By Porselvi Ravi
Foraging bees start out by sucking nectar a dilute solution of sugars in flower. Then, they mix the nectar with enzymes in their stomach like honey sacs. Back at the hive, the forages pass the digested material to house bees, which reduce the moisture content of the mixture by ingesting and regurgitating it. Then they deposit concentrated drops in to honeycomb cells. New honey taken from the comb seems to be clean plate and sweet in taste. Taste character may vary depending upon the source.
The flavor and color of the honey is largely determined by the type of flowers from which the nectar is gathered. Common flavours of honey include orange blossom honey, tupelo honey, clover honey, blackberry, and blueberry honey. In Australia, Tasmanian leatherwood honey is considered a delicacy for its unique flavour. Manuka honey from New Zealand is said by some to have more healing properties than other honeys, therefore sells at a premium price.
Honey is absorbed very quickly . Hence it gives energy immediately. It is better to prescribe, the administration of bitter drugs with honey especially in children.
Composition of honey
Nutritional value per 100g
Energy 300 kcal, 1270 kj
Carbohydrates 82.4 g
• Sugars 82.12g
• Dietary fiber 0.2g Fat 0g
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%). The remaining carbohydrates include maltose, sucrose and other complex carbohydrates. Unlike most other sweeteners, honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.
The specific composition of any batch of honey will depend largely on the mix of flowers consumed by the bees that produced the honey. Honey has a density of about 1.5 kg/liter (50% denser than water) or 12.5 pounds per US gallon.
Typical honey analysis
• Fructose: 38%
• Glucose: 31%
• Sucrose: 1%
• Water: 17%
• Other sugars: 9% (maltose)
• Ash: 0.17%
The analysis of the sugar content of honey is used for detecting adulteration.
The main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, spreading on bread or toast, and adding to various beverages such as tea . Because honey is hygroscopic (drawing moisture from the air), a small quantity of honey added to a pastry recipe will prevent it from becoming stale. Raw honey also contains enzymes that help in its digestion, as well as several vitamins and antioxidants. Eating wild honey from near your home can help build up resistance to hayfever and other pollen allergies.
It is also used for treating indigestion, sinusitis, cough, tuberculosis. Honey has demulcent action; hence it will reduce the ulceration or gastritis which may occur by the main drug. It is used as laxative. It is also used for treating indigestion, sinusitis, cough, tuberculosis. It was also used for preserving the cadaver (e.g. King Alexander) hence it has the activity of preserving the body and prolongs life. Honey with ghee in equal quantity may produce toxic effects.
Honey is demulcent, laxative, astringent, expectorant, carminative, hypnotic and diuretic. Honey decreases the intestinal motility and promotes urination in children.
Honey (as well as other sweeteners) is also potentially extremely dangerous for infants. This is because botulism spores are among the few bacteria that survive in honey. While these spores are harmless to adults, an infant’s digestive system is not yet developed enough to destroy them and the spores could potentially cause infant botulism. For this reason, it is advised that neither honey, nor any other sweetener, should be given to children under the age of 18 months.
Honey has excellent antibacterial properties that can help in the process of healing sore. To prevent and stop possible bacteria growth and to soothe the pain of a sore throat, take one teaspoon of honey, 3-5 times a day. Let the honey melt in the mouth first, and then swallow it slowly to coat the throat.
Honey does not spoil. Because of its high sugar concentration, it kills bacteria by osmotically lysing them. Natural airborne yeasts can not become active in it because the moisture content is too low. Natural, raw honey varies from 14% to 18% moisture content. As long as the moisture content remains under 18%, nothing will grow in honey.
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