Honey is the most valuable product from bees which has been consumed by mankind over a period of centuries.
What is honey?Honey is a supersaturated solution of sugars, mainly fructose, glucose, and maltose-like sugars, with traces of sucrose, glucose oxidase, hydrogen peroxide, phenolics, flavonoids, terpenes, etc. The sugars make honey hydroscopic (moisture absorbing) and viscous and the sugar concentration plus other factors including low ph, hydrogen peroxide. The flavonoids, phenolics and terpenes make honey antimicrobial or prevent microbial growth.
Beneficial properties of honey is based on high concentration of fructose and glucose. During digestion the principal carbohydrates fructose and glucose are quickly transported into the blood and can be utilized for energy requirements of the human body. Honey contains about 0.5% proteins, mainly enzymes and amino acids.
Its contribution to human protein intake is marginal with respect to quantity. Beneficial properties of honey are also provided by high contents of vitamins, microelements and minerals. Polyphenols are another important group of compounds with respect to appearance and functional properties. Polyphenols in honey are mainly flavonoids (e.g. quercetin, luteolin, kaempferol, apigenin, chrysin, galangin), phenolic acids and phenolic acid derivatives.
The polyphenols are responsible for the antioxidant properties of honey. Honey inhibits the growth of microorganisms and fungi. The antimicrobial effect of honey is due to different substances and depends on the botanical origin of honey. Honey has been found to contain significant antioxidant activity including glucose oxidase, catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoid derivatives, organic acids, Maillard reaction products, amino acids, proteins.Scientifically investigated properties of the New Zealand Manuka honey gathered in New Zealand from Leptospermum scoparium showed remarkable properties with many beneficial properties for the body. These beneficial properties were used as a base for Trade Mark “Unique Manuka Factor"
The main use of honey is as a flavorful sweetener and energy source which is eaten with and as a component of a wide variety of foods.
Secondary, uses of honey are for the promotion of health and wellbeing. Some of these uses include aiding connected with wound problems, skin and digestive problems.
It is known that Egyptians used honey for healing wounds 3500 years ago. Honey is successfully used in folk medicine at present.It is normally taken with tea and milk as a winter wellness support. Honey is more digestible that ordinary sugar and is a very valuable dietary product that is why it is recommended to patients who require a nourishing diet.