No matter who was it that stopped one day to look at a hive of bees and asked what's up inside, but this person is clearly paved the way for health, taste and delicious wonder for all of us.
Honey is an ancient superfood. Some historians have dated its existence as long back as 150 million years through the fossils discovered. Lore also has it that Egyptian dynasties were the frontrunners of honey in many ways and later on beehives thrived both in temples as well as royal palaces for supplying kings, queens and common people with ointments, concoctions and even beverages like mead perhaps. After all, there must be something inside honey that makes us believe in the Greek Queen bee Aphrodite and that made our forefathers worship bees with utmost passion.
Honey, today is worshiped with the same devotion by health and culinary enthusiasts.
Discovering forest honey
From the plain jar of honey that we were so far used to, It has also evolved into many avatars. Today, we can easily access even forest honey, which is a form of honey that instead of being made from blossom nectar of flowers is collected after plant sucking insects (like aphids) pour out what they collect in the wild. From flowers to trees that range from conifers to deciduous, to even thickets of grass and plants; This can be derived from a multitude of sources.
If you ask botany experts, they would not be much surprised at the power of honey since they know that resins like Propolis which bees collect from plants are responsible for honey's extra-ordinary antibiotic nature and the strong presence of proteins as pollens.
While flower-extract honey has been in prevalence for a long time, not many common folks know that forest honey is also a variety, albeit not as sweet as table honey and certainly quite stronger in flavor.
Count your blessings, honey.
Honey, in the common form too, has been used for both its anti-bacterial and hydrocopic emissions so far. Due to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), that is a potent antimicrobial and germ-killer, even cancer cells have been considered as a good battle-ground of honey. There is also the enzyme called glucose oxidase that activates the release of H2O2 when honey comes in contact with a wound or cut, and honey also absorbs water – so that's how it can treat lacerations with ease and speed by killing the bacteria that harm. It does so also by pulling water away from an infection while also putting lymph fluid to the wound for faster, more balanced recovery with effective tissue restoration.
Given its low level of pH between 3 and 4, the acidic character of honey also makes it an enemy of the wrong bacteria. Further, the presence of phytochemicals, carotenoids, phytosterols, phenolics, peptides, some plant chemicals, cytokines etc. empowers honey with health-enhancing, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its use in the treatment of arthritis, eye health, cough, cold, cancer and as an autoimmune protection is broadly noted. These days, it is also being applied as a prebiotic and as a calcium-absorption-inducer to a great degree.
What matters is how, how much and how well you use it. The more raw, the more unpasteurized and the more organic the honey is, the stronger are its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial powers.
Grocery stores that sell commercial honey may be the quick choices to make but if a provider can ensure that raw honey, that is extracted by spinning the honeycomb in a centrifuge, is extracted with minimal intervention and is warm and pure; Then you can be sure that it is indeed a health package. The more someone does something to honey, the more it dilutes its power. Fewer chemicals, less heating, less cooking, fewer machines – that's the right way for honey.
Go for certified organic raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized honey as much as possible. The test is that if the honey is raw, pure, organic, it will crystallize, turn opaque and harden in room temperature.
Try Forest or Herbal honey varieties if you can to combine the powers of two doctors in one bottle.
Nowadays, people are bottling honey after infusing it with many options of herbs. It can be Wild rose, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Elderflower, Lavender, Chamomile, Basil, Ginger, Sage, Star Anise, Rosemary- anything – and you have a new flavor and fragrance topping your and the bees' favorite food.
Just do not overdo it as honey can definitely not be used as an over-excited substitute for sugar. Pick something that is organic, locally-grown, use it in the right quantities and without boiling, store it away from sunlight – and you can be as happy and healthy as a busy bee.