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Honey: The good, bad and ugly

This natural sweetener can be medicinal, toxic, or even fake

brunch Updated: Feb 03, 2018 20:35 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
Honey,Ayurveda,fat reducing
Honey is considered a medicine in Ayurveda for its healing properties (istock)

Honey is an ancient food with medicinal, nutritional and cosmetic benefits. While honey is generally perceived as an excellent food, it also has a bad and an ugly side. Here is a brief overview.

The good

Honey is considered a medicine in Ayurveda, thanks to properties such as ruksha (fat reducing when consumed, thus good for weight loss therapy), and sheetal (cooling, so used for skin and blood disorders).

It is used in very small quantities because it enters deep into the tissues when consumed orally. Many Ayurvedic medicines use honey as a transporter. Honey is used to treat blood disorders, pneumonia, asthma, and chest congestion, among other ailments.

The bad

If you do not consume honey properly, it can be poisonous. So...

*Do not consume it together with an equal amount of ghee as the combination is toxic.

*Do not cook, boil or bake with honey.

*Do not eat products that use honey as a sweetener, but process and heat the honey during manufacture.

Kinds of honey
  • In the modern world, honey is categorised according to the flower from which is it is sourced.
  • But, Ayurveda categorises it by the type of bee, recognising that the bee’s enzymes can make a difference to the honey produced.
  • There are eight types of honey, according to Ayurveda, including Oudalaka, made from flowers that are slightly toxic, but made medicinal by the bee’s enzymes.

The ugly

Certain manufacturers sell honey that is actually made of sugar. Here’s how to test for genuine honey:

*Honey is an ant-killer. Place your honey on a tabletop; if it attracts ants, it is sugar.

*With very , honey does not soak into blotting paper.

*Honey does not dissolve in water.

*Put a drop of honey on a teaspoon and try to burn it. If it catches fire, it’s honey because it contains volatile compounds.

From HT Brunch, February 4, 2018

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First Published: Feb 03, 2018 20:35 IST