Honey - A Beneficial Natural Product

Knowledge of the healing effects of honey was widespread in ancient times across many cultures and was recognised in Ayurveda as well.

Bees have to work very hard to produce even a kilo of honey. A single bee would have to circle the earth seven times to do it. But honey is worth all the effort. For bees, it is first and foremost a non-perishable source of food and energy. For humans, it provides energy as well as additional benefits.

In recent decades, countless studies have repeatedly proven what the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Ayurvedic teachings have long known: honey promotes the body's natural healing powers. But how does it work?

Honey prevents bacterial growth by dehydrating bacteria. It also contains the enzyme glucose oxidase which is converted into disinfectant hydrogen peroxide in our body. Honey also contains many vitamins and minerals that support and strengthen the immune system.

Honey consists mainly of fructose and glucose as well as around 20% water and 2% enzymes. These are protein compounds mixed in by the bees which are also effective against bacteria.

Honey in Ayurveda

Honey holds a special place in Ayurveda and is used for healing purposes. Various types of honey are described in the classical texts. The mostly similar one in modern times would be the fluid, high-quality forest honey with a slight bitter flavour. However, honey should be stored for at least a year before it is consumed. Only then does it have the effects mentioned.

Although honey tastes sweet, it reduces Kapha. This is great news for people with too much Kapha. Because of its astringent, drying and scraping qualities, it can even help with weight loss. The reducing effects of honey are particularly effective when it is dissolved in warm water (one teaspoon of honey per glass of water).

Honey was mainly used in Ayurveda for respiratory diseases. It is said to promote expectoration and be beneficial for the voice as well as for coughs and asthma. In the classical texts, it is also considered to be good for the heart and skin. Honey supports digestion and metabolism. It is also used to treat wounds in Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic remedies mainly use honey as a carrier substance because it enhances their effects and transports them deep into the body's tissues. It is also used for ts delicious flavour.

Classical teachings warn against heating honey. This is also confirmed by modern research. It has been found that heating honey above 40°C causes loss of flavour and destroy important enzymes.

As per Ayurveda, heated honey even has a toxic effect in the long term because it is said to contaminate blood which can ultimately lead to liver disease, inflammation and skin problems. Honey should not be consumed in excessive quantities, as this can lead to the formation of waste products in the body or increase vata.