World of bees.
The Benefits of Bees and Honey
Honey comes in various flavors depending on its source plants. Clover-honey is less intense than the acacia or thyme-flavored variety, while eucalyptus-honey is rather bitter. Honey is hygroscopic, so it absorbs water from the environment, which makes its color lighter and slightly changes its taste. A high humidity level also makes honey sweeter because of the presence of glucose. High-quality honey does not crystallize in normal conditions; if after some time it gets a
Bee products are useful in folk medicine despite their relatively low content of biologically active compounds. Etheric oils may have bactericidal effects when applied to wounds or they may give rise to allergic reactions. However, most of these effects are still unconfirmed.
Bee venom is applied by beekeepers in order to reduce the number of stings experienced by them, although there is no scientific evidence for this treatment.
The benefits of honey in the world of bees include:
· Use as a skin moisturizer
Honey can be used on skin burns, cuts, and abrasions because it forms a protective coating over the wound which promotes healing; it also has strong antiseptic properties. Applying honey on wounds prevents infection better than some modern medicines (e.g., tincture of iodine). It was used traditionally to treat boils, psoriasis, or eczema. Raw – that is unpasteurized – honey is applied to wounds most often, with the addition of some crushed garlic.
· Treatment of gastrointestinal diseases
The most widespread use of honey in medicine is for the treatment of various gastrointestinal diseases. It has long been known that ingestion of large amounts of honey will cause intestinal disorders, so it was previously thought that honey contained substances causing these effects. However, only small amounts were found to produce this effect even when they were injected directly into the intestines; thus scientists proved that this was a psychosomatic phenomenon caused by deep oral allergy syndrome (DOAS). In fact, those individuals who are allergic to bees and their venom can experience mild or severe reactions after eating minimal amounts of the bee product as the venom is still present in traces. Although it is rare, one should take precautions before trying honey as a treatment for gastrointestinal diseases because of its high content of fructose which can worsen diarrhea and cause bloating and flatulence.
·Treatment of various infections
The use of honey to treat different types of infections was practiced many centuries ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia where bee products were used against wounds, ulcers, and respiratory tract inflammations. However, this fact has been neglected until recent years when scientists started looking into the antimicrobial properties of honey. It turns out that the main components responsible for these effects are hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), methylglyoxal (MGO), and bee defensin-1. The presence of these compounds is more pronounced in honey originating from New Zealand or Australia.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals – molecules that damage cells and cause cancer, aging, and many other diseases. Some antioxidants are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, grains, and even meat but their concentration can vary considerably depending on storage conditions. Honey contains low levels of antioxidants which makes it only a weak natural antioxidant; nevertheless, its stability at high temperatures (up to 100 ˚C) prevents the total destruction of active substances during cooking or processing food industry products with high sugar content (e.g., dried fruit). This effect makes honey suitable for various industrial applications.
·Prevention of blood clotting
Honey is also known for its anticoagulant (blood-thinning) properties. These effects are mainly caused by the presence of antioxidant flavonoids which prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol leading to clogged arteries and heart disease. Flavonoids can also act as antioxidants, cancer prevention agents, and immune system boosters.
·Prevention of liver disease
Although it has not yet been confirmed that honey can prevent liver diseases, some preliminary studies suggest that honey might be effective in preventing or limiting liver damage after surgery due to its anti-inflammatory abilities. It was also reported to reduce oxidative stress markers in damaged livers.
Honey is used to produce several cough syrups and pastes. Although not yet scientifically proven, it has been known for centuries that honey can reduce coughing significantly – even more than some popular chemical drugs.
·Weight loss aid
The use of honey in the treatment of obesity and weight gain was suggested by some recent studies. In fact, natural honey contains a high level of antioxidants which suppress the development of tumor cells and improve immunity; this allows for better digestion and consequent reduction in fat storage.
·Improved athletic performance
Honey increases blood sugar levels quickly, preventing them from dropping after meals and allowing athletes to work harder for longer periods without experiencing “bonks”. Additionally, its high water content and low percentage of fat make it suitable for consumption before, during, and after physical activity.
·Antioxidant agent for smokers
Honey acts as a good antioxidant agent in the body which is helpful to stop free radicals from damaging cells leading to regular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes. It has been reported that honey can help people who usually smoke reduce their daily intake of cigarettes by 50%.
·Lower blood pressure levels
High blood pressure (hypertension) is caused by several factors including obesity, stress, smoking, and alcohol use. Another factor closely related to this disorder is hypertension-inducing oxidative stress. Honey contains antioxidants that fight against reactive oxygen species (ROS), free radicals capable of causing cell damage and increased blood pressure.
·Protection from ulcers
Honey has been used as a treatment for stomach ulcers since medieval times, but only recently have researchers discovered the exact reasons behind its anti-ulcer properties. In animal studies, honey was shown to be more effective in preventing gastric lesions than chemical drugs with a similar composition. This is due to the fact that bacteria cannot survive in honey which makes it an ideal substance for treating infections caused by Helicobacter pylori – a bacterium known to cause peptic ulcers and gastritis. Another benefit of honey is its relatively low acidity compared to other sugary substances such as table sugar or corn syrup.
·Prevention of cancer
Honey has been used since ancient times in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Although more research is needed to conclusively prove its positive effects in this field, recent animal studies showed that natural honey reduced tumor growth and metastasis (spread) in breast cancer cells.
·Reduction of symptoms caused by allergies
Natural honey was reported to provide significant benefits in symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and itchy rashes after only a few days of regular consumption. Allergies can be caused by several factors including food sensitivities; for this reason, people who experience symptoms after eating even a small amount of certain foods should not eat honey (or at least seek medical advice before adding it to their diet).
Honey provides various benefits when used as a treatment for constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive disorders. Its use in the treatment of stomach ulcers is also related to its positive effects on digestion due to its acidity-lowering qualities.
· Improved memory
New research suggests that regular consumption of honey can improve cognitive function in 9-12-year-olds. This may be related to the fact that high blood sugar levels caused by sugary foods can decrease mental acuity – thus, consuming natural honey instead may help children stay focused during lessons and improve learning capabilities.