The fact that honey was already known as a foodstuff in the Stone Age is shown by 9,000-year-old cave paintings depicting "honey hunters".
It is assumed that the honey was taken from wild bee colonies to be used as bait when hunting bears. Many petroglyphs in Australia show that the Aborigines have been collecting bush honey since prehistoric times. Around 3,000 BC, honey was considered the "food of the gods" and a source of immortality in Ancient Egypt: a pot of honey was worth a donkey. The ancient Greeks already appreciated honey because, according to mythology, the gods owed their immortality to it. The same applies to the All-Father Odin, who is said to have derived his wisdom and strength from honey.
Hippocrates, probably the most famous physician of antiquity, was aware of two of its most important properties: excellent for healing wounds and effective in treating inflammation and reducing fever. Honey water was also used as a "doping" agent: This potion improved the performance of athletes at the ancient Olympic Games!
A quick reminder: drinks containing honey must not be hot, as honey loses its healing properties at temperatures of 40 degrees and above. Consumer protection organizations and beekeepers expressly recommend that you do not buy cheap supermarket honey, as unfortunately this is usually imported honey that has been heated to a high temperature to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
Biochemist Prof. Dr. Peter Molan from the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, founded in 1995, researched the healing substances. His research results were extremely astonishing:
some 60 types of bacteria, including such dangerous ones as Staphylococcus aureus, can be defeated with honey!
Furthermore, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics can be killed by wound dressings made from honey; as a result, patients with wounds are now treated with honey dressings in numerous clinics around the world. Scientists believe that the antimicrobial effect of honey is due to certain enzymes.
This is also due to the high sugar content in honey, which removes vital water from the bacteria. Another ingredient that combats unwanted microorganisms is hydrogen peroxide, which is also produced by an enzyme. Prof. Dr. Peter Molan has now compiled over 60 publications in specialist journals in a review.
For example, methicillin-resistant staphylococci, which are a huge problem in many hospitals, are killed at a concentration of just 1% - 4% honey! Even vancomycin-resistant enterococci (spherical bacteria, known as killer bacteria) and the dreaded multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa have a poor chance with honey.
Chronically infected skin wounds are often free of pathogens again after just a few days of consistent honey treatment. However, honey not only has a disinfectant effect, but also promotes the breakdown of the dead tissue often present in a wound, which in turn inhibits wound healing.
Finally, honey also promotes the growth of fibroblasts, the cells that give the tissue a firm structure. If fibroblasts are activated, the wound closes not only from the edge, but also from the depth. This effect is particularly important in the case of extensive burns. Here, honey even beats a standard medical procedure: Compared to burns dressed with silver sulfodiazine-impregnated gauze, those with honey healed faster and there was less excessive scarring.
Natural honey has a threefold antibacterial effect:
1) it deprives pathogens of the water that is vital for them
2) with its low pH value, it prevents the multiplication of bacteria
3) its so-called inhibins have an additional germ-inhibiting effect
These antibiotic properties have now been scientifically proven. Spread directly on the wound and covered with gauze, honey is now even used in hospitals as a wound-healing agent.
Of course, the plants visited by the busy bees also play a significant role in making honey a potent wound-healing agent. Honey that comes from flowers of the Leptospermum plant family found in Australia and New Zealand, such as the tea tree, appears to be a particularly potent bacteria killer.
The Australian company Medihoney has recognized this fact and has recently started producing a honey based on Leptospermum plants, which releases constant concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and always contains the same amount of antimicrobial plant substances.
PS: Don't forget that honey only has these positive properties if it has not been heat-treated !!!
Bee nectar contains approx. 180 accompanying substances!
The most important of these are the so-called inhibins and inhibitors such as the flavonoid pinocembrin, a heat-stable antibiotic that inhibits inflammation. Other flavonoids are also being tested as anti-cancer agents.
Another important ingredient is acetylcholine (nitrogen compound), which has a very positive effect on heart activity by reducing the heart rate, widening constricted coronary arteries and having a blood pressure-lowering and heart-protective effect.
Did you know that bees travel a distance equivalent to several times the circumference of the earth to produce 1000 grams of honey?
But even after "delivery" to the beehive, the collected nectar is far from being honey. It still has to pass through many bee stomachs before the liquid gold is ready for use. The forager bee sucks up the nectar from the flowers and breaks it down into fructose and glucose in its honey stomach using its own enzymes. Once in the hive, it regurgitates the nectar and passes it on to other bees. Other workers suck the sweet juice into the honey stomach several times, add some saliva and regurgitate it until the unripe honey becomes thicker.
In the honeycomb, it is then thickened further using special dehumidification and aeration techniques until it reaches the right degree of maturity with a water content of around 20%.
To produce forest and fir honey, the bees "milk" aphids. These feed on the sap of the trees and excrete a sugary liquid in the process: Honeydew. The bees absorb this and then process it into fir honey. To be honest: I would never have come up with this idea ;-))
Honey also contains various acids, acetylcholine for stimulus conduction in the nervous system, enzymes, proteins, free amino acids, organic acids, over 300 aromatic substances, colorants, minerals and vitamins.
Honey has an antioxidant effect that counteracts ageing and is also known as a "nerve balm". The antioxidants in this wonderful bee product can reduce the risk of disease.
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