The fact that honey was already known as a foodstuff in the Stone Age is conveyed by 9000-year-old cave paintings depicting "honey hunters".
The assumption is that the honey was taken from wild bee colonies to be used as bait in bear hunting. Many petroglyphs in Australia show that Aborigines have been collecting bush honey since prehistoric times. Around 3,000 B.C. in ancient Egypt, honey was considered the "food of the gods" and the source of immortality: a pot of honey was weighed with the value of 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 drawn his wisdom and strength from honey.
Hippocrates, probably the most famous physician of antiquity, knew two of the most important properties: excellent for wound healing and effective in inflammations as well as for fever reduction. Honey water was also used as "doping": This potion improved the performance of athletes in the ancient Olympic Games !
Once again, a quick reminder: drinks containing honey must not be hot, as honey loses its healing properties at 40 degrees. Consumer protection organizations and beekeepers expressly recommend not to buy cheap supermarket honey, because behind it, unfortunately, mostly imported goods are hidden, which were strongly heated to prevent the crystallization of the sugar.
The biochemist Prof. Dr. Peter Molan from the Honey Research Unit of the University of Waikato in New Zealand, founded in 1995, researched the healing substances. His research results were extremely astonishing:
About 60 species 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 of honey; as a result, today, in numerous clinics around the world, patients who have developed sores are treated with honey dressings. Scientists believe that the antimicrobial effect of honey is due to certain enzymes.
It is also due to the high sugar content in honey, which deprives the bacteria of vital water. Another ingredient that gets to grips with the unwanted microorganisms is hydrogen peroxide, which is also produced by an enzyme. The more than 60 papers published in scientific journals by Prof. Dr. Peter Molan have now been compiled in a review paper.
For example, methicillin-resistant staphylococci, which represent an immense problem in many hospitals, are already killed at a concentration of only 1% - 4% honey! Even vancomycin-resistant enterococci (spherical bacteria, known as killer bacteria) and the dreaded multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa have a bad 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 disinfecting 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. When 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 excessive scarring occurred less frequently.
Antibacterial effect of natural honey is threefold:
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 been scientifically proven today. Applied directly to the wound and covered with a gauze, honey is now used even in hospitals as a wound healing agent.
Of course, the plants visited by the industrious bees also play a major 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, seems to be a particularly potent bacteria killer.
This fact has been recognized by the Australian company Medihoney, which has recently started producing a honey based on Leptospermum plants, which releases constant concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and always contains the same amount of the antimicrobial plant substances.
PS: Do not forget that honey, however, has these beneficial properties only if it has not been heat treated !!!!
Bee nectar contains about 180 accompanying substances !
The most important are listed as 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 cardiac activity by reducing the heart rate, dilating constricted coronary arteries, and having a blood pressure lowering and heart protecting effect.
Did you know that bees travel a distance equivalent to several times the circumference of the earth for 1000 grams of honey?
But even after "delivery" to the hive, the collected nectar is still far from being honey. Until the liquid gold is ready for use, it still passes through many bees' stomachs. The collecting bee sucks up the nectar from the flowers and uses its own enzymes to split it into fructose and glucose in its honey stomach. 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 to it, and choke it out again until the immature honey thickens.
Finally, in the honeycomb, it is further thickened by special dehumidification and aeration techniques until it has the right maturity with a water content of about 20%.
To produce forest and fir honey, the bees "milk" aphids. These feed on the sap of the trees and excrete a sugary liquid: Honeydew. The bees absorb this and then process it into fir honey. To be honest: I would never have thought of this idea ;-))
Furthermore, honey contains various acids, acetylcholine for the conduction of stimuli 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 aging and is also considered a "nerve balm". The antioxidants of this wonderful bee product can reduce the risk of disease.
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