The properties and benefits of honey have been known and used by different societies over time. Currently this substance is one of the most important primary natural sweeteners, whose benefits range from a pleasant taste to the palate, to the possible prevention and treatment of diseases.
We will see what honey is and how it is obtained, and its main properties and benefits.
What is honey and how is it obtained?
Natural honey is produced naturally by the Apis mallifera and different subspecies of bees. The latter obtain honey by the nectar of the flowers and also by secretions released by the bees themselves.
Broadly speaking, honey is produced through a process of combining substances that bees transport, concentrate and store in combs (a set of wax cells that they build to deposit honey). Subsequently, the honey is extracted by a process that includes the discharge, the lifting, the uncapping and finally the separation of the honey from the wax. All this occurs in a previously constituted space, and with machinery and specialized equipment.
Bee honey has a complex composition rich in nutrients, which have been used for human consumption from the most ancestral societies.
The highest proportion of these nutrients is occupied by carbohydrates, such as fructose and glucose. It also contains enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and organic acids, which make honey has many properties. In fact, it has not only been used as food but as an important therapeutic resource.
10 properties and benefits of honey from the bee
As we have seen, honey is one of the natural resources that has been used the most by human beings. From the classical texts of medicine, honey appears as an important resource to treat wounds, pains and diseases.
Currently, beekeeping (bee breeding to take advantage of its products) is one of the most important economic activities in different countries. The latter is due to the richness of its nutritional properties and its curative potential. We will see below what are the most important properties of honey.
1. Antibacterial potential
Due to the inhibins (hydrogen peroxide, flavonoids and phenolic acids) present in honey, this substance has important properties as a bactericide. These properties are also attributed to the presence of glucose oxidase. For example, one of the antibacterial potentials of honey may be important for the treatment of acne and to exfoliate the skin.
2. Natural source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural substances that prevent the formation of oxides, which in turn slows cellular decomposition. In this sense, the periodic consumption of honey can be an important dietary supplement in the prevention of heart diseases, the immune system and inflammatory processes.
3. Primary sweetener
Before the extraction of cane sugar and other roots, tubers and foods became popular, honey was the only natural primary sweetener. Because of its components, such as small peptides, flavonoids and enzymes, honey serves as a sweetener, but not only that. It is a protective agent that, when mixed with other foods, can enhance both the taste and its beneficial properties for health. In this same sense, the honey of bee serves as a natural substitute of the refined sugar.
4. Contains proteins
Bee honey contains approximately enzymes and amino acids. These originate from the activity of the bees themselves, and sometimes in the nectar of the plant. Proteins have a fundamental role in the growth and synthesis of different tissues. In turn, amino acids are the basis for the production of proteins
5. Hydrating potential
The high humidity concentration of honey not only influences its viscosity, weight, taste and color, but it can be essential to moisturize different parts of our body. For this reason, it is often used as a moisturizer on the hair and scalp. In this it is important that the honey is not exposed to high temperatures, since its properties can be lost.
6. Favors digestion
When combined with other natural products, such as lemon juice or cinnamon, honey may favor the activity of the digestive system. This means that it helps to metabolize food, preventing or alleviating stomach indigestion. It has also been attributed to relieve symptoms of constipation and heaviness after heavy meals. For this reason, it has also been attributed the property of preventing reflux and helping to alleviate diarrhea.
7. Treatment of wounds and burns
Already from the ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Roman societies, honey was used to treat different wounds. In combination with other herbs, a honey ointment was beneficial for sunburns, wound infections and facial blemishes. For this reason, antiseptic properties are attributed to it, that is, it reduces the possibility of infections when applied to living tissue in some wounds.
8. Relieves cough and sore throat
Again when combined with other substances such as lime or lemon juice, honey bee relieves sore throat, even in small doses. By the antibacterial properties they could also help to fight some infections of this type. Also honey is recognized as a natural remedy for cough (however it is recommended not to apply in children under one year).
9. Anti-inflammatory activity
The direct application of honey on inflamed muscles has been used as a potent anti-inflammatory, that is, it has been attributed the property of reducing muscle swelling. In turn, this relieves the pain caused by the same inflammation.
10. Other properties
Ayurvedic medicine, traditional of India, has attributed to honey properties of revitalizing, which in turn alleviate weakness or excessive fatigue. It has also been attributed a relaxing property that favors sleep and some symptoms of stress, also used for the pain of teeth, especially in children older than one year, in the treatment of asthma and hypo. It is also used to moderate blood pressure levels.