Honey is both food and medicine since the stone age. Let’s go through some ancient uses of honey.
Ancient Uses of Honey:
Honey has been in use across the world since ancient times. Many practitioners trust and use honey as a natural healing ingredient.
Here’s how honey has been used by our ancestors.
- In India and other Egyptian communities, raw honey was included in marriage vows. A husband has to promise the new wife using honey as it is believed to cast the evil spirits away.
- There was a civil service that has been exclusively dedicated to honey.
- The ancient Romans and Italians used honey as the main ingredient in most of their recipes.
- During the 1100s, the Europeans have estimated that an average person eats around 4.5 pounds of honey in a year.
- Many Monasteries used beeswax to illuminate the dark and large cathedrals during the Middle Ages in Europe. Apiculture, the word used for beekeeping dates back to 700 BC.
- The Ayurveda Experts used to prescribe Samskirtha Madhu (Purified Honey) which is made by authentic practices as listed in the Ayurvedic scriptures.
- There are around 8 different types of honey in the Ayurvedic scriptures – Makshika, Bhrama, Kshoudra, Pouttika, Chatra, Arghya, Auddalaka, and Dala. Each one of the 8 types of honey has different benefits and is produced by different bees through different collecting methods.
Historical Importance of Honey:
Honey is as aged as history. The earliest evidence of honey was found around 10,000 years ago.
Let’s have a look at how honey has been present in the history as the royal supplement.
- A cave painting of Valencia, dated around 8000 years back, has shown a honey seeker chasing a bee in a bee colony. Although the actual pieces of evidence of the honey cultivation colonies date back to 2400 BC.
- The Archaeologists in Egypt have found pots of honey in the tombs of the pharaohs along with their bodies. The honey that was preserved was fit to eat, even after years of being made. People used it to bath and to fix severe wounds.
- The Romans applied honey to heal their wounds after the battles. According to legends, Hannibal has given honey and vinegar to his army after they have crossed the Alps on the back of elephants.
- The Kings and Queens of England back in the 10th century had fermented honey wine as one of the pleasantry drinks.
- Over 4000 years, Honey was used to treat hormonal imbalances and indigestion in the human body. The Ancient Egyptians used to rub the honey on the skin for better skin health.
- When the Spanish conquerors invaded the American Colonies, they have found many domesticated bees in Central America.
- Drambuie, the Scottish liquor is made of various types of honey, most of them being raw honey.
Religious Importance of Honey:
Honey has been used in many historical and religious texts for thousands of years. It is also used as a food ingredient in many religious ceremonies while praying the gods.
- Early Hindus had considered Honey as the food that Gods would consume. Deccan Hindus have a habit of using curd and honey as a traditional food for the groom to eat before marriage. The Bengali brides would even anoint the body with honey.
- Both the Gods ‘Krishna’ and ‘Vishnu’ are referred to as ‘Madhava’, which translates to ‘The nectar born’. Vishnu is often associated with the picture of a blue bee sitting on the lotus flower. The reason why Krishna is to be ‘Kannayya’ is because of his dark blue complexion.
- The Kama, the God of Love is known to carry the bow with a string made of bee chain. In similar lines, Cupid of Roman mythology is known to dip his arrow in honey before hitting the lovers.
- According to Sataphata Brahmana, honey is can bring essence to life and consuming honey is same as reading Vedas.
- According to the Bible NIV version, honey has been mentioned about 60 times in it.
- In the old Bible testament, Israel is referred to as the ‘land of flowing honey and milk’. The testament says that God has nurtured Jacob with honey that emerges from rock.
- John, the Baptist eats all the locusts with wild honey.
- Honey is also mentioned in the scrolls of Koran, the Talmud, and the Orient.
- It is also found in various ancient writings of Babylonian and Sumerian cultures.
Scientific Evidence of Honey:
Modern science is on the quest of finding evidence about honey and its importance. There have been many cases where people reported the effective advantages of honey.
- A review by The Chochrane Library says that honey can heal the real burns. According to the author of this review, the topical honey is cheaper than the oral antibiotics and can heal the burns, faster and better.
- A recent study published in Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, European Journal; Manuka Honey can prevent Clostridium Difficle bacteria from expanding in the body while protecting the human from diarrhoea.
- In 2010, the Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam has reported that honey can kill the bacteria in Defensin-1 protein (Published in FASEB Journal).
- A research study of Pediatrics, compared both placebo and honey to conclude that honey can help children during cough better than placebo.
- WHO, the World Health Organization recommends pure honey as a natural cough remedy. How to test pure honey? Add one spoon of honey to water and see if it settles at the bottom. If it does, it stands out as pure honey.
- Research by Penn state College of Medicine, 2007 says that honey improves the quality of sleep in children who have a respiratory infection.
- Research in Lagos, Nigeria suggests that honey can block pathogens which cause diarrhoea in humans.
There are many evidences that honey is an important pantry supplement through centuries. It has many benefits which should not be neglected. Having a jar of honey at home can unknowingly improve your health. Now that you know the facts and evidence about the honey usage, it is time for you to buy honey and include it in your diet.
There are so many different brands of honey available in the market and only a few of them are raw and reliable. Bharat Honey is one of the raw and reliable local honeys which is available in different authentic floral varieties. It can be used as a healing ingredient in herbal and other medical treatments.