Honey is a sweet liquid made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Honey can be of different colours – almost transparent, light or dark yellow as well as brown. The taste of honey depends on what plant nectar it was made from.
• Real honey must be unprocessed and unpasteurised. Raw honey is taken directly from the hive and bottled. Therefore, it may contain traces of yeast, wax and pollen.
• Meanwhile, pasteurized honey is heated and processed to remove trace impurities. Honey is rich in monosaccharides, fructose and glucose. About 70 to 80 percent of honey is sugar.
• Honey has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Modern medical science has been able to apply honey to treat chronic wounds and to fight infections.
• Honey has healing properties and has an antibacterial effect. Honey has been used for treatment for more than 5 thousand years. Honey as a healthier alternative can replace sugar.
Honey is a mixture of glucose and fructose, which our body absorbs very quickly. It is one of those rare products that needs almost no processing. It is quickly absorbed and quickly restores human strength. The chemical composition and biological properties of different types of honey are different. It depends on the plants from which the nectar is collected and on the season of a year. Honey contains about 300 different substances: about 19 percent of water, a lot of carbohydrates, most of which are fructose and glucose (33 and 40 percent each). Honey also contains 1.5-5%. sucrose, 5-10% maltose, other sugars, minerals (iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium) vitamins (B1, B2, B3, PP, niacin, pantothenic acid), small amounts of enzymes, phytoncides, hormones, essential oils and substances containing aromatic, antioxidant and bactericidal properties.
According to beekeepers, honey in Lithuania is mixed, bees are not particular – they collect both nectar and honeydew from various plants. Such honey is aromatic, delicious, and its biological effects are very diverse, because honey contains a lot of and a variety of valuable substances. Dark honey is more nutritious, richer in minerals, while light honey has a more pleasant taste. Dark honey, unlike light honey, contains four times more iron, two times more copper and fourteen times more manganese. The most common types of honey: linden honey – light yellow, with a pleasant smell of linden blossoms; raspberry honey – light in colour, pleasant, but has a strong odour; dandelion honey – golden in colour, bitter taste, very fragrant; rapeseed honey – white or light yellow, with a faint pleasant smell, slightly bitter; heather honey – dark yellow with a brownish tinge, strong, similar to the smell of heather flowers, bitter taste; buckwheat honey – dark, pink or almost brown, pungent taste and smell. It contains more iron and proteins. Meadow honey is polyfloral, which means that it is collected from the flowers of many varieties of plants, it is pleasant-tasting, yellow or yellowish-brown. It contains a lot of aromatic substances, a lot of B vitamins, as well as vitamin C. It is very important to buy and use natural, non-falsified honey. The honey just taken from the hive is liquid, but it crystallizes later, which is a sign of good quality. Upon crystallization, the honey brightens and a white glucose crust forms on the surface of the thickened honey, which is considered extremely valuable. Such honey can be bought without questioning its quality. In winter, do not buy liquid honey – it is either overheated and has lost its active ingredients, or imported from abroad, affected by ultrasound. Properly prepared and well-preserved natural Lithuanian honey is the most valuable from the point of view of health. Honey taken too early from the hive tends to sour. Sour honey is easy to recognize by its unpleasant, sour smell. In addition, it is divided into layers in the jar: thick honey settles at the bottom and liquid honey remains at the top. The amount of water in such honey exceeds the norm. It is possible to check whether the honey is ripe in a folk way: fresh, not yet thickened honey, taken and poured from a spoon, flows in a continuous stream. The quality of honey is indicated by its aroma and taste, physical and chemical characteristics. The amount of water in honey determines its maturity and retention properties, and naturalness – the number of diastases. The number of diastasis indicates enzymatic activity. The number of diastases in natural bee honey is 10, and in artificial honey it is zero or even less. The honey must be free from signs of fermentation and adulteration.
Souring is indicated by foams, gas bubbles, specific odour and foam appearing on the surface of the honey or throughout its volume. Honey defect – too much moisture. It shows that the honey is not yet ripe. The use of honey as an effective remedy is based on many beneficial properties: it inhibits inflammation, allergies, has an antibacterial effect. Bee honey (due to its healing properties) has long been used by many nations. There are a number of recipes in ancient manuscripts that mention honey. Nowadays, the healing properties of honey have been studied much more closely and the obtained results allow to classify honey as one of the most active medicines provided by nature. Glucose improves heart function, stimulates metabolic processes and helps neutralize toxic substances. Honey contains vitamins and organic acids. The latter works well on the human nerves. Honey is recommended for use in nervous, hard-working, poorly sleeping people with gastric acidity, for strengthening the immune system, prevention of anaemia and treatment of upper respiratory diseases (pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, tracheitis, acute bronchitis). Honey is a great cough suppressant. Beekeepers say that the best honey is the one that is kept in honeycombs – it retains all its healing properties. In addition, wax contains even more vitamin A (carotene) than carrots. When chewing honey honeycomb, the vitamin is absorbed through the oral mucosa. A swallowed piece of wax inhibits harmful substances in the gastrointestinal tract. Our ancestors ate honey with honeycombs and bee bread. Saliva dissolves the active wax substances that have a beneficial effect on teeth. Most importantly, chewing wax with honey has a prophylactic effect on the respiratory tract. When consuming honey, it is usually advisable to dilute it, as this makes it easier for its ingredients to enter the body’s tissue cells. However, honey, like any medicine or food, should not be overused – it is recommended to eat about one tablespoon of this natural product per day: it can be added to salads, porridge, cottage cheese, milk or warm tea. Honey should be stored at a maximum temperature of + 10 °C and should not be heated, as it loses many valuable properties at + 37 °C. It is advisable to store honey in the refrigerator, protected from light. Remember: not everyone can consume honey – inhalations of honey can be harmful during asthma attacks, this product should be avoided by people with pulmonary emphysema and diabetes and all those to whom honey causes allergies.
Pollen is a very valuable, biologically active bee product. They contain folic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, almost all vitamins, proteins, composed of the most important amino acids. They contain 7 times more amino acids than eggs or beef. Pollen contains as much as 20 times more vitamin A than carrots. They contain almost all the nutrients the body needs. Therefore, pollen is used as an additive in the diet to add biologically active substances. Pollen promotes the body’s regenerative processes. Pollen is suitable for the prevention of nervous depression, prostate diseases, it improves vision, nourishes the skin from the inside, regulates digestion. Honey is a sweet liquid made by bees from the nectar of flowers. Honey can be of different colours – almost transparent, light or dark yellow as well as brown. The taste of honey depends on what plant nectar it was made from.