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.
In Ayurveda honey is called as “Madhu”. Its qualities are
explained as follows
Vaatalam guru sheetam cha raktapittakaphapaham
Sandhatru cchedanam ruksham kashayam madhuram madhu
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, scrapes kapha
and normalizes pitta and rakta. It promotes healing process.
The contents of Honey are
1. Sugars like fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose,
lactose and other disaccharides and trisaccharides.
2. Proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino
3. Volatile aromatic substances.
4. 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
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:
Eight types of honey are described in ayurveda depending
on the type of bee which collects it. They are Pouttika ,Bhramara .Kshoudra,
Makshika , Chatra , Arghya ,Oudalaka ,Dala .
Pouttika – 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 fat.
Bhramara – This honey is collected by large bees and
Sticky in nature.
Kshoudra – (Honey collected by medium sized honey bees )
light and cold in nature. Dissolves Kapha.
Makshika – (Honey collected by small honey bees) very
light and dry natured. Usefull in VataKapha diseases and kapha diseases
Chatra – Heavy and cold in nature usefull in gout,
Arghya – Good for eyes but causes arthritis .
Oudalaka – Useful in skin diseases, and helps in
modulation of voice.
Dala – Dry and reduces vomiting.
From all the above types “Makshika” is considered as the
best type with immense medicinal properties.
Therapeutic uses of Honey:
1. As it contains sugars which are quickly absorbed by
our digestive system and converted into energy, this can be used as instant
2. As it is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, growth of
healing tissue and dries it up.
3. Honey acts as a sedative and is very useful in bed
4. Honey is very good antioxidant which restores the
5. Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic
nature and enzymatically produced hydrogen peroxide.
6. 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.
Chakshushayam Chedi tritshleshmavishahidmaasrapittanut
Vranashodhana sandhaanaropanam vaatalam madhu
Honey is very good for eyes and eye sight.
It quenches thirst.
Reduces effects of poison.
It is very useful in urinary tract disorders, worm
infestations, bronchial asthma, cough, diarrhea and nausea -vomiting.
Cleanse the wounds.
It heals wounds.
Helps deep wounds heal quickly.
Initiates growth of healthy granulation tissue.
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.
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.
Honey should not be heated.
Honey should not be consumed when you are working in hot
environment where you are exposed to more heat.
Honey should never be mixed with rain water, hot and
spicy foods, and Fermented beverages like whisky, rum, brandy etc, Ghee and
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
Few 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.
In cold, cough and congested chest mix 2 tea spoons of
honey with equal quantity of ginger juice and should be consumed frequently.
A mixture of black pepper powder, honey and ginger juice
in equal quantities, when consumed thrice daily help to relieve the symptoms of
Regular use of one tea spoon of garlic juice mixed with
two tea spoons of honey help to control blood pressure.
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
Consuming one spoon of honey daily help us to lead a
healthy long life.