HONEY - THE MOST NUTRITIOUS FOOD
Honey is sweet liquid gathered by honey bees from nectar or other secretions of plants which they transform by addition of enzymes and evaporation of water in it. Honey is the most wonderful GIFT OF GOD and mother NATURE to mankind. It was the only sweetening agent known to the early man. And naturally found its way into traditions, rituals, customs and food of every religion and nation.
COLOUR OF HONEY
The colour of liquid honey ranges from almost water to dark, depending upon the plant source from where the nectar collected.
Jamun and honeys are dark amber, respectively, where as rubber and mustard honeys are golden or light yellow color. Generally, light or golden colored honeys are preferred by the consumers; but dark honeys that have more minerals are preferred by the health conscious consumers.
TYPES OF HONEY
Honey produced by the Indian hive bee, Apis cerena indica and the European bee, Apis.mellifera, in apiaries and collected by the modern extraction method, is called apiary honey. Apairy hineys are transparent and are free from foreign materials.
Honeys produced by the rockbee, Apis dorsata, or wild nests of A. cerana indica, in forests and collected by the crude method of squeezing the comb. Are termed as forest honeys. Forest honey is turbid due to the presence of a lot of pollen, wax, brood and other parts of bees and plant materials. TO separate the suspended particles, an extra filteration of honey is necessary. This gives clarity.
There is a misconception among the common that granulated honey is an adulterated honey, having common sugar. This is not correct. In fact, granulation is natural process of crystallization of the glucose content in honey.
CONSUMPTION OF HONEY
For a child 10-15 gm per day
Youth 30-35 gm per day
Healthy Man 30-50 gm per day
Old People 20-30 gm per day
Patients As recommended by Physician
There is no specific time tag honey. It can be taken before, with or after meals. It should especially be consumed as FOOD not as a medicine. Honey can be taken by a person of any age, provided it suits him/her. There are similarly, no dosage restrictions for healthy persons. Any quantity of honey can be taken, but direct consumption of excess quantities at a time is not advisable.
Antibiotic activity of honey is mainly responsible for its use since ancient times in healing the wounds due to cut, burns, etc. The hygroscopic nature of honey enables
the wound to dry quickly. This also helps in protecting the tenderness of the skin and cleaning of eyes. Its antibiotic nature is due to acidity, hyper-osmotic property and due to the production of hydrogen peroxide by the enzymes system.
Honey is used most commonly as a vehicle of medicines in Ayurvedic treatments, because of its freedom from any adverse effect and its assimilation. This enhances the effect of the medicine. Honey is found to be non-irritant, promotes rapid growth of healthy tissues and is useful in pruitus vulvae, bed sores , skin and intestinal disorders. Honey is used internally in treatments of cough, cold, hay fever, gastro-intestinal disordes, etc. Honey serves as a general tonic for all ages.
CONSUMPTION OF HONEY
Out of total production over 80% of honey is directly consumed as household, about 10% used in traditional medicine or used in Ayurvedic preparations and hardly 10% of honey is consumed either as food products like fruit processing, bakery, confectionary etc in some allopathic medicine and other products.
TEST OF PURE HONEY
All the laymen test or visual observations are not reliable to ascertain purity of honey. Only chemical test as recommended by AGMARK / BIS/ PFA specifications are advisable to confirm purity of honey. There is a simple test to detect adulteration in honey. If precipitation of barium sulphate is formed.., jaggery (brown or crude sugar) is present in honey.
QUALITY TESTING AND GRADING
1. Special Grade - Less than 20% moisture
2. “A” Grade - 21% to 22%
3. Standard Grade - 22% to 25%