NaturalNews) The bee’s precious nectar is known as honey and is created by the combination of nectar from flowers, enzymes in the bee’s saliva, and propolis—-“bee glue.” Hippocrates, the father of medicine, emphasized the nutritional and medicinal values of honey. Honey contains the minerals of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chloride, sulfur, iron and a small quantity of copper, iodine and zinc. The amazing benefits found in honey have less to do with nutritional value and more to do with antioxidant and microbial properties that are unique to this natural sweetness.
Honey is composed of simple sugars, such as sugar-like glucose and fructose that are used quickly by the body. It was man’s first and most reliable source of sweetener and an excellent substitute for sugar. At one time sugar was a very expensive luxury as chocolate and tea.
As far back as 5500 B.C. honey was mentioned in the sacred writings of Egypt and India; in fact, it was found in “King Tut’s tomb.” Centuries later the art of apiculture (beekeeping) passed to the Romans.
Actually, honeybees originated in Tropical Africa and spread to Northern Europe and Asia. Honey’s reported uses varied in many cultures. In the Roman Empire, honey was used to pay taxes. Great wealth was also measured in honey. In Greece, the importance of honey for humans was praised in several classical texts of ancient Greece, such as Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey, and in the philosophical texts of Plato, Aristoteles and others. In ancient Greece it was one of the basic ingredients in cooking and confectionery.
Honey is found as well in the rituals and literature of many religions, including Buddhism and Islam. In the Christian Old Testament the Promised Land is described as “the land of milk and honey.” The word “honey” appears 61 times in the Bible.
The first International Symposium on Honey and Human Health in January 2008 presented research that included findings suggesting that large amounts of friendly bacteria in honey may account for its therapeutic properties. Honey is a more effective cough suppressant for children over a year old than other widely used cough medicines. Another effective use of honey is a dressing for wounds. The unique combination of ingredients in honey dries out the wound and provides antibacterial and antiseptic benefits. Honey reduces odors, swelling and scarring. A recent Indian study involving burn patients found that honey was vastly superior to conventional treatments in suppressing infection and in speeding healing.
Honey has been used for centuries as a natural fragrant and pleasing beauty treatment with its moisturizing qualities and silky feel. Cleopatra’s legendary beauty was attributed to daily infusions of golden honey.
The color and flavor of honey is very specific to the nectar of the flower from which it is drawn and from the region of the flower. Mild clover honey comprises about 45% of the regular supermarket-quality honey.
Native Americans did not know about honey until European colonists brought honeybees to the Americas in 1622. Since honeybees did not cross the Rocky Mountains they were carried by ship to California in the early 1850s.
In addition to the production of honey, honeybees are relied upon for pollination. Today, honey is produced in every state of the U.S. and in most countries of the world. Honey is affordable for almost everyone. The next time you enjoy honey on your biscuits or toast—thank the honeybees.
About the author
Alice E. Marson is a natural health published author and researcher. She is a retired teacher and writes for Mature Living and ActiveAmericans.com mainly on health topics.
As a breast cancer survivor she is a strong believer in natural and alternative medicine and avoiding prescription drugs.
Alice has given public and TV presentations on toxic products in the home.