Honey is a product of a really natural procedure, which takes advantage of natural raw materials (such as nectar, pollen etc.) and attributes the final product through a laborious (complex) physicochemical procedure. The high nutritional value of honey has been known since ancient times as it has been referred to in many texts. About 180 elements of high biological value, indispensable to humans, have been detected in honey, whereas a teaspoon only contains 23 calories.
However, what is impressive isn’t as much the portional ingredients of honey as the co-existence of all the substances and the way in which they act in the human organism.
The Greek, especially the Cretan honey is considered of excellent quality because of the peculiarities of Greek nature and the great vegetable wealth.
Crete provides splendid environmental and climatological conditions for the development of numerous aromatic plants which create typical Greek qualities of honey, due to its vegetable origin, the idiosyncrasy of the soil as well as the special climatic conditions that are prevalent in Greece. Its prosperous flora and its soil diversity create an internationally unique ecosystem for the development of bee-keeping. The abundance of wild aromatic and self-sown plants in combination, result in the Greek honey standing out for its clarity, colour and rich savour. The eminent scent of Greek honey has scientifically been substantiated through analysis in a great number of samples. It is ideal for the contemporary human being’s nutrition of any age. Being bombarded by the so-called “plastic food”, honey continues to be one of the most natural and nutritious kinds of food.
Research has proved that honey can help in case of stomach disorder, in cases of people who suffer from stomach ulcer, even in constipation, owing to the great quantity of choline that it contains. It can also be of help to people who suffer from anaemia as it contains iron.
Recently, research has been taking place so as to be proved whether honey can act against cancer, because of the antioxidants and phlabonoiols that it contains.
Furthermore, it has already been proved that it can help the healing of burns and injuries after daily rubbing of it on them, if there is no contrary doctor’s suggestion. Honey acts as an antibacterial as it prevents the development of micro-organisms, because of its fairly low moisture. It has been observed that people who suffered from infections have had a speedy recovery. The antibacterial action (particularly of the Greek honey) comprised part of a research programme of the Ministry of Health, the results of which were announced within the scope of the 8th Pan-Hellenic Pharmaceutical Convention. According to the deputy Professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Dr. Joanna Chenou, unrefined honey was used on at least 17 hospital stalks of six different bacteria which were resistant to antibiotics. Its action appeared to be exceptionally remarkable and at present, its impact on fungus is being studied.
Moreover, according to a study that took place about the chemical ingredients of Greek thyme kinds of honey, Dr. Joanna Chenou reports: “All the samples of honey, as well as their secluded substances, were tested concerning their biological actions and presented medium to powerful antibacterial action with specified action against the bacteria of the mouth cavity”. Here it’s worth mentioning a publication of “Gazette apicole” of the year 1965, which was written by the internationally recognized doctor, philosopher and novelist Albert Schwaizer. Concerning the treatment of injuries by using honey at the Nikaton hospital (Meridional Africa) he reports: “The healing of injuries is mainly owed to the presence of antibiotic substances that exist in honey. Through the impact of honey, blood inflow and lymph is caused at the infected area. Lymph automatically wipes out the bacteria while the defence cells digest fast. The microscopic examination of a plaster on the basis of honey that is removed from an injury, reveals a great number of dead bacteria.” (Reference from Thanasis Bikos’s book, a bee-keeper)
Even the heart can be of benefit by the consumption of honey as it needs energy which it receives in the form of glucose because of its constant functioning. Glucose is contained in honey in a form that is easily and quickly digested by the human body. Therefore we could claim that honey composes a natural tonic for the human organism. The curative properties of honey with regard to common colds as well as sore-throat relief are widely known, always in combination with doctor’s instructions. It is widely used on a range of diseases of nervous nature, but also in cases of insomnia. A spoonful of honey dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water can be of help. Generally speaking, we could say that honey is good for everything and functions soothingly in the whole body, since of course there are no contrary medical directions.
Honey is highly useful food. It is a natural product of great biological value. It contains carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, enzymes, organic acids, minerals, trace elements and water, substances which are essential for the human body. It has lots of preventive and therapeutical properties against human diseases. It brings relief to internal disorders, stomach ulcer, some heart troubles, constipation and it generally contributes to the normal functioning of the organism. It increases muscular strength and stamina, it raises mental capacities, represses fatigue and exhaustion. It gives away good health and longevity.
It is particularly recommended to athletes and children over one year’s old, as well as to the elderly, always in conformity with your doctor’s agreeable opinion. People who have lived for many years seem to owe their long living but also the good quality of their life to the daily consumption of honey. The great mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras reports that he managed to reach old age, owing to honey.
NATURAL PROPERTIES OF HONEY
Honey crystallization: It is a natural phenomenon that appears in honey. This doesn’t mean that it is adulterated or spoilt, as it doesn’t mean that it is not adulterated. Crystallizing doesn’t cause any alteration on its nutritional value and the time when the phenomenon of crystallization may appear varies, depending on the type of honey. Thus, we have flower honey in which this phenomenon may appear faster, in contrast with honey dew excretions (forest honey) which may take even years to crystallize.However, in case this happens, we can bring it back to its initial state by slightly warming it up, using bain –marie, without causing alterations in its biological value. (We sink the honey jar in hot water until the honey is warm and stir it so it recurs).
WHY WE SHOULD PREFER HONEY TO SUGAR
In contrast with honey, sugar has almost recently been added to people’s nutrition. It is usually a chemical processed, industrialized product, which, apart from calories, few other elements does it offer the human organism. This is sugar’s greatest difference from honey, which is a natural biological product and isn’t susceptible of any process. Approximately 180 elements of high biological value, essential to people, have been detected in honey. Among them, minerals, trace elements and vitamins in small quantities exist, which elevate its excellent nourishing value. It greatly consists of sugars (mainly glucose and fructose) which are very quickly absorbed by the body so it can consequently be considered a tonic and a source of energy for man.Many dietitians recommend the reduction of effacement of sugar from our diet and its replacement with honey, for better nutrition and weight loss.