Ayurveda recommends honey for cough, cold, asthma, obesity and to boost immunity. It is also used in beauty therapies for acne, pimple, wrinkles and pigments.
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The FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission defines honey as ‘the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from secretions coming from living organisms feeding on plants, that bees gather, transform and combine with specific ingredients, store and leave to ripen in the combs of the hive.’
Honey in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda honey is called as “Madhu”. Its qualities are explained as follows.
“It has sweetness (madhura rasa) with added astringent as end taste (Kashaya anu rasa). It is heavy (guru guna), dry (ruksha) and cold (sheeta). Its effect on doshas is as follows It aggravates vata dosha, scrapes kapha and normalizes pitta dosha and balances rakta dhatu (blood). It promotes healing process.”
The contents of Honey
Sugars like fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, lactose and other disaccharides and trisaccharides, Proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids,, Volatile aromatic substances.Ashes and water etc.
Various ingredients of honey have helped it to become not only a sweet liquid but also a natural product with high nutritional and medicinal value.
The medicinal quality, taste, texture, color, aroma of honey differs according to the geographical area and the species of plants from which it has been collected.
Types of Honey According to Ayurveda:
Eight types of honey are described in ayurveda depending on the type of bee which collects it. They are
- Pouttika ,
- Bhramara .
- Makshika ,
- Chatra ,
- Arghya ,
- Oudalaka ,
- Dala .
This honey is collected by very large bees from the nectar of poisonous flowers. It increases vata, causes gout and burning sensation in chest.It is also sedative and reduces body fat or helps in obesity.
This honey is collected by large bees and Sticky in nature.
(Honey collected by medium sized honey bees ) light and cold in nature. Dissolves Kapha.
(Honey collected by small honey bees) very light and dry natured. Useful in Vata Kapha diseases and kapha diseases. Recommend for regular use and also for medicinal purpose.
Heavy and cold in nature useful in gout, Leucoderma (Shwitra),
Good for eyes but causes arthritis .
Useful in skin diseases, and helps in modulation of voice.
Dry and reduces vomiting.
Amongst all the above “Makshika” is considered as the best type with immense medicinal properties.
Health benefits and uses of Honey
- As it contains sugars which are quickly absorbed by our digestive system and converted into energy, this can be used as instant energizer.
- As it is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, growth of healing tissue and dries it up.
- Honey acts as a sedative and is very useful in bed wetting disorders.
- Honey is very good antioxidant which restores the damaged skin and gives soft, young looks.
- Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic nature and enzymically produced hydrogen peroxide.
- Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.
In Ashtanga Hridaya the great classic of ayurveda, the therapeutic uses of honey are explained as follows.
- Honey is very good for eyes and eye sight.
- It quenches thirst.
- Dissolves kapha.
- Reduces effects of poison.
- Stops hiccups.
- It is very useful in urinary tract disorders like UTI and Cystitis, worm infestations, bronchial asthma, cough, diarrhoea and nausea -vomiting.
- Cleanses and heals the wounds. Initiates growth of healthy granulation tissue. Helps in quick healing of deep wounds.
- Honey which is newly collected from bee hive increases body weight and is a mild laxative.
- Honey which is stored and is old helps in metabolism of fat and scrapes Kapha. Usually old honey is recommended for weight loss.
Honey as a “Yogavahi” or Best Carrier
Ayurveda explains another special quality of honey. Honey is called as “Yogavahi” . The substance which has a quality of penetrating the deepest tissue is called as Yogavahi. When honey is used with other herbal preparations it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them to reach the deeper tissues.
Precautions to be taken before using honey:
- Honey should not be mixed with hot foods.
- It should not be heated.
- Madhu should not be consumed when you are working in hot environment where you are exposed to more heat.
- This should never be mixed with rain water, hot and spicy foods, and Fermented beverages like whisky, rum, brandy etc,
- Should not be used along with Ghee and mustard.
Honey includes nectar of various flowers of which some may be poisonous. Poison has hot or Ushna qualities. When honey is mixed with hot and spicy foods the poisonous properties get enhanced and cause imbalance of doshas.
Ayurvedic Beauty Treatments with Honey
Honey aggravates vata. But alleviates pitta, rakta and kapha. According to ayurveda principles acne and pimples are caused by vitiation of rakta, pitta and kapha. As honey balances vitiated rakta, pitta and kapha, its external application helps to reduce acne and pimples. In the above verse it has been said that honey is an excellent promoter of healing process (sandhatru).Inflamed acne and pimples get healed very quickly when honey is applied externally. Its antimicrobial properties help to accelerate healing process.
Honey-A home facial mask benefits
We all know that honey has innumerable medicinal properties. Now people use honey regularly as a substitute for sugar. Honey can be used externally on skin. According to principles of ayurveda honey has cleansing properties. It cleanses the body when consumed internally. This sweet nectar removes toxic plugs and rejuvenates body tissues. It is the best ayurvedic skin detox
The same action can be seen when it is used externally. It clears the clogged skin pores and rejuvenates skin. Its anti ageing properties help skin to look younger. Wash face thoroughly with suitable face wash. Pat dry skin. Take 2 tea spoons of organic honey and apply on face. Leave it for 15 minutes. Wash it off with luke warm water. Honey facials increases fairness and glow of skin. It helps to reduce wrinkles and other ageing signs.
As honey exhibits astringent (kashayam) properties its external application helps to tighten the pores created by acne and pimple. Its heaviness (guru) and cold (sheeta) properties help to increase the moisture level of skin. This helps to prevent wrinkles. Honey helps to increase moistness of dry skin.
Honey has another excellent property of drying extra oil secretion. It scrapes the excess oil secretion without stripping the natural oil of skin. Persons with Oily skin can take advantage of this quality of honey.
6 Home remedies with Honey
Mix 2 tea spoon of honey with carrot juice and consume regularly. This helps to improve eyesight and is very helpful for those who sit before computer for long hours.
A mixture of black pepper powder, honey and ginger juice in equal quantities, when consumed thrice daily help to relieve the symptoms of asthma.
One glass of warm water taken with two tea spoons of honey and 1 tea spoon of lemon juice in early morning reduces fat and purifies blood.
Consuming one spoon of honey daily help us to lead a healthy long life.
About Author: This article is copy righted. The author Dr.Krishna.R.S is an Ayurvedic Physician .
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