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Uses of Honey

Updated on October 4, 2010

History of honey

Honey has always had a strong culinary and symbolic place in the history of mankind. In ancient Rome, the father of the groom made a daily gift of a pot of honey to his son during the first thirty days after the wedding ceremony. Galen (129-199 AD) recommended a paste made of honey and the ground bodies of dead bees as a cure for baldness. Indeed, almost everything connected with bees has a useful function.

How honey is made

The making of honey begins with the worker bees who take the nectar from flowers. On their return flight to the hive the bees secrete gastric juices and enzymes which start the process of converting the sugars in the nectar to honey. In the hive, the water contained in the nectar-mixture is partially evaporated by air currents produced by the beating of the bees' wings. The final product is honey, which is composed of approximately 17 per cent water, 76 per cent sugar and seven percent of minerals such as iron, sodium, sulfur, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, copper, as well as trace elements of nitrogen, proteins, acids and amino acids.

Because the sugars are predigested, honey does not appear in the urine of diabetics. For this reason it is a good substitute for sugar in their diets. Honey could also be used in several ways in cases of ill-health. A gargle of water, honey and alum quickly soothes a sore throat. Honey mixed with lime juice is a useful remedy against coughs.


Health Benefits

Honeycomb, when chewed, gives relief to sufferers of respiratory and nasal problems as well as those afflicted by hay fever. Bee pollen, which is a mixture of pollen taken from flowers, honey and preservatives secreted by the bees themselves, is useful as a source of energy. It is also used in cases of anemia, weight-loss, colitis, lack of appetite, depression, and constipation.

Royal jelly, a whitish paste that contains mineral salts, proteins,  free amino-acids, fats, sugars and other compounds, is a food reserved for the queen bee. She has a life-span of between five and six years while the rest of the bees only live for a few weeks. For this reason it is used as an energizer and general tonic. Both pollen and royal jelly, because of their potency, should only be used following consultations with a physician.

Making a salad dressing with honey

In the kitchen, a quick French dressing could be made by mixing half a cup of olive oil, a quarter cup of vinegar, a teaspoonful of salt and a quarter cup of honey. A nutritious breakfast could be made by mixing a quarter cup of oats soaked overnight in water or milk, one grated apple or sliced banana, one spoonful of honey, one teaspoonful of lime juice, half a cup of yogurt (or milk when using dried oats) and a spoonful of crushed nuts.

Honey thus has always been a boon to humanity, from well-meaning fathers in Roman times to today's health-conscious housewife.

Other uses of honey

Sore throat - Just take a spoonful of honey and swallow, it will provide quick and temporary relief to a sore throat.

Wounds - Honey is a good antibacterial agent that will help prevent infection. You can apply just a little bit to small cuts to help prevent infection.

Sugar Substitute - You can substitute honey for sugar in a recipe by reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used, and lowering the oven temperature by 25 degrees to prevent overcooking.

What are your favorite uses for honey?

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    • wmseo profile image

      wmseo 6 years ago from Canada

      I love to have my cup of tea with a honey :):)

    • profile image

      emeka Nd 7 years ago

      Very helpful information. The possibility of Royal jell to be used for longetivity caught my interest. Also, finding pure honey in Nigeria may not be easy. The bee-keepers are few, and the augumented supply from overseas are costly.

    • roezer profile image

      roezer 8 years ago from Ireland

      I never used it in Dressing but I must Give it a try as I like to try new things. Good or should I say Sweet info