The Greeks really appreciated honey, because according to mythology, the gods owed him their immortality. We love the honey because of its good taste and because it works for colds. In recent years, scientists have studied the medicinal effectiveness of honey and came to amazing results: honey is particularly good at wound healing and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Is honey healthy?
According to a glance into Greek mythology, the gods owe their immortality to honey. The same applies to Allfather Odin, who is said to have obtained his wisdom and power from honey. Something is more concrete in Hippocrates: The doctor of antiquity knew of a fever-reducing effect of honey and used it even in open wounds.
Honey, if you look at it physically-chemically, is nothing more than a supersaturated sugar solution: about 80 percent sugar, including fruit and glucose, and about 20 percent water. So what are the healing substances?
Honey heals wounds
That's exactly what biochemist Peter Molan from Waikato University in New Zealand explored. Around 60 types of bacteria, including those as dangerous as Staphylococcus aureus, can be defeated with honey. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are killed by wound dressings made of honey - in many clinics, for example, patients who have been wounded are treated with honey bandages.
Scientists believe that the antimicrobial effect of honey is due to enzymes produced by the bees. However, honey only has this positive effect if it has not been heat treated. The high sugar content in honey causes the vital water to be removed from the bacteria.
An important ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, which treats microorganisms. Hydrogen peroxide is produced by an enzyme when honey is diluted and remains in high concentration for about 24 hours.
Honey for colds and gastrointestinal complaints
Milk with honey, better still tea with honey, is an old and proven home remedy for sore throat. The Bee nectar contains about 180 accompanying substances, according to the Central Marketing Society of German Agriculture (CMA). The most important ones include so-called inhibins, which are inhibitors such as flavonoids. The most important trace substances are the two flavonoids pinocembrin, a heat-stable antibiotic, and caffeic acid - it inhibits inflammation. This is why hot milk with honey usually works as a relief if the throat hurts.
Other flavonoids in honey help against viruses and are now being tested as a cancer remedy.
Acetylcholine, another important substance, is a nitrogen compound that has a beneficial effect on heart activity. It reduces the heart rate, expands constricted coronary arteries and therefore has a hypotensive and cardio-protective effect.
5 facts about honey - © Tourism Australia
What tastes good about honey, of course, is mainly due to its sugar content. But this sugar is valuable: above all, the high proportion of fructose (almost 40 percent) and glucose (over 30 percent) provide the body with energy and keep important body functions in motion. So they serve in conjunction with honey-own active ingredients condition and concentration.
Variety for every taste
The honey contains about 120 flavors and they give it its typical, depending on the plants, varying taste. For example:
- bright, sweet varieties such as rapeseed, clover honey or dandelion honey
- darker, more intense tasting varieties such as chestnut honey or fir honey
- aromatic varieties such as lavender, rosemary or thyme honey
Do not overheat honey
If a honey crystallizes in the glass at home, it can be heated in a water bath. He liquefies again. But you should not let him get too hot. Because when honey is heated above 40 degrees Celsius, almost all healing substances are lost.
The same applies to the consumption of honey in tea or milk, which must not be too hot. Therefore, you should let the milk or tea cool before adding the honey. You can also take the honey separately for milk or tea.
Real German honey
The Consumer Centers and Nutritional Institutions recommend not to buy cheap supermarket honey. Mostly behind it is cheap imported goods that were often heated to prevent crystallization of the sugar. In addition, they often contain too much water.
Honey directly from the beekeeper or from health food stores has a banderole with the DIB seal of the German Beekeeping Association, which ensures very strict controls. Only this honey may call itself genuine German honey.