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Importance of Honey


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This article is about importance and uses of honey. Honey has been used since prehistoric time. People were very much dependent upon honey as medicine and essential nutritive diet.



Honey is prepared by honeybees that belong to genus Apis. Four species of honeybees are reported, Apis dorsata, A. indica, A. florea and A. mellifera.
"The culture of honeybees for the production of honey and bee wax is known as apiculture."
Honey is plant product of high nutritive value. It contains about 80% sugar. It is not a direct plant product because the nectar, pollen grains and cane sugar is collected by the bees in their crops where it gets mixed with saliva, containing certain enzymes and undergoes chemical changes due to enzyme action. At this stage cane sugar (sucrose) is converted into dextrose and levulose and some ingredients of bees also added to the mixture to reduce the water content. The whole mixture is then collected in the honey sac (crop) until it reaches the hive. As the honeybee reaches the hive this compound is regurgitated in the hive cell and is known as honey.

Chemical Composition of honey
Honey is very sweet in taste. It is a sugar rich compound having following ingredients :
(1) Levulose - 38%
(2) Dextrose - 21%
(3) Maltose and other sugars - 9%
(4) Enzymes and pigments - 2.3%
(5) Ash - 10%
(6) Water - 17%

Economic Importance of Honey
Honey is used by human beings as food and medicine.
1. Food value : 100 gm of honey provides as much nourishment as 6 litres of milk or 800 gm cream or 170 gm meat. 2.1 gm of honey provides 67 Kcal of energy. Sugar, minerals, vitamins and other vital elements of honey are easily absorbed by systems. Honey can be taken by healthy as well as sick persons at any time in any season. It is used in the preparation of candies, cakes and bread.

2. Medicinal value : Honey is mild laxative, antiseptic and sedative. It is generally used in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicines. Honey is quiet helpful in building up of the haemoglobin of blood and also used as preventive against fever, cough and cold. It is also used to treat ulcers of tongue and alimentary canal. Germs of typhoid are killed by honey within 48 hours.
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