Honey is mostly used as a sweetener and a preservative instead of sugar, and it is also used in cooking, for instance, when raising dough or in marinades. The sugars in honey are small-molecule sugars and they absorb into the system easily. Therefore, honey is a superb snack for, for instance, athletes either during or after sports.
Due to its antibacterial qualities, honey is also an efficient and natural remedy for injuries and illnesses: honey can be used externally for treating cuts, burns, abrasions and skin disorders as well as in beauty care. Internally, honey is good for infection prevention and treatment as well for improving digestion.
Honey contains healthy pollen that, amongst other things, strengthens and restores the balance of the human body, balances hormonal functions, helps with prostate problems and increases fertility and the lactation of breast-feeding mothers.
Honey that contains pollen can also be used to prevent pollen allergies by having a daily dose of honey for months before there is pollen in the air. Honey will, however, cause symptoms to those who suffer from severe pollen allergy; therefore, they should try filtered honey.
Honey may contain spores of the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, which are quite harmless to an adult but which can cause severe food poisoning in small children, infant botulism. Infants’ gastrointestinal microbial flora is not yet fully developed; therefore the C. botulinum spores can gather and develop botulinum toxin that causes poisoning. There have been five infant botulism cases in the Nordic countries during 1997-1999, one in Denmark and four in Norway, and in all cases the source has been honey. There have been no cases in Finland, but since the Finnish Food Safety Authority tests have found bacteria spores in a small quantity of honey, it has been decided that the text “Not for under 12-month-old children” must be added to honey that is sold in Finland.
DID YOU KNOW: Bees carry pollen in their hind-leg pollen baskets in order to use the pollen as a source of protein and for nourishment. The beekeeper collects the pollen with a collecting device that is placed at the entrance of the beehive where the pollen balls that the bees carry fall before they enter the hive. This collection causes no harm to the bees, since there is always enough nourishment left over for the hive as well. Pollen contains protein, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, flavonoids, enzymes and minerals, agents with antibiotic qualities and agents that function in a similar manner as hormones.