Apiculture or the practice of beekeeping to produce honey, dates back to at least 700 B.C. Throughout history, honey has been an important food. God used honey to motivate the Israelite people when He told them to, "Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey." (Exodus 33:3) For centuries, honey was considered sacred due to its wonderfully sweet properties as well as its rarity. It was used in religious ceremonies and to embalm the deceased. Raw honey has been used as medicine since ancient times. Raw honey contains small amounts of the same resins found in propolis as well as bee pollen. It was used by runners in the Olympic Games in ancient Greece as an energy source. The health benefits of honey depend on the quality of a specific honey. When raw honey is overly processed and heated, the health benefits are largely eliminated.HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY
Easily digested: Because sugar molecules in honey can convert into other sugars (e.g. fructose to glucose), honey is easily digested by the most sensitive stomachs, despite its high acid content. It helps kidneys and intestines to function better.
A quick energy source: When accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in seven minutes. Its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar. Honey is a natural composition of sugars like glucose and fructose. According to recent research, this unique mixture of sugars is the most effective means to remove fatigue and increase athletic performance.
Supports blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis.
Prevention of cardiovascular disease: Honey's effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory and radical eradicator, makes it a natural tool in cardiovascular disease prevention. But according to a 2008 article from Scientific World Journal, honey can also be used to reduce cholesterol in overweight patients with increased risk. The study administered 70-grams of honey a day to patients over a duration of 30-days. Findings showed that natural honey not only reduced overall cholesterol, but also lowered e c-reactive proteins produced by the liver. E c-reactive proteins have been linked to several heart conditions.
Cancer prevention: Research continues on the benefits of honey in the fight against cancer. However, preliminary results indicate that the sticky stuff may be an important weapon. Honey naturally contains the same compounds used in expensive, artificially produced drugs for cancer treatment. As noted in the book, Honey Revolution, by Dr. Ron Fessenden, honey contains floral-flavonoids, which have caught the attention of the pharmaceutical industry. These compounds have been effective in removing free radicals and increasing the body's immune defenses.
Treatment for certain Eye conditions: Once again, the prospect of using honey to treat ocular problems seems a little far fetched and messy. However, the sticky substance proves a very common treatment worldwide for conditions-such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, corneal injuries, chemical, and thermal burns. A study published in the Kathmandu University Medical Journal, entitled 'Honey-A Remedy Rediscovered and its Therapeutic Utility,' measured the effects of a topical honey ointment given to 102-patients with non-responsive eye disorders. The result was improvements in 85-percent of patients and no disease progression in the remaining 15-percent.
Anti-fungal: The prevalence and frequency of Candida infections worldwide is growing, with infections proving to have a high resistance to conventional drugs. Honey may be the answer. A 2006 article published in Medical Mycology noted that honey has significant anti-fungal properties against a variety of Candida species. It may be a sticky solution to your problem, but honey is effective in treating dandruff, athlete's' foot, and dermatitis. The only side effect to using honey as a topical application-you may have to purchase new socks or a new hat.
Insulin production in diabetics: There is no substitute for monitoring blood sugar levels and insulin injections for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, honey has shown to have value. It can be useful as a cane sugar replacement in coffee, tea and other applications where sweetness is desired. In 2004, the Journal of Medical Foods published an article that linked honey to decreased blood glucose levels, improve lipid profiles, and stimulated insulin secretion. Honey has also been associated with a lower glycemic index than sucrose or glucose in normal diabetes.
Anti-inflammatory: Beyond traditional medicine, the Russians and the Germans used honey extensively during WWI to treat ulcers, boils, and other inflammatory conditions. Its use for treating ulceration's following carcinoma surgeries is also well documented. In a Nepal Journal of Neuroscience article published in 2006, doctors treated patients suffering from multiple sclerosis somewhat effectively with honey. Unlike other anti-inflammatory medicines, such as corticosteroids, honey doesn't have the dangerous side effects.
Anti-microbial: Honey has been long used to treat cuts and burns in traditional medicine. A lack of the scientific method at that time meant that honey's usefulness was recognized through trial and error. The longevity of its use and the variety of cultures contained within honey should be some indication of its potency. According to a study entitled, 'Honey: A Reservoir for Microorganisms and an Inhibitory Agent for Microbes', published by African Health Science and the National Institutes of Health, honey has properties that inhibit around 60-species of bacteria. Honey has been proved effective against Staph and MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureu) infections.
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