Honey Remedies by coltonvelencia


									                                                                                          July Nos. 1&2 2006

          oney, a natural syrup      oligosaccharides, medium-sized       made from honey) which were
          produced by bees is        carbohydrates with three simple      thought to be aphrodisiacs.
          similar to invert sugar,   sugar sub-units, often made of            Honey appears in so many
with a small but variable excess     mono-      and    disaccharides.     traditional remedies, that there
of levulose (fructose). The          Examples of oligosaccharides         may well be an element of truth
composition and flavour of           found in honey include eriose,       in the claims for its health
honey varies with the plant          theanderose and panose. These        benefits, despite the lack of
source of the nectar, processing     sugars are formed when nectar        documentation       in    medical
and storage but a typical            and honeydew are converted to        journals. Honey is a mild
composition is 41 per cent           honey. Oligosaccharides are          antiseptic, used for over 80 years
fructose, 34 per cent glucose, 18    sometimes referred to as “higher     to treat minor burns and
per cent water, and 2 per cent       sugars.”                             wounds; a cup of hot water with
sucrose with a pH of 3.8 to 4.2.                                          lemon and honey is a traditional
Honey has been described as               Honey and Health                remedy for sore throats. The
man's oldest sweetener. Chemi-                                            honey soothes and may act as a
cally, its composition is the same        Since ancient times, honey      mild disinfectant. While some
as sucrose, that is glucose and      has been regarded as a food that     people may take hot milk and
fructose. The primary difference     promotes good health. It has         honey before bed to help them
is that in sucrose, the two          long been referred to as the
monosaccharides are bonded           “nectar of the gods. Athenaeus,
together to form the disac-          a Greek writer and philosopher,
charide, but in honey some of        claimed that those who ate
them are free. Whether the           honey every day would be free
monosaccharides are consumed         from disease for the rest of their
individually as in honey or          lives. The word “honeymoon”
linked together as in sucrose, the   comes from an old Northern
end result is the same in the        European custom for newly-
body,       that is glucose and      weds encouraging them to eat
fructose. Honey also contains        honey and drink mead (wine
                   nyam news                        2        July Nos. 1&2, 2006

sleep, others have sometimes         eat the honey in almost any           duced to the honey by the bee
used honey for its mild laxative     form, but it could not be baked       slowly releases the antiseptic
effect, which may be due to its      or dissolved in tea. Many chose       hydrogen peroxide at a sufficient
high fructose content, a sugar       to eat straight from the spoon.       level to be effective against
often in-completely absorbed in      Two types of honey containing         bacteria but not damage tissue.
the bowel. Conversely, honey         different amounts of polyphenols      Not only is honey anti-bacterial,
has   been     used    to   treat    were tested. Polyphenols are          it also draws body fluids and
diarrhoea. Honey promotes the        powerful antioxidants that are        nutrients to the area and so
rehydration of the body and          thought to reduce the risk of         assists cell growth and prevents
more quickly clears up the           heart disease and cancer. Blood       a scar forming by drying out of
diarrhoea and any vomiting and       samples taken at the beginning        the wound. The osmotic action of
stomach upsets. The anti-            and end of the study showed a         the honey draws out and
bacterial properties of honey,       direct link between honey             provides a film of liquid between
both the peroxide and non-           consumption and levels of             the tissues and the dressing,
                                     disease-fighting polyphenols.         allowing the dressing to be
peroxide, are effective in the
                                     The more polyphenol-containing        removed painlessly, without
laboratory against methicillin-
                                     honey they ate, the higher the        tearing of the re-growing cells.
resistant Staphyloccous aureus
                                     levels of antioxidants were in
(MRSA) strains of bacteria which                                           There are reports in medical
                                     their blood. The darker shades of
are notoriously resistant to                                               journals of large bed sores,
                                     honey are believed to have more
antibiotics and are sometimes                                              otherwise needing skin grafts
                                     antioxidants. Polyphenols are also
responsible for the closing of                                             that have healed without
                                     found in fruits, vegetables, tea,
hospital wards.                                                            scarring after honey treatment.
                                     and olive oil. No weight gain
                                     was found among the partici-
Honey and Antioxidants                                                     Germ-Fighting Properties
                                     pants for the month they
                                     consumed honey, and some                   Honey is a natural anti-
                                     claimed that eating honey for         septic. By applying honey to
                                     breakfast actually made them          wounds it helps to prevent
                                     feel full and satisfied.              infection.    Honey      contains
                                                                           antimicrobial agents, which may
                                     Honey and Wound Healing               prevent infection by killing the
                                          During the early part of the     bacteria in and around the
                                     20th century, researchers began       wound. When using honey it
     Reaching for a spoonful of      to document the wound healing         may help to heat it up before
honey rather than sugar to           properties of honey. The intro-       putting it on your wound
sweeten your favorite food and       duction of antibiotics in the         (caution test the heat before you
drinks may help boost your           1940's temporarily suppressed         place it on the wound). Many
body's natural defenses, disease-    honey's      use.   Nonetheless,      types of bacteria can't survive in
fighting antioxidants in the         concerns regarding antibiotic         honey, so wounds heal, swelling
blood. This conclusion was           resistance and renewed interest       eases, and tissue can grow back.
reached arising from reports of a    in “natural” remedies has                  Honey may also be effective
study conducted by Gross et al of    promoted a resurgence of              in the treatment of ulcers. In
the University of California-        interest in the antimicrobial and     Europe, honey has been used
Davis. Twenty-five participants      wound healing properties of           internally to help cure ulcers,
were asked to use about 4-10                                               particularly stomach ulcers.
tablespoons of buckwheat honey                                                  Burns, too, heal better with
                                          When honey comes into
per day depending on their                                                 honey. The advantage of honey
                                     contact with body moisture, the
weight, for 29 days in addition to                                         is that it not only prevents
                                     glucose oxidase enzyme intro-
their regular diets. They could
                  nyam news                          3        July Nos. 1&2, 2006

infections from occurring, it         convert into other sugars (e.g.        sulphur, iron and phosphate. It
actually accelerates skin healing.    fructose to glucose), honey is         also contains vitamins B1
Since the sugar in honey absorbs      easily digested by the most            (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), C
water, it helps to trap some of the   sensitive stomachs, despite its        (ascorbic acid), B6, (pyridoxine), B5
moisture so that bacteria and         high acid content. It helps kidneys    (pantothenic acid) and B3
other microbes do not grow as         and intestines to function better.     (nicotinic acid). However the
easily as in other food.                   Rapidly diffuses through the      contribution differs according to
                                      blood: When accompanied by             the qualities of the nectar and
Honey and Allergies                   water, honey diffuses into the         pollen. Additionally, honey
      The use of honey in treatment   bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free     contains small quantities of
of seasonal allergies may be          sugar molecules make the brain         copper, iodine, and zinc.           It
beneficial provided that the honey    function better since the brain is     should be noted that honey is
is local to the area. Bees use the    the largest consumer of sugar and      denser than sugar thus providing
pollen from local plants and          may reduce fatigue.                    more kilocalories per spoon. The
eventually it ends up in the               Supports blood formation:         sugars in honey are the same as
honey. The effect has something       Honey provides an important            those found in fruits which have
to do with the pollen and other       part of the energy needed by the       greater nutritional value.         In
substances in the raw honey           body for blood formation. In           fruits, the sugars are diluted in
helping the patient to build up       addition, it helps in cleansing the    water, packaged in fibre and
some immunity to whatever the         blood. It has some positive effects    mixed with valuable minerals and
individual is allergic to. However,   in regulating and facilitating         vitamins.
other reports indicate the            blood circulation. It also functions        In most honeys, fructose
contrary. In a comparison where       as a protection against capillary      predominates and tends to make
participants ate either local non-    problems and arteriosclerosis.         honey taste slightly sweeter than
filtered honey, pasteurized honey          Does not accommodate              sugar but there are a few types of
and used corn syrup with honey        bacteria:      The       bactericide   honeys which contain more glucose
flavor as the control group. Ten      (bacteria-killing) property of         than fructose. Some honeys are
different allergy symptoms were       honey is named "the inhibition         very rich in fructose and thus tend
measured and they found no            effect". Experiments conducted on      to taste very sweet. Generally, the
differences between the two           honey show that its bactericide        sweetness of honey is 1 to 1.5 times
groups that ate the honey and the     properties increase twofold when       sweeter (on a dry weight basis) than
group eating the placebo honey.       diluted with water. It is very         sugar. Liquid honey is about as
                                      interesting to note that newly         sweet as sugar but it contains only
Other Reported Benefits of            born bees in the colony are            82.4 g carbohydrate per 100 grams
Honey                                 nourished with diluted honey by        versus 100 g carbohydrate for the
                                      the bees responsible for their         same amount of sucrose and
                                      supervision, as if they know this
                                                                             provides 304 kcal/100 g versus 400
                                      feature of the honey.
                                                                             kcal for sucrose. One tablespoon of
                                                                             honey weighs 21 grams, of which
                                            Nutritive Value                  approximately 17 grams are
                                                                             carbohydrates. The sugar content is
                                           Honey is considered by some
                                                                             the sum of all the mono, di- and
                                      to be more than a sweetener and a
                                                                             oligo-saccharides. This 40% lower
                                      “healthier” alternative for sugar
                                                                             caloric value and sweetness level of
                                      because it contributes some
                                                                             honey makes it a choice for some
    Easily digested: Because          minerals like magnesium, potas-
                                                                             persons who are complying with a
sugar molecules in honey can          sium, calcium, sodium chlorine,
                                                                             calorie-controlled diet.
                    nyam news                           4         July Nos. 1&2, 2006

                                         a risk of botulism from eating honey    pasteurized, although often at
         Dietary Uses
                                         and products made with honey.           farmer's markets you can find raw
      The main uses of honey are in      These should be avoided. The            honey. Raw honey that has not been
cooking, baking, spreading on bread      spores of the Clostridium botulinum     pasteurized, clarified, or filtered,
or toast, and as an addition to          bacteria can be found in honey, and     provided it is of the highest organic
various beverages such as tea. It can    when ingested by an infant, get into    quality, is your best choice. Look for
also be used as a sweetener for fruits   the intestinal tract, grow, reproduce   honey that states "100% pure."
as well. It also can be used in any      and release a toxin that causes         While regular honey is translucent,
food that is sweetened, including        infantile botulism.                     creamy honey is usually opaque and
frozen desserts, baked products,               Although many parents know        is made by adding finely crystal-
meat glazes, custards, frostings, pie    not to give their infants under         lized honey back into liquid honey.
fillings, cobblers, puddings, candied    twelve months of age plain honey,       Specialty honeys, made from the
vegetables and salad dressings.          they often over-look other foods        nectar of different flowers, such as
Because honey is hygroscopic             that contain honey in them, such as     thyme and lavender, are also
(drawing moisture from the air), a       Honey Graham Crackers, Honey            available. Remember that the darker
small quantity of honey added to a       Nut Cheerios, Honey Wheat Bread,        the colour, the deeper the flavour.
pastry recipe will retard the staling    etc. Although the honey in these             It is important to keep honey
process. Raw honey also contains         foods may be processed, it may not      stored in an airtight container so
enzymes that help in its digestion,      be pasteurized, and so may still        that it doesn't absorb moisture from
several vitamins and antioxidants.       contain botulism spores and should      the air. Honey stored this way in a
Most vegans consider honey to be         be avoided. Spores of the bacteria      cool dry place will keep almost
an animal product and avoid using        that cause botulism are, present in     indefinitely. One reason for this is
it, instead choosing sweetening          honey and can cause serious illness     that its high sugar content and
alternatives such as golden syrup.       and death. These spores in the          acidic pH help to inhibit micro-
Some recipes use honey as the main       honey are not destroyed by regular      organism growth. Honey that is
sweetener; others use sugar. Honey       cooking or baking methods.              kept at colder temperatures tends
can be used to replace some of the                                               to thicken, while honey that is
                                         How to Select and Store                 kept at higher temperatures has a
sugar called for in many recipes,
drinks and food but for a child               Honey is sold in individual        tendency to darken and have an
under twelve months of age, there is     containers or in bulk. It is usually    altered flavour.

                                             For further information contact:
         Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute                   Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute
         UWI Campus, P.O. Box 140, Kingston 7                     UWI Campus, St. Augustine
         Jamaica, W.I.                                            Trinidad, W.I.

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