Source of Pure Honey and Its Natural Remedy
Honey is a sugar secretion deposited by the honeybees, Apis mellifera Linn, and other species of .Apis in the honeycomb. It must be free from foreign substance, such as parts of insects, leaves, etc., but may contain pollen grains.
Order : Hymen optera.
Family : Apidae.
Habitat: Honey is produced mainly in England, West Indies, California, Canada, Chile and in some parts of Africa. Australia and New Zealand .
Honeybees live in swarms which are gathered into hives. A hive contains :
1. a single queen bee.
2. the males or drones, and
3. the worker bees which are undeveloped females.
The worker bees possess a long, hollow tube to insert into the nectaries of the flowers. The tube is formed from the maxillae and labium. They take nectar from the flowers and pass it through the esophagus into the honey-sac or crop. The nectar, which is an aqueous solution of sucrose (25%), is mixed with salivary secretion containing the enzyme invertase and then is hydrolyzed into the invert sugar.
On returning at the hive the worker bees deposit the contents of the honey sac in the previously prepared cell of the honeycomb. The filled cell is sealed by wax. For collecting the honey, the honeycomb is smoked to remove bees, the comb is cut and honey is collected either by drainage or by expression. The honey obtained by latter procedure is contaminated with the wax. For getting purified honey, it is heated at 80°C when the impurities float on the surface which are removed.
Honey is thick, syrupy, translucent liquid when fresh. The color is pale yellow or reddish-brown and it possesses pleasant odor and sweet taste which are dependent upon the floral source of the product. The honey obtained form Eucalyptus and Banksia species has somewhat unpleasant odor and taste and the honey collected from Datura stramonium is poisonous. On storage it becomes opaque and granular due to the crystallization of dextrose.
Chemical Constituents :
Honey consists chiefly of glucose (30-40%), fructose (40-509%) and small amounts of sucrose (0.1-10%), dextrin, formic acid, volatile oil and pollen grains. In addition to these, traces of enzymes, vitamins, proteins, maltose, melezitose. pentosans, gums, trace elements, amino acids and coloring matter are also present in honey.
Honey is adulterated with cane sugar, corn syrup and artificial invert sugar which is obtained by acid hydrolysis of sucrose. The sugar contains furfural which gives red color with resorcinol in the presence of hydrochloric acid. On prolonged heating or storage of the honey furfural may be formed in the genuine honey.
- Honey shows mild laxative, bactericidal, sedative, antiseptic and alkaline characters.
- It is used for cold, cough, fever, sore eye and throat, tongue and duodenal ulcers, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, kidney and other urinary disorders, pulmonary tuberculosis, marasmus. rickets, scurvy and insomnia.
- It is applied as a remedy on open wounds after surgery. It prevents infection and promotes healing. Honey works quicker than many antibiotics because it is easily absorbed into the blood stream.
- It is also useful in healing of carbuncles, chaps, scalds, whitlows and skin inflammation; as vermicide, locally as an excipient in the treatment of apathy and other infection of the oral mucous membrane.
- It is recommended in the treatment of pre-operative cancer. Honey, mixed with onion juice, is a good remedy for arteriosclerosis in brain.
- Diet rich in honey is recommended for infants, convalescents, diabetic patients and invalids.
- Honey is an important ingredient of certain lotions, cosmetics, soaps, creams, balms, toilet-waters and inhalations.
- It is used as a medium in preservation of cornea.