What is honey?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

Honey can be found in its standard amber state but may also be red, brown, and even nearly black. Made by bees in an elegantly natural process, honey is designed for bees' nourishment. Incredibly, each bee makes on average about only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime. Considering the tons of honey produced each year, that is a lot of bees at work! The honeybee (Latin name Apis) first travels several miles to collect into their mouths nectar from local flowers. Enzymes in the bee saliva then create a chemical reaction that turns this nectar into honey, which is deposited into the walls of the hive. Incredibly rapid movement of the bees' wings aerates the honey, which decreases its water content and makes it ready to eat. Textures and flavor are dependent on which flowers the honeybees choose. Typical choices include heather, alfalfa, clover, and acacia. Less common but well-known flowers that confer their own special taste characteristics on the honey include thyme and lavender.

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

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Encyclopedia of Healing Foods

From the bestselling authors of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, the most comprehensive and practical guide available to the nutritional benefits and medicinal properties of virtually everything...

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Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.