By: Vivian bint Joan Taylor
More than 1,400 years ago Allah and His messenger sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), told us that honey can heal a variety of medicinal problems.
Allah says in the Quran, "And the lord inspired the bee, saying: Take your habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they erect. Then, eat of all fruits and follow the ways of your Lord made easy (for you)'. There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men. Verily in this is indeed a sign for people who think." [Qur'an 16:68-69]
The Prophet, sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), has also told us of the healing found within honey for a variety of medical problems, including stomach ailments. One hadeeth, reported by Bukhari, states that a man came to the Prophet , sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), because his brother had a stomach disorder. The Prophet said "Let him drink honey." The man returned a second time and again the Prophet , sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), responded again, "Let him drink honey." The man returned again, and said "I have done that." The Prophet then responded, "Allah has said the truth, but your brother's stomach has told a lie. Let him drink honey." He drank it and was cured.
Tirmithi, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi also reported that the Prophet, sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), said, "Make use of the two remedies: honey and the Quran."
Modern medicine is only just learning of this fact. Traditional uses of honey have included honey mixed with lemon for sore throats. Honey coats the throat and reduces throat irritation. Research has already shown that honey blocks the growth of oral bacteria. Honey has also been used for stomach pains and problems. Modern research shows that honey is effective when used in the treatment of gastric or peptic stomach ulcers. Research has also revealed that honey is effective in the treatment of various wounds and infections because of its antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal) properties.
Researchers are not absolutely sure why honey heals but they are learning new things about honey everyday. We do know that honey contains a variety of sugars and minerals. Honey is also considered an antioxidant. This means it allows the blood to circulate better and provide more oxygen to areas of the body such as the brain. Honey can also be used externally to promote healing when applied to wounds, even postoperative wounds. Honey has also been effective in its use to treat burns. It has even been shown to be low in calories and useful as a sweetener for diabetics, people with heart disease or those overweight.
Although there is healing in honey for a variety of medical disorders, certain precautions should be taken. Children under the age of one year never be given honey due to the possibility of infant botulism. This type of food poisoning can be deadly, however, it only seems to affect infants under one year of age. Also, if you have any known allergies to specific plants, then you should make sure the honey you are using is not made from that plant. People with allergies to bee stings should be careful when using other bee-related products such as propolis or royal jelly. If these precautions are followed, then honey may provide healing for you.
As Muslims, we must acknowledge and accept that Allah and His Prophet, sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), know better and have revealed the truth. We should, therefore, study the research that is available, not to confirm or deny the truth that has been revealed by Allah and his Prophet, sallallahu aleyhe wa sallam (peace be upon him), but to learn of new ways we can use honey.
Do you know how important a food source the honey is, which Allah offers man by means of a tiny insect?
Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate.
It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the above, copper, iodine and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in it.
As Allah says in the Qur'an, honey is a "healing for men". This was confirmed by scientists who assembled during the World Apiculture Conference held from 20-26 September 1993 in China. During the conference, treatments with honey derivatives were discussed. American scientists in particular said that honey, royal jelly, pollen and propolis (bee resin) cure many diseases. A Romanian doctor stated that he tried honey on cataract patients, and 2002 out of his 2094 patients recovered completely. Polish doctors also informed the conference that bee resin helps to cure many diseases such as haemorrhoids, skin problems, gynaecological diseases and many other disorders.
Nowadays, apiculture and bee products have opened a new branch for research in countries advanced in science. Other benefits of honey are described below:
Warning for Parents:
DO NOT feed honey to infants under one year of age.
Do not add honey to your baby's food, water or formula, dip your baby's pacifier in honey, or give your baby honey as medicine.
Honey may contain bacterial spores that can cause infant botulism - a rare but serious disease that affects the nervous system of young babies (under one year of age). Botulism spores are common and may be found in dust, soil and uncooked foods. Adults and children over one year of age are routinely exposed to, but not normally affected by, botulism spores.
The following are symptoms of infant botulism. Call your doctor immediately if your baby:
- is too weak to suck or cry as usual
- does not want to feed or cannot swallow
- has weak arms, legs or neck
- suffers from constipation for more than three days
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 the kidneys and intestines to function better.
Has a low calorie level
Another quality of honey is that, when it is compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the body. Although it gives great energy to the body, it does not add weight.
Rapidly diffuses through the blood
When accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar.
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.
Does not accommodate Bacteria
This bactericide (bacteria-killing) property of honey is named "the inhibition effect". Experiments conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase twofold when diluted in water. It is very interesting to note that newly born bees in the colony are nourished with diluted honey by the bees responsible for their supervision - as if they know this feature of the honey.
Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker bees inside the beehive. Inside this nutritious substance are sugar, proteins, fats and many vitamins. It is used in problems caused by tissue deficiency or body frailty. It is obvious that honey, which is produced in much higher amounts than the requirements of the bees, is made for the benefit of man. And it is also obvious that bees cannot perform such an unbelievable task "on their own."
The Delicious Forms of Honey
Most of us know honey as a sweet, golden liquid. But, in fact, honey can be found in a variety of forms.
Free of visible crystals, liquid honey is extracted from the honey comb by centrifugal force, gravity or straining. Because liquid honey mixes easily into a variety of foods, it's especially convenient for cooking and baking. Most of the honey produced in the United States is sold in the liquid form.
Whipped (or Cremed) Honey
While all honey will crystallize in time, whipped honey (also known as cremed honey or sugared honey) is brought to market in a crystallized state. The crystallization is controlled so that, at room temperature, the honey can be spread like butter. In many countries around the world, whipped honey is preferred to the liquid form.
Comb honey is honey that comes as it was produced--in the honey bees' wax comb. The comb, as well as the honey, is edible!
Cut comb honey is honey that has been packaged with chunks of the honey comb.
HONEYS MORE THAN SUGAR-SWEET
Honey, natures original sweetener, is being rediscovered as a natural source of energy that also offers a unique combination of nutritional benefits. Sugars are the fundamental unit of energy for our bodies. All carbohydrates, whether simple sugars or complex carbohydrates, must be broken down to glucose, or blood sugar, before our bodies can use them as energy. The sugars in honey are primarily glucose and fructose and although the body absorbs them in different manners, both provide the body with quick energy. Recent studies suggest that this unique mixture of sugars which occurs naturally in honey, works best in preventing fatigue and enhancing athletic performance.
In addition to being a concentrated energy source, honey contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids. In a recent review of related literature, Dr. Susan Percival of the University of Floridas Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition found honey contains vitamins, such as vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Essential minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc are also found in honey. "In addition, several different amino acids, the building blocks of protein, have been identified in honey." says Dr. Percival. "Honey also contains several compounds that function as antioxidants, one of which is unique to honey called pinocembrin." Although these substances appear in trace amounts and vary depending on the honeys floral source, they contribute to your overall nutrition intake.
For a quick source of energy and to reap the benefits of honeys healthful properties, make honey part of your daily diet along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Use honey to sweeten your oatmeal or drizzle it over a grapefruit half. Add honey and fresh fruit to low-fat yogurt for an energy-sustaining snack or stir a spoonful of honey into a glass of water before your daily workout.
Fruit Smoothie (Makes 4 servings)
1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced or 2 cups frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
1 cup 1% milk
1 cup (8 ounces) plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice (5-6 cubes)
In a blender or food processor container, combine all ingredients; process until smooth. Serve immediately. For variety, use 2 cups any fresh or frozen fruit or combination of fruits such as sliced strawberries and bananas or sliced peaches and whole raspberries.
Nutrients Per Serving: (1/4 of recipe): calories 220; total fat 2 g; total carbohydrate 48 g; cholesterol 6 mg; sodium 78 mg; dietary fiber 1 g; protein 6 g; calories from fat 7%.
REMEDIES & THERAPIES
- Honey in water is a quick energy drink for overworked people and athletes. It helps regain lost energy almost instantly.
- Honey and lemon juice mixed in equal quantities and mixed together by gentle heating is excellent for a sore throat .
- A jug of honey held under the nose of an asthma patient, so that he inhales the air which is in contact with the honey has been shown to ease the asthma patients breathing.
The effect only lasts an hour but the relief is instantaneous. - the best honey for asthmatic cures is one that is harvested by bees on hill slopes where there are plenty of conifers.
- One tablespoon of honey with lemon juice taken regularly in the morning before breakfast helps to keep the complexion clear and helps in reducing weight.
- One of the most ancient antiseptics used by man was honey- excellent on cuts and wounds.
- Immediate application of honey on burns prevents the formation of blisters. It also subdues the burning sensation and prevents septic conditions.
- Beeswax mixed with a little buttermilk should be heated till the wax melts. Add this to hot water to help ease constipation.
- Half a teaspoon each of ginger, lemon juice and honey provides relief from nausea & dizziness.
- One part beeswax to 4 parts honey has been used for the treatment of ulcers.
- Soak 10 almonds in water overnight, remove the skin in the morning and take them with two tablespoons of honey- this is supposed to stimulate the brain cells.
- Honey is good in cases of malnutrition and is prescribed for general physical repair- honey kills bacteria and strengthens the immune system.
- Honey occupies an honored place in many religions and cultures. Hindus use honey extensively in religious ceremonies. The Qur'an has a special chapter on honey and its uses. Honey was also used as a preservative. In eastern countries, this same property was used in the process of embalming. This practice continues today in Burma.
- The cosmetic industry uses honey as a skin moisturizer, as a softener and as a restorer of the skins own moisturising factors. It is also used in creams, soaps and shampoos and lipsticks.
The Holy QURAN in Sura an-Nahl verses: 68-69 says:
"And your Lord revealed to the bee saying; Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build; Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colors, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect."
Apply freely over burns. It cools, removes pain and aids fast healing without scarring. Apart from being a salve and antibiotic, bacteria cannot live in honey.
A teaspoon of honey before bed aids water retention and calms fears in children.
A dessert spoon of honey in a mug of hot milk aids sleep and works wonders!
Honey is a mild sedative with minerals, vitamins, amino acids etc. Replace all white sugar with honey. White sugar is highly stimulating with no food qualities!
Place a dessert spoon of honey in a basin of hot water and inhale fumes after covering your head with a towel over the basin. Very effective.
Wounds or Grazes
Cover wound with honey and a bandage. Excellent healer.
Dissolve a desert spoon of honey in warm water or quarter honey balance of water in a jug and keep in the fridge. Honey is primarily fructose and glucose and so it is quickly absorbed by the digestive system. (Honey is a unique natural stabilizer- ancient Greek athletes took honey for stamina before competing and as a reviver after competition.)
Facial Deep Cleanser
Mix honey with oatmeal approx. 50/50 till thick and apply as a face-pack. Leave on for half an hour then wash off. Great as a deep cleanser for acne etc.
Mix honey with apple cider vinegar approx. 50/50 and dilute to taste with water. This aids digestion. (Also reputed to be wonderful for the joints.)
Mix honey with equal quantity of Olive Oil and cover head with a warm towel for half an hour then shampoo off. Feeds hair and scalp. Hair will never look or feel better!
Let a teaspoon of honey melt in the back of the mouth and trickle down the throat. Eases inflamed raw tissues.
Honey in water is a stabilizer - calms highs and raises lows. Use approx. 25 percent honey to water.
Honey is the best blood en-richer by raising corpuscle content. The darker the honey the more minerals it contains.
Cakes with honey replacing sugar stay fresher longer due to natural antibiotics. Reduce liquids by approx. one-fifth to allow for moisture in honey.
These people are well advised to replace white sugar (sucrose) with honey, natural fructose and glucose.
Chewing the tops of comb honey stimulates the immune system due to minute amounts of pollen. During the season chew for 20 minutes a teaspoon of bee capping (tops) five to six times per day. Highly effective and useful for asthma sufferers as well.
Four teaspoons of honey to a baby's bottle of water is an excellent pacifier and multivitamin additive. If baby's motions are too liquid then reduce by half a teaspoon; if too solid increase by half a teaspoon.
Honey rubbed on a baby's gums is a mild sedative and anaesthetic.
English research has shown that a teaspoon of honey per day aids calcium utilization and prevents osteoporosis. Essential from age 50 onwards.
One common fact worldwide is that the most long-lived people are regular users of honey. An interesting fact yet to be explained is that beekeepers suffer less from cancer and arthritis than any other occupational group worldwide.
Use a dessertspoon of honey dissolved in half a glass of warm water. Sip at start of attack. If necessary repeat in 20 minutes. Always effective (so tip goes) as migraine is stress related.
Conjunctivitis (pus in the eye)
Honey dissolved in equal quantity of warm water. Apply, when cooled, as lotion or eye bath. Cough mixture 6 oz. liquid honey 2 oz. glycerin Juice of 2 lemons Mix well. Bottle and cork firmly. Use as required.
6 ozs liquid honey
2 ozs glycerine
Juice of 2 lemons
Mix well. Bottle and cork firmly. Use as required
Keep honey in first aid cupboard for emergency use, and another in the kitchen cupboard.
Interested in more information about the health benefits of honey?
Click here (~ 263KB).
Download the PDF "Story of Honey" from hive to table.
Those interested in a more scientific explanation can refer to Kaye M. Russell's 1983 MSc thesis, Waikato University, "Antibiotic qualities of NZ honeys" - a NZ explanation of knowledge long-buried and available through the public library on request.