General info on honey
The sweet secretion of the plants which helps pollination is used by the bees to produce the sweet, healthy matter we call honey. Apart from cooking, where we use it as sweetener, honey is also used in medicine, as a significantly efficient remedy for many ailments and as a companion to standard medical therapies.
There are situations in which honey can become polluted with microbes from the vegetation, bees or dirt. The processes of gathering and preparation can also induce the same risk to honey. Luckily, honey has special traits that enable it to ward off most of the germs on its own. In cases when honey cannot destroy the bacteria on its own, honey can be treated to ensure than no bacteria remain in it.
Applications of honey
Patients suffering from hay fever, cough and asthma can benefit from consumption of honey. Furthermore, honey is administered to people who have troubles with diarrhea, and to those with stomach ulcerations provoked by the bacterium called Helicobacter pylori.
As an excellent source of energy, it is commonly used during heavy workout. Athletes from many sports, as well as recreational sports persons, use honey alone or in different mixtures of food as an efficient energy booster. Taken prior to the physical activity, it provides substantial amounts of fuel to the body, owing to its calorie count and supply of vitamins.
Honey is very successful at healing wounds to the skin, such as burns, lacerations and some other surface traumas. It is usually applied directly, and it works by disinfecting the injured skin, reducing pain and decreasing the period needed for healing.
Potential negative side effects
When administered directly onto the skin or consumed orally, honey is considered a substance with virtually no risk of side-effects whatsoever for grownups or older children.
Although grownups or older children do not run the risk of such a side effect, babies younger than 12 months should not be given unprocessed honey, since there is the danger of them being infected with botulism.
The risk of being infected with botulism does not exist with pregnant women, provided we are talking about average food quantities. Since there is not enough reliable information concerning the matter, medicinal quantities may bear some risks of side effect harm with pregnant ladies, or with those that are breast-feeding. Just in case, these women should stick to consumption of food quantities of honey and avoid applying it onto the skin.
People who suffer from confirmed allergy to pollen need to abstain from taking honey. Although there are some indications that honey is beneficial for hay fever, the risk of damage to the health from the side effects is not negligible. Since pollen is contained within honey, it can cause defensive reactions of the patient’s body.