Honey a precious thing
Honey - The Wonderful
HONEY, a most assimilable carbohydrate compound, is a singularly acceptable, practical and most effective aliment to generate heat, create and replace energy, and furthermore, to form certain tissues. Honey, besides, supplies the organism with substances for the formation of enzymes and other biological ferments to promote oxidation. It has distinct germicidal properties and in this respect greatly differs from milk which is an exceptionally good breeding-ground for bacteria. Honey is a most valuable food, which today is not sufficiently appreciated. Its frequent if not daily use is vitally important.
The universal and natural craving for sweets of some kind proves best that there is a true need for them in the human system. Children, who expend lots of energy, have a real "passion" for sweets. This is really instinct. Proteins will replace and build tissues but it is the function and assignment of carbohydrates to create and replace heat and energy, and to provide what we call Honey, which contains two invert sugars, levulose and dextrose, has many advantages as a food substance. While cane-sugar and starches, as already intimated, must undergo during digestion a process of inversion which changes them into grape and fruit-sugars, in honey this is already accomplished because it has been predigested by the bees, inverted and concentrated. This saves the stomach additional labor. For a healthy human body, which is capable of digesting sugar, the actuality that honey is an already predigested sugar has less importance, but in a case of weak digestion, especially in those who lack invertase and amylase and depend on monosaccarides, it is a different matter and deserves consideration.
Honey in Costmetics
Many face creams and lotions, even today, contain honey. Honey has a nourishing, bleaching, astringent and antiseptic effect on the skin. The noted beautiful hands of the Japanese women, devoid of all wrinkles, is attributable to their daily use of fresh honey as a hand lotion. The Chinese women use a paste made from crushed orange seeds and honey for pimples and also to clear their complexions. Crushed seeds of peaches or apricots with honey they use for softening their hands. Honey, yolks of eggs and sweet almond oil is the best softener of hands. For chapped lips and skin, honey (30 gm.) lemon juice (30 gm.) and Eau de Cologne (15 gm.) is an excellent remedy. Honey, glycerine, alcohol and lemon juice or citric acid are the ingredients of most lotions for sunburn, chafed skin and freckles. Many skin-soaps contain honey. The famous Balm of Gilead was made of mutton tallow, castile soap, honey, beeswax and alum. Honey as a cosmetic remedy has an advantage over cold creams because it does not grow hair. As a cleanser of hands, honey equals even mechanic soaps in efficiency without making the skin rough.
Honey packs, honey masks and honey facials are getting more and more popular. The Creole women of Louisiana rub their entire bodies with a lotion consisting of honey and water, to which all possible assortments of spices are added. They use it not only as a cosmetic but as a cure for all kinds of skin trouble and sore throat. This application is also supposed to have the power to drive away evil spirits and to accord a clear view of the future. The Egyptian women chewed perfumed pills made of honey and spices to sweeten their breath. In ancient Rome a high-priced semisolid paste, called "honey-mint," was used for bad breath.
Honey in beverages
Honey added to beverages offers another grateful field for wholesome mixtures. Honey added to a cup of coffee or tea imparts an exquisite aroma, besides sweetening and laxative effects. Soft drinks, for example lemonades, sodas and fruit punches, mixed with well-ripened honey are delicious. Honey milk-shake, egg-nogg, spiced milk must be tried only once. In cases of grippe several tablespoonfuls of honey with lemon juice in a cup of boiling water or red wine, sipped while hot, will keep the doctor away more successfully than a basketful of apples. Honey mixed with carbonated water binds the gases.
Alcoholic drinks, cocktails and whisky mixed with honey are delectable. A quart of old sherry with an equal amount of water and whole cloves, sticks of cinnamon, allspice, a few grains of salt and honey, to suit the taste, boiled slowly for several hours and then allowed to stand a while, will make an unforgettable drink on cold winter evenings. It must be served hot after being strained. The author delights in offering this drink to his guests and it is often commented upon during a cheerful evening. The cup produces warmth, benefits the digestion and stimulates without invading, as do most hard drinks, the head, feet, heart, kidneys, and not infrequently, the liver—as a rule—all at once.
The beneficial effect of honey on the skin has an age-old repute. Poppea, the comely wife of Nero, who employed a hundred slaves to attend her beauty, used honey and tepid asses' milk as a face lotion. The patrician women of Rome followed her practice for centuries. The famous beauty, Mme. Du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV, used honey extensively in her toilet preparations; so did Mme. du Sevigné, Marguerite of Navarre and Agnes Sorel. The latter called honey "the soul of flowers."
The consummation of this predigestive act is accomplished by the enzymes invertase, amylase and catalase, which are produced by the worker bee in such large quantities that they can be found in every part of their bodies. However, there is plenty of it left in honey for our benefit. The remarkable convertive power of these enzymes can be pif oven by a simple experiment. If we add one or two tablespoonful of raw honey to a pint of concentrated solution of sucrose, the mixture will soon be changed into invert sugar. The addition of boiled honey, in which the enzymes have been destroyed, will not accomplish such a change.
Medicinal Value Of Honey
HYDROMEL, i.e., honey and water, made under the special direction of Pliny and Galen, was for centuries not only a popular drink but a salutary medicine. Pliny was a firm believer in hydromel; he thought that "it is an extremely wholesome beverage for invalids who take nothing but light diet; it invigorates the body, is soothing to the mouth and stomach, and by its refreshing properties allays feverish heats. It is well suited for persons of chilly temperament or of a weak and pusillanimous constitution, ... diminishing also the asperities of the mind." According to Pliny, anger, sadness and all other afflictions of the mind can be modified by diet. OXYMEL, made of honey, vinegar, sea salt and rain-water, was in great vogue in olden times, when it was considered an infallible cure for sciatica, gout, and rheumatic ailments. It was also used to "gargarize with in Squinancy." There were many other preparations made with honey. RHODOMEL was a mixture of roses and honey; OMPHACOMEL was made from fermented grape-juice and honey; and OENOMEL from unfermented grape-juice and honey. This last combination was used for gout and "nerves." Clysma of honey and water was considered a remedy of merit for cleansing the bowels. The ancient Greek conditum was honey mixed with wine and pepper. It was a popular medicine for all kinds of digestive ailments. Most ancients attributed to honey-drinks a soporiferous effect.
Butler thought that the virtues of mead were about the same as those of honey. He advocated old mead as "a wine most agreeable to the stomach, as it restores appetite, opens the pas-sages for the Spirit and breath, and softens the bellies." He also thought that "it was good for those who have coughs, quartan ague and cachexia and that it helps to guard against diseases of the brain (Epilepsie or falling evil) for which wine is pernicious.