MIRACLES OF HONEY

DR. S.M. ALAM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Feb 7 - 13, 2011

Honey is natural product produced by 'the Bees' which are very small flies. In the Holy Quran, there is a Surah named- An-Naml-16, meaning 'The Bees'. In this Surah, the Al-Mighty Allah has mentioned the work of 'Bees' which help in the preparation of honey and it is stated as: And your Lord inspired the bees, saying: Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect (Surah An-Naml-16, Verse-68). Then, "eat of all fruits and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you)." There comes from their bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think (Surah An-Naml-16, Verse-69).

In another Surah, it is stated about honey as a pure drink.

The description of Paradise which the Muttaquin have been promised (is that), in it are rivers of water, the taste and smell of which are not changed, rivers of milk of which the taste never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink and rivers of clarified honey (clear and pure) therein for them is every kind of fruit and forgiveness from their Lord (Surah Muhammad-47 Verse- 15).

Honey, a most assimilable carbohydrate compound, is a singularly acceptable, practical and most effective aliment to generate heat, create and replace energy and furthermore to form certain tissues. Honey, besides, supplies the organism with substances for the formation of enzymes and other biological ferments to promote oxidation. It has distinct germicidal properties and in this respect greatly differs from milk, which is an exceptionally good breeding-ground for bacteria.

Honey is a most valuable food. Honey is one of the most versatile natural remedies used in traditional medicine. It is a great source of energy. In ancient times, this gold liquid was effectively used to treat anemia, skin diseases, tuberculosis, heart diseases, liver disorders, coughs, and sore throat. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used honey as source of payments to the laborers.

Natural honey contains about 300 useful substances including carbohydrates, a mixture of sugars and other compounds. With respect to carbohydrates (mainly fructose (about 39.6 per cent) and glucose (about 34.8 per cent), organic acids and salts. It also contains over 30 trace amounts of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen.

Copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in it. As Allah says in the Qur'an, honey is a "healing for men". This scientific fact was confirmed by scientists who assembled during the World Apiculture Conference held in China. During the conference, treatments with honey derivatives were discussed. American scientists in particular said that honey, royal jelly, pollen and propolis (bee resin) cure many diseases. A Romanian doctor stated that he tried honey on cataract patients, and 2002 out of his 2094 patients recovered completely. Polish doctors also informed the conference that bee resin helps to cure many diseases such as haemorrhoids, skin problems, gynaecological diseases and many other disorders.

Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants, including chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C and catalase. In addition to its therapeutic properties, its unique taste and rich aroma make honey our all-time favourable delicacy.

Honey has a density of about 1.36 kilograms per litre (36 per cent denser than water).

The consummation of this pre-digestive act is accomplished by the enzymes invertase, amylase, and catalase, which are produced by the worker bee in such large quantities that they can be found in every part of their bodies. However, there is a plenty of it left in honey for our benefit. Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honeybees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans. Honey produced by other bees and insects has distinctly different properties.

Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose and has approximately the same relative sweetness as that of granulated sugar. It has attractive chemical properties for baking, and a distinctive flavor, which leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners.

Honey has a long history of human consumption and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It is also used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments. The study of pollens and spores in raw honey (melissopalynology) can determine floral sources of honey.

All types of honey granulate over time and the rate of crystallization depends on the composition of the nectar. The nectar higher in glucose will crystallize faster than the fructose. The crystallization does not affect the taste, flavour, quality or nutritional content of the honey though it can alter its colour and texture. In fact, some varieties of honey such as heather honey or white honey are crystallized in their original form or shape. Honey usually does not spoil. Honey forms layer, but it does change in its quality. There are different kind of honey and each kind of honey is unique in its own way and colour, which depends on the plants the nectar is collected.

Colour is usually an indication of flavour concentration and a lighter colour indicates a milder flavour, while darker colour is usually more robust.

Raw honey is full of benefits and it is high calorie food (100 grams of honey contains about 300 calories). Different varieties of honey offer different medical benefits. There are alfalfa, buckwheat, clover, eucalyptus, munaka honey etc. All these honey liquids are used for treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, treating hypertension, scarlet fever, headaches, measles, stomach aches, prevents nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, anemia, bronchial asthma.