey taken from feral hives in the risk areas of New Zealand. Since December 2001, New Zealand beekeepers have been required to reduce the risk of producing toxic honey by closely monitoring tutu, vine hopper, and foraging conditions within 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) of their apiary.
HONEY SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
HONEY SUPPLEMENT PRODUCTS
Manuka honey is known in New Zealand as the Healing Honey of the Tea Tree. Enjoy the purity of this rare, exotic, raw honey which has extraordinarily powerful healing benefits. Comvita Bio Active Manuka Honey contains a high level of antibacterial activity not found in other honeys. For digestive health and to assist the digestive process. Pure New Zealand Honey is made with the help of wild flowers to produce a rich natural taste that is all its own.
STARWEST BOTANICALS PRODUCTS
Starwest Botanicals: Honey Granules, 4 oz.
Starwest Botanicals: Honey Granules, 1 lb.
HerbsPro: High Desert Natural Pure Honey With Natural Peach Flavor, CC Pollen, 6 oz. (108639)
HerbsPro: High Desert Natural Pure Honey With Natural Peach Flavor, CC Pollen, 12 oz. (108644)
HerbsPro: High Desert Premium Finest Natural Pure Honey, CC Pollen, 13.4 oz. (108651)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey White Gold, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lb. (106054)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey Tupelo, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lb. (105987)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lb. (Case of 4) (85337)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey Organic, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lb. (Case of 4) (105899)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey Blueberry, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lb. (Case of 4) (106095)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey Orange Blossom, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 1 lbs. (85416)
HerbsPro: Raw Honey Orange Blossom, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 2 lbs. (105953)
HerbsPro: Northern Raw Honey, Honey Gardens Apiaries, 2 lbs. (105953)
TakeHerb: Manuka Honey & Propolis Lozenges, YS Organic Bee Farms, 20 Count
Kalyx: Honey, Pure Organic, Dutch Gold Honey, 12 oz., 6 Containers (GR)
Kalyx: Clover Pure Honey Bears, Dutch Gold Honey, 12 oz., 12 Containers (GR)
Kalyx: Clover Blossom Pure Honey, Dutch Gold Honey, 1 lb., 6 Containers (GR)
Kalyx: Clover Pure Honey, Dutch Gold Honey, 2 lb. Bottles, 12 Containers (GR)
Kalyx: Clover Pure Honey, Dutch Gold Honey, 5 lb. Bottles, 6 Containers (GR)
Kalyx: Clover Pure Honey, Dutch Gold Honey, 60 lb. Tub (GR)
Kalyx: Honey Granules, Starwest Botanicals, Pure Granulated Honey, 1 lb. (C)
Kalyx: Honey Powder, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lb.) (RF)
Amazon: Bee Pollen Supplement Products
Amazon: Bee Propolis Supplement Products
Amazon: Beeswax Products
Amazon: Honey Dietary Supplement Products
Amazon: Honey Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
Amazon: Royal Jelly Supplement Products
Nutrition Basics: Bee-Related Supplement Information Nutrition Basics: Honey Information
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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MOONDRAGON'S REALM - WEBSITE DIRECTORY
A website map to help you find what you are looking for on MoonDragon.org's Website. Available pages have been listed under appropriate directory headings.