In India, honey has a special status especially in the ancient science of Ayurveda. Known as madhu in ayurvedic scriptures it is one of the most important medicines for both internal and external applications. It is used as a natural preservative and sweetener in many ayurvedic preparations and to mitigate the increase in Kapha dosha. Honey is known for its ability to reach the deepest tissues and cells and hence is used as a efficient carrier of medicines (it is mixed with) to improve its efficacy and also used to nullify side effects of the other medicines.
Fresh honey helps to increase body mass while old honey produces constipation and decreases body mass.
The sugars in honey are glucose, fructose and sucrose. Glucose, the simplest of the sugars helps restore oxygen levels, depleted by lactic acid build up during workouts or fatigue.Fructose, crystallises more easily than glucose and builds up tissues. Sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose, makes honey easy to digest. Pollen in organic raw honey contains all 22 amino acids, 28 minerals, 11 enzymes, 14 fatty acids and 11 carbohydrates.
The different types of Honey used in Ayurvedic treatments:
According to ayurveda, there are eight different types of honey:
1. Makshikam: Used in the treatment of eye diseases, hepatitis, piles, asthma, cough and tuberculosis.
2. Bhraamaram: Useful when blood is vomited.
Cold honey (room temperature) is best for the body as heating depletes its nutritional and therapeutic properties and causes a toxic effect.
3. Kshoudram: Used in the treatment of diabetes.
4. Pauthikam: Used in the treatment of diabetes and urinary infection.
5. Chathram: Used in the treatment of worm infestation, blood in vomit and diabetes.
6. Aardhyam: Effective for eye diseases, cough and anaemia.
7. Ouddalakam: Increases taste and swarasudhi (vocal chords). Used in the treatment of leprosy and poisoning cases.
8. Daalam: It increases digestion and helps in the treatment of cough, vomiting and diabetes.
11 Natural Healing properties of Honey:
1. Energy Source: Ayurveda recommends honey, an easily absorbed carb rich food, to generate heat and provide instant energy. It enters directly into the bloodstream because of its dextrine content.
2. Weight loss: Fresh honey, mixed with the lemon juice in a glass of lukewarm water, taken first thing in the morning is an effective remedy for constipation, hyper acidity and the treatment of obesity.
3. Heart: Ayurveda texts recommended honey in cases of arteriosclerosis, cardiac pain and palpitation of the heart.
Anti anemia: Honey’s rich iron, copper and manganese combination helps support the right balance of haemoglobin and red blood corpuscles in the body.
4. Respiratory health: Honey (preferably one year old honey) as highly beneficial in the support of lung health and treatment of all imbalances of the lungs. Honey contains mixture of ‘higher’ alcohols and ethereal oil and the vapours given off by them are soothing and beneficial to the asthma patients.
5. Skin: External application of Honey is recommended in the treatment of wounds, sores, burns and carbuncles as it soothes pain, and works as an antiseptic, speeding up the healing process.
6. Cough and Throat: Honey acts as a demulcent (soothing agent), relaxing inflamed mucus membranes in the upper respiratory tract and eases difficulty in swallowing.
7. Insomnia: Honey’s hypnotic action calms the nerves and induces deep sleep. Ayurveda recommends it as a soother for babies as well.
8. Oral Care: Applying honey daily over the teeth and gums, cleans and whitens teeth, prevents tarter and gum decay due to its antiseptic properties. Honey aids the healing of oral ulcers and prevents further sepsis and pyogenic infection related bad odour and pus formation. Gargling with honey water is very useful in gingivitis due to inflammation of the gums.
9. Vision: Raw organic Honey applied daily in the eyes improves eye-sight, reduces itching, and prevents trachoma, conjunctivitis and even glaucoma (if detected and treated early).
10. Stomach: Honey tones up the stomach, fires up digestion, prevents over production of hydrochloric acid that cause nausea, vomiting and heart burn. Honey also acts as a laxative and emetic and clears the GI tract of the waste matter (ama).
11. Old Age: Honey provides energy and heat to the body in old age, refreshing and rejuvenating the body, helping dry phlegm and clearing mucus, that normally afflict old people.