Published On: Sat, Apr 6th, 2013

Honey : Medicinal Uses, Health Benefits and Synonyms

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Honey

Honey (Photo credit: quisnovus)

Biological Source of Honey:

Honey is a sugar secretion deposited in the honey comb by the bees Apis mellifera, Apis dorsata belonging to the family Apidae of the order Hymenoptera.

Honey is also called as madhu, honey purified and mel. Honey is produced in India, , , and .

Preparation of Honey:

Honey bees (worker bees) suck the nectar of the flowers through its hollow tube of its mouth (proboscis) and deposits the nectar in the honey sac which is located in the abdomen. Nectar is a watery solution containing sucrose and water. The saliva of the bees contains the enzyme ‘invertase’ and converts the nectar into invert sugar. Some of the invert sugar is utilised by the bees and the remaining sugar is stored in the honey comb.

English: Apis mellifera - queen and worker bees

English: Apis mellifera – queen and worker bees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Honey comb is smoked to remove the bees and the honey is obtained by applying pressure to the honey comb or it is allowed to drain naturally. Honey is heated and impurities which are floating are removed and it is made free from substances. Honey is extracted from the comb by centrifugating the comb. Honey is pale yellow to yellowish brown in colour with sweet and faintly acidic taste.

Chemical constituents of Honey:

The chemicals which are present in the honey are sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose. The other constituents are maltose, gum, traces of succinic acid, acetic acid, dextrin, formic acid, colouring matters, traces of vitamins and enzymes like invertase, diastase and inulase. Honey also contains proteins and pollen grains from various flowers. As the constituents of honey are saturated sugars it stars crystallising on long standing. Honey containing crystallised dextrose is called as ‘Granulated Honey’. Artificial invert sugar is the adulterant of honey.

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of honey:

  • Demulcent
  • Sweetening agent
  • Good nutrient to infants and patients
  • Antiseptic
  • It can be applied to wounds and burns
  • Ingredient of cough mixture. cough drops.
  • Vehicle for Ayurvedic formulations
  • Used in the preparation of creams and lotions
  • Used in soft drinks and candies

Synonyms of Honey in various languages

  • Bengali – Madh
  • Gujrati – Madh
  • Hindi – Madhu
  • Kannada – Jenu Tuppa
  • Malayalam – Ten
  • Marathi – Madh
  • Sanskrit – Madhu
  • Tamil – Ten
  • Telugu – Tene
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