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Honey

Honey is a warm colored sweet liquid made by honeybees. It is a natural sugar that is sweeter that cane and other sugars. In its raw unprocessed state it is a potent natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral substance with many other health benefits.

Honey
The thermal nature is neutral.
The flavour is .
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What it is

Honey is the sweet syrupy liquid made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. It has been used since ancient times as a food and a medicine. Honey is made by bees to feed their young and the colony in the winter months. 

The flower nectar is collected in the mouths of the bees, ingested in their “honey stomach” and mixed with special enzymes. The bees ingest and regurgitate the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. At the end of this process the bees work together and store the liquid in the cells of the honeycomb. At this stage the nectar still has a high water content and natural yeasts which could cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment.  The bees fan the hive with their wings, which evaporates much of the water and raises the sugar concentration, preventing fermentation and completing the honey making process. The bees then seal the cells of the honeycomb until the honey is needed to feed the colony. 

The density of honey is about 1.36 Kilograms per liter, which makes it about 36% denser that water.

The flavor and color of the honey does not come from the bee, depending totally on the type of flower the bee gathered the nectar from. The darker honeys tend to be more strongly flavored that pale colored honey. Generally, the flower from where the nectar was collected classifies the honey type. Most commercial honey is heat treated and blended with no sign of its origin. Polyfloral or wild honey is a mix and Monofloral honey is mostly made from the nectar of just one type of flower. As bees can stray there will normally be some nectar from other flowers in the mix.

By constructing artificial hives humans have been able to semi-domesticate the honeybee, and harvest the excess honey. The overproduction of honey in the hive is encouraged by beekeepers so that the excess honey can be taken without endangering the colony.


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What is in it

As the honeybees fly from flower to flower, they also collect pollen on their legs. To close off the hive and protect it from harmful bacteria, bees make propolis, a mixture of phytonutrient rich plant resins and other substances. To repair any cracks that form in the hive, bees use this propolis with its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. Both bee pollen and propolis have powerful health benefits for humans. Raw honey contains traces of pollen and propolis. Raw Honey also contains other phytonutrients with anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. When honey is process and heated, many of the health benefits of these phytonutrients are taken away.

Honey is a mixture of sugars, and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Honey also contains tiny amounts of several compounds including some thought to function as antioxidants, like chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin.

Although the exact proportions can vary depending of the source of the honey, a typical breakdown of its contents is
• Fructose 38.5%
• Glucose 31%
• Sucrose 1%
• Water17%
• Other sugars (maltose, melezitose) 9%
• Ash 0.17%
• Others 3.38%

Honey contains antioxidants and flavonoids with their anti-bacterial action.


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What it is good for

Raw honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal substance. 
The quality of the honey determines the strength of its health benefits. When raw honey is heated and processed most of the phytonutrients are removed. For this reason always use raw honey. Honey is relatively acidic which prevents the growth of many bacteria.

• Harmonize the liver
• Neutralize toxins
• Relieve pain
• Moistens dryness
• Treats dry and horse throat
• Treats dry cough and sore throat
• Treats stomach ulcers
• Reduces high blood pressure
• Treats constipation
• Aids healing of burns
• Aids the healing of wounds
• Reduces craving for alcohol
• Calms 

Wound healing properties of raw honey – For many years honey has been used to treat injuries and wounds to the skin. It has many healing properties. Reduces infection and protects against infection. Raw honey dries out which inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. Also when an enzyme called glucose oxidase mixes with the water in the wound it forms hydrogen peroxide with antiseptic qualities. 


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When you get it

Honey can be found all year around. Although in the summer and fall (autumn) it is at its freshest and best, direct from the hive.


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Which to select

Choose only raw honey that has not been heated or filtered. The health qualities of raw honey is determined in part by the flower it comes from, it is important to only use organic honey from organically grown flowers and plants. Look for 100% pure raw organic honey


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Where to store

Always store honey in an airtight container, free from moisture. Kept in a dark cool place, honey will keep for a long time, for many years.


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How to use

Honey should be in its liquid state, if it has crystallized, place the jar in warm water for 20 minutes to return it to a liquid state.

• Eat honey as a spread on toast and an English muffin
• Put a spoonful on you breakfast cereal 
• Mix a spoonful into natural yogurt
• Use it in recipes in place of sugar    
o Use less honey than you would sugar, about 2/3 cup honey for each cup of water. Also reduce other liquid, a quarter cup less liquid for each cup of honey.


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How much you need

Like all sugars, honey should be eaten in moderation as excess sugar of any type upsets the protein-carbohydrate balance, depletes minerals and weakens the kidney-adrenal function.


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Things to watch out for

Raw honey is not recommended for infants, under 12 months old as honey frequently contains dormant endospores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which can be dangerous to infants as the endospores can transform into toxin-producing bacteria in the infant's immature intestinal tract, leading to illness and even death. The more developed digestive systems of older children and adults generally destroy the spores.


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References

The Journal of Nutrition – The American Society for Nutrition, http://jn.nutrition.org, retrieved 05/2009.

Health Benefits of Honey, http://www.honey-health.com/, retrieved 05/2009.

Wikipedia, Honey, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey,  retrieved 05/2009

Goldman L, Ausiello D. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders, 2004.

Norton Greenberger M.D. and Roanne Weisman, 4 Weeks to Healthy Digestion, Harvard School of Public Health. (2008)

Bratman, Steven, and David Kroll. Natural Health Bible. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1999.

Paul Pitchford. Healing with whole food, North Atlantic Books, 2002.


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