Honey, which is also known as Madhu or Shahad, it is an important food and medicine in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, it belongs to the categories of food which can be eaten daily for good health. However, it has very particular and strong properties and should be taken carefully. It is gold if taken properly under right conditions. It is also known as healing nectar because of it’s strong healing powers.
“Nothing is so troublesome as ama [indigestion] caused by the improper intake of honey.’
– Charaka Samhita
Nature’s gift to the mankind
Honey is an excellent nature’s gift to the mankind. Because of it’s sweet taste, one of the prominent use of honey is as a natural sweetener. Besides that, it has high nutritional value. It can also be used as a natural medicine. Honey has sugar such as fructose, maltose, glucose with added proteins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and fats.
How is honey produced?
Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and carry it to the beehive. In their stomachs, these combine with enzymes and proteins to produce honey. In the beehive, the honey is released into the beeswax comb. This process continues until the combs are full. Honey has long history of use since antiquity.
What is raw honey?
Pure, unfiltered and unpasteurized natural sugar made by the bees from the nectar of flowers. Most of the honey consumed today is processed honey that’s been heated and filtered since it was gathered from the hive. Unlike processed honey, raw honey contains incredible nutritional value.
Kinds of Honey
Honey can be found in many forms. The main kinds of honey commonly found are:
- Comb Honey
- Liquid Honey
- Granulated Honey
- Creamed Honey
- Chunk Honey
1. COMB HONEY
As the name suggests, this kind of honey is taken directly as it is from the bee wax. Once taken, it is stored with the same comb as it is.
2. LIQUID HONEY
To extract liquid honey, the wax cappings are cut and wax combs are processed in an extractor which is known as honey centrifuge extractor.
3. GRANULATED HONEY
This kind of honey is frozen which makes the water elements separated from the honey and leaves the granules of honey behind.
4. CREAMED HONEY
Creamed honey is the combination of liquid honey and granulated honey. 1 part of granulated honey is mixed with 9 parts of liquid honey; it is then stored at 57 degrees until it becomes completely firm.
5. CHUNK HONEY
Chunk honey contains comb honey and liquid honey. A jar is taken and comb honey is placed in it. Liquid honey is then poured over the comb honey in jar, resulting in chunk honey.
Benefits of Honey
When used under right conditions, honey has numerous benefits. Some of them are listed below:
- It helps to relieves cough.
- It has amazing healing power and helps to heal wounds.
- When combined with turmeric, it is an amazing mixture to heal burns externally.
- It reduces Kapha dosha.
- It helps to remove congestion.
- It helps to reduce weight.
- It helps to soothes a sore throat.
- It removes unwanted toxins from the body.
- It helps to get rid of cholesterol and fat.
- It has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- When taken with herbs it increases the potency of herbs.
- It is an amazing treatment for diseases like, diarrhea, vomiting, worm infections, etc.
- Honey contains iron, manganese, and copper which helps to build hemoglobin in body. Because of which honey aids to treat patients with anemia.
- Honey works wonderfully on dry skin to moisturize it.
- It helps to treat various eye ailments.
Properties of Honey
- It is for Dosha VK
- It tastes sweet
- It energetics heating
- It contains vitamins and minerals. It has vitamins B, vitamin C, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, chromium, and manganese
The Ayurvedic Rules for Honey
Honey is widely used in Ayurveda. However, there are a few rules to get maximum benefit of using honey. Some of them are:
- The number one rule is to NEVER heat honey(above 40 °C) because heating honey directly creates toxins which are bad for the body.
- Honey is an excellent medicine for Kapha types, because of it’s quality lekhana. Lekhana scrape away the toxins, fat, and cholesterol from the body.
- When taken with herbs it increases their potency making them more effective.
- Avoid eating ghee and honey in equal proportions by weight (not by volume).
- Those who have Pitta type or Pitta imbalance should avoid taking honey.
- Honey should be used/consumed with hot foods.
How to test the purity of honey?
It is advisable to use raw honey to get the maximum benefits. There are a few methods to check the purity of honey.
- When put in the water, the honey should not spread quickly.
- When added in the water, the honey should settle at the bottom of the jar.
- The taste should be sweet and astringent, giving the tongue a drying sensation.
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Written By: Syeda Saira