“Your lips are as honey, bride, honey-milk under the tongue, smell of dresses – bloom of Lebanon” (Song of Songs)
Honey – a magical gift of nature, created by plants and bees. This is a unique product, containing more than a hundred useful substances, such as vitamins and minerals, organic acids and various trace elements, as well as biologically active compounds, which are components of a complex mechanisms of physiological and therapeutic effects of honey on the body.
Before you learn about the features of honey in Israel, let us look at the history. Let us recall the story of the Torah how Moses, after the Israelis approached to the south border of Canaan, sent scouts and said to them, “Look at the ground, what is it …”
After forty-day trip scouts returned and reported that Canaan is indeed the land flowing with milk and honey. Ancient Egyptians considered honey as the best medical drug, it is mentioned about 500 times in 900 recipes of ancient Egyptian medicine. In Egypt, honey was obtained from wild bees, as the Egyptians did not practice beekeeping and agriculture. Pythagoras and his followers (6th century BC) eat only vegetarian food and honey. Pythagoras himself, who lived to a very old age (80 years!) believed that this is the result of constant use of honey. The most famous physician of antiquity, Hippocrates (5-4 cc BC) lived 100 years. In his practice he widely and successfully used honey for the treatment of many diseases. Legend says that swarm of bees that produced the honey of special quality, healthful for nursing mothers settled at the grave of Hippocrates. This caused a mass pilgrimage of nursing mothers to the tomb of the great physician. Aristotle (5-4 century BC) wrote that: “Honey has special properties to improve the health and prolong life “, and that honey is a protection against all diseases. Great Arab physician and philosopher Avicenna (10 – 11 cc BC), a dedicated follower of the teachings of Aristotle, as and the great Greek, recommended to use honey every day for maintaining energy and health. He prescribed honey for the treatment of internal and external diseases. Avicenna medicinal recipes, having many tips for using honey, have been a major source for the study of medicine in European universities until the 17th century.
The main component of honey is not sugar, but rather its variety: glucose, fructose, maltose, levulose and sucrose. They are very easily absorbed by the human body because the bees add enzymes (protein catalysts, directing and regulating metabolism in living organisms) as well as because of pollen ability to adapt to the human body. Unlike refined sugar, honey stored in the body as a carbohydrate, and is consumed by the body, if necessary, as a fuel. The composition of honey consists of glucose (sweet monosaccharide) and fructose (monosaccharide unsweetened), and their percentage combination determines the degree of sweetness of honey (more or less sweet). Honey contains 80% carbohydrates, 20% liquid natural acids, vitamins, minerals, and vitamins and minerals of the plant from which bees collected nectar. Honey does not cause addiction and has excellent nutritional properties. One teaspoon of honey contains 60 calories and 25% sweeter than sugar. In combination with other nutrient qualities the honey is the perfect food for the cells, tissues and organs of our body. In the 1980’s it was discovered more than 180 nutrients in honey. Honey cells have special therapeutic properties. Honeycomb built by bees from wax is a part of the bee house and contains many useful substances, such as:
• Propolis or bee glue. It Greek word consists of two words: “pro” – in front, and the “polis” – city. It is a material that bees use to defend the entrance to bee city from intruders. Bees collect it from different plants, especially buds that produce resinous and sticky substances. In the beehive propolis has a yellow or reddish-brown color and resembles resin. Propolis is used as an active immunomodulator, increasing the immune system and the activity of antibiotics;
• pollen, which has 50 biologically active substances that can positively impact on the human body, and the 240 substances required
for normal biochemical processes in body and to ensure its life;
• Royal Jelly – Pasty creamy-white substance with pungent odor and bitter taste produced by glands of worker bees as food for developing of queen larvae. It contains hormones that have a positive impact on development of queen ovaries. Presence of a substance, killing microorganisms, proven by many studies. Royal jelly promotes wound healing after surgery, improves coordination and reduces the cholesterol and fats content. In addition, numerous studies in Japan have shown that almost the only way to save the nation from the effects of nuclear explosions is the use of bee products, and above all, royal jelly. In order to get the maximum benefit from this bouquet of bee products, you need to chew honeycomb for 10-15 minutes (do not swallow the remaining wax). It should also be noted that chewing of honeycomb increases immunity to colds and useful for children. However, remember that only natural bee honey of high grades as citrus, eucalyptus, grassy and floral has these qualities. In Israel, there are many households that are engaged beekeeping, among others should be noted kibbutz “Yad Mordechai”, which produces honey from 1936, “Dvorat A-Tavor” and many others. The color and smell of honey, which is collected in Israel, depends on the plant species, from which the bees collected nectar.
Different varieties of honey are produced by fencing of locations of flowering plants and the installation of hives there to ensure that the bees collect nectar only from these plants. In Israel, the popular honeys are: natural eucalyptus honey, honey from flowers of oregano, flowers of avocado, citrus, plum, wild flowers and honey with additives of lemon and fruit.
Beekeepers believe that the light varieties of honey (citrus, in particular) are the best varieties, although the literature tells that dark honey contains more mineral salts, mainly iron, copper, manganese, and therefore more valuable to the body than light. “A good
honey “tickles the throat” and stops the breath”- beekeepers say. In Israel shops you can find different varieties of honey from kibbutz “Yad Mordechai”, such as:
• natural honey (dvash tagor), collected from the flowers of different plants, as reported on the label: floral (perhey bar), citrus (adarim), eucalyptus (ekaliptus), plum (shizaf), avocado and flowers of oregano or savory (zaatar);
• royal jelly (mason malkot) of light concentration – 3% of royal jelly (brikuz adin), especially concentrated – 5.8% of royal jelly (merukaz bmeyuhad) and royal jelly in natural honey with propolis (Mason malkot bdvash tagor muashar bpropolis);
• natural honey tastes different, as reported by label, such as honey with lemon (dvash im limon).
This product consists of 99% of honey and 1% of Fruit concentrate;
• dietary honey (dvash light) with reduced caloriс content (one-third less than usual).
100 g of honey contain 0,3-3,3% protein, 77.2% carbohydrates and give the body 335 calories of energy.
This honey is produced in soft plastic bottles with a special cap, from which honey is squeezed. This cup provides a convenient use, with such a stopper you can not get dirty, and with its help you can easily dispense required amount of honey.
Evergreen Eucalyptus – is a wonderful honey plant. Israel has more than 120 species of eucalyptus trees imported from different countries and climates, making them to bloom at different times of the year. Eucalyptus honey is almost always dark in color and sometimes has slightly tart taste, has pronounced anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and has been used successfully in the treatment of bronchial-pulmonary diseases, inflammation of the skin and mouth. It is recommended for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, as a mild vasodilator. For maximum anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect the honey should be taken in small amounts (by teaspoon), holding it in your mouth as long as possible. For example, for the treatment of diseases of the upper respiratory tract it is recommended to keep the honey in the mouth, at least 4 times a day. With such a way antibacterial agents are
absorbed by the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat, resulting in significantly reducing of pathogenic flora in the mouth, throat, nose, while quickly swallowed honey – it’s just a very useful food.
Grassy flower honey
This variety of honey is the leader among all other varieties by the content of vitamins and minerals, as it contains nectar from different types of herbs and flowers growing on alpine meadows (not to be confused with flower honey from fields and gardens, which is usually devoid of healing properties because of chemicals that are sprayed on orchards and field). Grassy flower honey may have different colors from golden yellow to dark brown. Dark-colored honey contains more minerals, such as iron, copper and manganese. Stored honey thickens, becomes cloudy and crystallized, but does not lose its medicinal properties. We know cases, when honey was stored decades and even centuries, remaining suitable for human consumption. When you store the honey, you should remember about a high hygroscopicity of honey, ie ability to absorb moisture. Therefore it is not recommended to store honey in the refrigerator, especially in an open container. This significantly accelerates the process of crystallization. In addition, honey easily takes odors. Usually honey is kept in a glass container with a well fitting lid at the room temperature. Crystallization of honey depends on the flowers, from which its nectar was collected. For example, honey, collected from the flowers of clover crystallized already in the comb, and the crystallization of honey, collected from some of the other colors, such as acacia, begins in a few years. Rapid crystallization of honey shows high content of glucose. Fructose is not crystallized, and significant content of it in some varieties – honey does not thicken. From ancient times to the present day people widely use honey as a food, and in health care for treatment of liver, kidney, stomach, intestine, cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as in the manufacture of various cosmetics.
Rose honey is made from a mixture of honey and chopped fresh or dried rose petals. Petals increase healing properties of honey. Rose honey is good not only for internal use, it is applied with bandages for wounds and burns for speedy healing.
How to buy honey?
First, make sure that you see 100% honey jar, sometimes in stores you can find imitations of honey. Next, check, from which plants bees collected nectar. In conversation with a beekeeper you can learn that they can not say what plants were visited. So sometimes they write on labels more common name of field flowers (prahey bar). Honey processing after collection might affect his quality. On some apiaries honeycomb is heated to make honey liquid. But depending on the temperature and duration of warm honey quality can deteriorate, vitamins and minerals are destroyed, taste and aromatic properties are spoiled. In the hive honey is at a temperature of 35 degrees C (95 F). With natural processes without heating, it crystallizes. This process can occur with honey in a period from one month to one year.
Suppliers know that consumers prefer liquid honey, even shops return thickened honey, because it was not bought. So they warm honey to achieve its dilution. The conclusion is, if you see on the counter thickened honey, it does not mean that it is of poor quality
or fake. On the contrary, only the liquid honey should call your concerns about the quality, look at the date, which can be seen on the label (if it was collected more than a month ago – it is a good one). Month age honey and year age honey are equivalent in quality, only if they were not warmed. It is not recommended to heat it above 48°C (118 F), because thus there is a breakdown of enzymes and honey loses many valuable qualities.
Tips for using honey in medicine
For the treatment of nervous disorders and insomnia.
About half an hour before bedtime you drink a solution of honey: a glass of water or chamomile tea and 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey.
For the treatment of gastritis and gastric ulcer
Patients with low acidity should take honey, dissolved in cold water for a few minutes before meals, and high acidity – for 1.5 – 2 hours
before meals, pre-dissolving it in warm water.
For the treatment of periodontitis
Lubricate gum with eucalyptus honey for 5-7 minutes several times daily
Honey and apple cider vinegar is an excellent body cleanser. In the morning on an empty stomach you drink 0.5 cups or a glass of water, in which is diluted 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
Walnuts and honey are perfect tonic means.
Mix equal proportions of honey and crushed walnut kernels and eat 1-2 teaspoons a day.
Rub the raw egg yolk with one tablespoon of honey and apply on the face and neck for 12-15 minutes, rinse it with water of room temperature. Mask softens dry skin and prevents the appearance of wrinkles.
With the benefit of the organism honey can be consumed as a food or dietetic substance 100-150 g a day in divided doses. To absorb honey better, you must eat it 1.5-2 hours before or 3 hours after a meal. Use honey with warm boiled water, tea or milk, although a small number (2-3 teaspoons) can be taken along with carbohydrate food. It is better to give honey to children along with other food, such as cereal, fruit or tea. So honey is better absorbed. Do not give children too much honey, otherwise child can then have an aversion to it. It is enough to give 1-2 teaspoons of honey a day.
Contraindications to the use
Some people can not eat honey because of the special high sensitivity to it (idiosyncratic). They have hives, itching, runny nose, headache, gastro-intestinal disorders.
Very carefully and after talking to your doctor, you can use honey for the treatment of diabetes.
You should consult with your doctor and before you can give honey to children suffering from scrofula and exudative diathesis.
In general there is no direct contraindications to the use of honey.