The Miracle Of Honey
. . . From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers to swallow. (Surat an-Nahl: 66)
By making honey, bees have served humanity since very ancient times. Beekeeping goes as far back as 3500 BCE.141
The Production of Honey
As you know, the main ingredient in honey is the nectar collected by bees from flowers and fruit buds. Bees turn this into honey. Pollen has no effect on the production of honey, and is used by bees only to meet their needs for protein.
The nectar a bee collects from flowers and swallows undergoes a chemical change in its honey stomach, where it becomes a heavy, sugary liquid rich in vitamins and minerals. Later, bees place it into the honeycomb cells and seal with a wax cover. The honey acquires its familiar taste and consistency in the comb, thanks to the special air-conditioning provided by the bees.142
The color of honey, its sugar content and different flavors all stem from the original nectars collected. The aromatic volatile oils in flowers, those same oils that give flowers their scents, give the honey its aroma.
Honey production requires a major effort. For example, it takes 900 bees working an entire day to collect half a kilogram of raw nectar, only part of which can be turned into honey. The amount of honey obtained from the flowers totally depends upon the sugar concentration of the nectar brought to the hive. In the apple blossom, for instance, there is little sugar, and so little of the nectar collected from apple trees can be turned into honey.143
In order to obtain 450 grams of pure honey, some 17,000 bees must visit 10 million flowers. An average expedition to find food requires that a bee visit some 500 flowers and on a journey lasting approximately 25 minutes. That explains why bees have to put in 7,000 work hours to obtain 450 grams of pure honey.144
Although this job is most demanding, bees create many times more honey than they need. No doubt, this is a blessing from God for human beings’ benefit.
HOW DO BEES FEED IN WINTER?
Bees store honey for use in winter. The amount of honey to be produced depends on the flower sources. Even if they collect enough honey for the needs of the colony a month before the flowers fade, they still do not neglect to gather more nectar, and try to store as much honey as possible, even if it requires to increase the volume of the comb.
Beekeepers remove from the hive only a portion of the honey-filled combs, because the bees will need some of the honey to consume during the winter. If bee-keepers do take away most of the honey, they feed the bees with sugar water during the winter. The only exception is in the very coldest days, when sugar water is not enough. At these times, the bees must be given honey.
The Contents of Honey
The reason for honey’s sweet taste, the first characteristic that comes to mind, is the three different sugars in honey: dextrose (34%), sucrose (2%) and levulose or fructose (40%).
In addition, 17% of honey is water. The remaining 7% consists of iron, lime, sodium, sulphur, magnesium, phosphorus, pollen, manganese, aluminum, calcium, copper, albumen, dextrine, nitrogen, and traces of other substances besides protein and acids. It is this 7% of the mixture that determines the quality of the honey.145
. . . From inside them comes a drink of varying colors, containing healing for humanity. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect.
There is one very important difference between honey and the ordinary cane sugar with which we are all familiar. Sugar enters the bloodstream only after undergoing changes in the digestive system, while honey can enter it immediately, with no need to be digested first. In short, honey is a food that has been specially created in such a way that human beings can benefit from it at the highest level and in the most rapid manner. It has been established that honey mixed with warm water supplies energy to the body in a matter of minutes.
Health-Giving Properties of Honey
With the vitamins and minerals it contains, and with its other characteristics, honey is a healthy food, as is emphasized in the Qur’an:
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 of 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 colors, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl: 68-69)
One of honey’s most important features is that it harbors no bacteria. Honey’s high sugar content is great for absorbing moisture, which makes it difficult for bacteria to survive. Another blow for microorganisms is propolis, which is found in the nectar of some honey and can actually kill bacteria.146
For this reason, not only does honey not harbor bacteria, but it can be used as an anti-bacterial. For example, it has been established that the bacterium MRSA, which is resistant to antibiotics, is not resistant to honey.147
As can be seen from the above, honey is a most powerful health-giving food. This feature, only recently established for certain, was mentioned in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago. There is no doubt that this is one of the miracles revealed in the Qur’an by Almighty God.
Along with its minerals, sugars and many vitamins, honey also contains small quantities of various hormones, zinc, copper and iodine. The next page displays a chemical analysis of the contents of 100 grams of honey.
And they have other uses for them, and drinks. So will they not be thankful?
A Matchless Food: Bee Pollen
As already stated, bees do not directly use the pollen they collect from flowers, but turn it into another product known as “bee pollen.” This transformation is carried out by adding nectar and various enzymes to the pollens collected.
This product made by bees contains every nutrient we humans need. Bee pollen consists of 25% vegetable protein. (18 amino-acids, of which 8 are basic amino-acids.) It also contains more than another dozen vitamins, 28 minerals, 11 enzymes and helper enzymes and 11 carbohydrates. This makes bee pollen far more than just another food.
Ever since the 1950s, there has been a lot of research on bee pollen, revealing—among other things—that it contains antibiotic substances effective against colon bacillius and some strains of Salmonella (a genus of bacteria), as well as providing nutritional and metabolic benefits.149
Nutritionist Dr. Paavo Airola is full of praise for bee pollen:
Multi-source bee pollen is the richest and most complete food in nature. It increases the body’s resistance to stress and disease and also speeds up the healing process in most conditions of ill health . . . .150
The Russians have also attached great importance to the properties of bee pollen. Dr. Naum Petrovich Joirich, chief scientist at the Longevity Academy in Vladivostock, says:
Bee pollen is one of the original treasure houses of nutrition and medicine. Each grain contains every important substance necessary to life.151
The enhancement of physical performance has also been linked to bee pollen. Carlson Wade in his book Bee Pollen and Your Health and Lynda Lyngheim and Jack Scagnetti in their book Bee Pollen also refer to the way that this substance has strengthened athletes.152
Since royal jelly contains some very complex and as-yet undefined compounds, it has been impossible to manufacture it artificially. It is rich in natural hormones, minerals, Vitamin B, folic acid, fatty acids, acetylcholine (the lack of which in the body causes Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the nervous system), amino-acids, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It also contains aspartic acid, which plays an important role in the renewal and growth of soft tissues in the body.
Royal jelly possesses antibacterial, antiviral, nutritional and anti-aging properties, helping with cell renewal as people grow older. In addition, it also benefits the respiratory, skeletal, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, immune and cellular systems. It also stimulates hormone balance, regulates and normalizes hormonal and metabolic functions. Along with treating skin problems, it also protects skin color.
It helps the body regain strength in the wake of chronic fatigue, serious illnesses, operations and trauma, and also raises energy levels. It lowers cholesterol and fat levels and helps prevent hardening of the arteries. Research has also indicated that royal jelly is useful in protecting the liver, building bone and muscle, supporting bone growth and health, strengthening the memory, weight stabilization and the treatment of injuries.
Doctors in Germany carrying out research in a number of fields used royal jelly to feed malnourished and premature babies. Improvements in the weight and health of babies fed on royal jelly were observed.
In addition, it has been observed that patients with nervous and psychological problems given royal jelly achieved a normal weight, more resistant nervous systems and stronger physical and mental structures.
octors also advise the use of royal jelly to delay the effects of aging and menopause, to relieve malnourishment and illnesses such as joint infections, diseases of the arteries, peptic ulcers and liver problems, as well as for general health.153
141- Encyc. Americana, 1993, USA, Vol.3, Int. Headquartes, Danbury Connecticut, s.444
142- http://www.atd.ucas.edu/homes/cook/mead/danspaper. html
143- Lucy W. Clausen, Insect Fact and Folklore, Int. Book and Periodicals Supply Services, New Dehli
144- John Brackenbury, Insects and Flowers, 1995, UK, s.12
145- Murray Hoyt, The World of Bees, Coward Mcnann Inc, New York, 1965 s.181
146- F. Beck Bodog and Smedly, Honey and Health, Mc. Bride and Co., N.Y., Doree, 1946
148- Murray Hoyt, The World of Bees, Coward Mcnann Inc, New York, 1965 s.185
153- http://www.wic.net/waltzark/rjelly.htm http://www.health- pages.com/rj/