Natural Honey as described in the Holly Quran may be considered as diet and healing material
Honey was referred to as a gift of God in the ancient writings and it is also mentionned in the religious books. But the Holly Quran stressed the fact that honey is among the signs in Quran and Sunnah. There is a Sura called Annahl which means bees. It should be reminded that Surat Annahl is a scientifc Surat in which one can find many scientific descriptions.
Allah the almighty says in Surat Annahl: Your lord revealed to the bees build dwellings in the mountains and the trees and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind o fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow from inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect (16:68)
|Because honey was considered as a sugar solution apiculture has also adopted some techniques to increase the production yield, so Honey in most cases is resembling a sugar-like solution. That is the new techniques used in beekeeping and the industrial scale production of honey resulted in a loss of its healing power. This is most probably due to the lack of some compounds coming from the bees themselves such as traces of bee venom, propolis, pollen and wax which may exist in honey.|
Heating, filtration and centrifugation should not be mostly avoided when harvesting and storing. Light, air and water should not come in contact with honey at any moment when storing. It is also recommended to let the honey in its honeycomb for a suitable preservation of its biological and biochemical characteristics.
On reading the above mentionned verse from Surat Annahl (Bees) in the holly Quran, we realize immediately that there is a relation between the apiculture and the quality of honey. The verse describes all the scientific aspects related to the apiculture before exploring its benefits in few words. It should be emphasized here that the verse describes something not yet discovered by science. That is the holly Quran talks about how the hives should be managed and where they should be placed. Allah the almighty says: Your lord revealed to the bees build dwellings in the mountains and the trees and also in the structures which men erect. We know that all the flying creatures find the landing easier on elevated things or structures than on soil. The hives should be placed on elevated structures and they should be placed up to 8 meters high for an easy landing of the bees. This way would not stress the bees and may improve the yield and the quality of honey. This simple reality and logic practice could be noticed by the searchers in the field of apiculture. The Quran brought out this detail for better qualitative and quantitative production of honey.
The above mentioned verse describes bee products not honey and the description of the holly Quran is more significant than that given in the scientific books. Indeed, honey is not the only product of bees but there are a lot of products which could be obtained from the hives. The most known ones are honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, bee venom, wax, larvae and bees themselves. All the bee products can be consumed as drinks. It should be also pointed out that all these products could be found in the retail as drinks in ampoules, these products are more beneficial when drunk more than when eaten.
Not only the active principles extracted from the core of the fruits are responsible of the healing power of honey but factors from the bee are also involved in the healing phenomena. The gathered materials are swallowed and mixed with bee’s liquid containing enzymes and a lot of other factors. The swallowed mixture is resorted and deposited in the honeycomb to make honey after enzyme transformations and physical drying. The holly Quran talk about a liquid resorted from the body of the bees which contains healing material as it is described in the verse … containing healing for mankind. There was no laboratory in Saudia Arabia when the holly Quran had been revealed to the prophet Mohamed PBUH. All these things are highly precised and accurately described in such a way that nobody could bring them out by himself. These scientific descriptions and explorations could never have been developped by man since the scientific proof could not exist at that time.
The verse precises something coming from the inside of the bees rather from their mouths or from their bodies. In both cases chemical compounds are added to the vegetal material as well as some biological and biochemical modificaitons which could occur while honey is being produced. The verse pointed out also to nature of the vegetal material from which bees may withdraw the raw compounds for honey making, so bees may take from the core of the flowers or parts which will give the fruits on these plants. When we examine pollen gathered by bees, we will find that there is a very special tinny part extracted from the inside of the flower. It is said in the verse: … then eat from every kind of fruits. The holy Quran did not mention flowers but fruits to point out to the special vegetal material which bees take from the core of the flower. All the medicinal compounds are concentrated in that part of the flower which will give the fruit after fecundation and the development cycle.
Honey is defined in all the books of food science as a hypersaturated solution of sugars. It seems that this definition would be stupid and may not make sense, if honey is regarded as a sugar solution then it would not deserve its mention in the holly Quran. The definition given by man even specialized in the field of food science is not specific and does not refer to the most important power of honey, and this is a very good evidence that science is not able to describe natural phenomena with precision and accuracy. These phenomena could not have been created by chance and could not have been monitored by man. Honey is a very complex product composed of a diet part including sugars vitamins and minerals, and a medicinal part represented by polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids, traces of undetermined compounds coming from propolis, venom, pollen, wax and from the bees themselves.
It is not possible to give a chemical composition of honey since it may vary widely throughout the world. Honey in its diet part is composed of two main invert sugars glucose and levulose. Levulose is characterized by a high sweeteness relatively to the other sugars. It is the most swwet of all the sugars in the nature (see table bellow). The cost of levulose is higher than the cost of all invert sugars. Levulose absorbs slowly and may not increase blood sugar (hyperglycemia), so it can be used by diabetic patients. The low absorption of levulose makes it reaches the large intestines and this would explain its laxative effect on the intestines.
In addition to the above sugar profile, honey contains some aromatic volatile oils, which make its flavor, mineral elements (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, etc.), some protein, various enzymes, vitamins and flavonoids as coloring material. The medicinal part is composed of trace amounts of propolis, wax, bee venom and pollen. research about these compounds is now being performed to explore the honey healing power. Honey should not be calrifeid nor filtered. Thus honey should not be classified as food as it was considered by the modern science. Honey should be given more importance for reviewing its benefits and also to review its production.
Honey has been used as a medicine since ancient times in many cultures, and is still used in folk medicine. Use of honey as a therapeutic material has been rediscovered by the medical profession in more recent times, and it is gaining acceptance as a healing material for ulcers and bed sores, as well as other skin infections resulting from burns and wounds. However, little is known about the phenomena involved in the inhibition of microorganisms. In fact, honey has been found to be effective against microorganisms isolated from the urinary tract infection and the treatment of infantile gastro-enteritis. It may also have an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities associated with the high antioxidant content. Different aspects of the antimicrobial properties of honey have been extensively reviewed.
A great deal of work has been done in attempt to identify the antimicrobial factors/compounds in honey and the range of organisms susceptible to this antimicrobial action. The word “inhibine” was introduced to describe these antimicrobial agents and this term is still used today. Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain the antimicrobial activity of honey. This activity has been attributed to the hydrogen peroxide H2O2 generated by the action of the enzyme glucose oxidase. But, high antimicrobial activity of honey has been entirely due to this non-peroxide compound. Hydrogen peroxide is not the only inhibiting compound in honey. In fact, inhibitors in honey may include many other compounds, two important classes of which are flavonoids and phenolic acids. It is well assumed that pH of honey is quite low, ranging from 3.2 to 4.5. This low pH is attributed to the presence of gluconic acid. This value is considerably lower than the optimum pH required for the growth of most bacteria, which is around 7. Additionally, non-dissociated organic acids also play an important role in the antimicrobial activity of honey since they are highly soluble in cell membranes. The floral source of honey is also responsible for its antimicrobial activity.
The antimicrobial activities of bee products including propolis, honey and fresh pollen are now being studied widely throughout the world. Sophisticated techniques are applied to identify the active chemical compounds in the hope to extract them for more availability in the market and also for more knowledge about the suitable use of these compounds via the modern distibution for the patients. In our Lab some works were carried out on honey, propolis and fresh pollen (see details).
Almost all the diseases could be alleviated or treated with honey. There is no side effect since it is a natural material and it could never make a non compatible reaction with other compounds in the body. Honey was used successfully in healing the following diseases :
Inflammation of cornea if used locally in the eye
Asthma and allergies
Wounds and burns if used locally in situ.
Honey stimulates the regrowth of tissue involved in the healing process.
It has also an anti-inflammatory action which reduces the swelling around a wound.
Gastric and duodenal ulcers
Involuntary ion at beds
Colds, flu and pharyngitidis
Skin cracking and roughness, lips , sun stroke
The healing power of honey is due to the trace amounts of many unknown compounds from bees and from plants too. Most of these compounds are photochemicals which are very sensitive to light. Therefore honey may loss its remedy benefits when packaged and stored under light. Unfortunately honey sellors prefer transparent packaging material like glass or plastic to opaque material. Honey is not a food product but a healing material so more attention should be given