Both ancient and modern times honey has been extensively used by all generation recognized as food and medicine. Honey has been discovered recently to use as antiseptic and antimicrobial agent and to treat a variety of diseases. For treatment of number of human pathologies, honey has been reported to be effective. Honey application quickly clears contamination from the wound and improves tissue healing. There are several antimicrobial compounds found in honey which are responsible for the formation of antimicrobial substances. Additional antimicrobial activity of honey is due to proteinaceous compounds because bacteria are present in honeybee stomach. Against pathogenic microorganisms and food spoilage microorganisms honey exhibits varying levels of activity. Honey originating from flowering plants and hives. Honey is not normally processed that’s why they contain a diverse microbial population. Microbial honey isolates showing antimicrobial action through screening against food spoilage microorganisms. Honey is introducing in food and agrochemical industry due to new, natural, non-toxic and low cost antimicrobial compounds. Antimicrobial properties of honey is due to the osmotic effect, high sugar concentration, presence of bacteriostatic, bactericidal factors and anti-inflammatory properties of honey concluded from various studies. Studies reported that confirming the antimicrobial activity of honey.
Antimicrobial activity of honey against bacteria
Antimicrobial activity of 84 honey samples examined against bacteria and fungi which was obtained from different sources. After the result honey sample with thyme acorn pine and carob shows more antimicrobial activity. Honey can absolutely stop the growth of all tested bacteria at 45-55%. If compare the sensitivity of fungi and bacteria, antimicrobial activity against fungi was least. As some honey samples which have high antimicrobial activity sensitivity of microorganisms to sugar solution with similar sugar contents were also analyzed. These results concluded to examine possible benefits among bacterial infections and encourage further studies for use of honey.
Differences in vulnerability between species
All the honey samples have not same antibacterial activity therefore by using the results from different studies sensitivity of species cannot be compared. Same honey and same test condition are used to check the sensitivity of species relating to each other. Species could respond differently to the different types of antibacterial factor that may be present honey. Willie has demonstrated difference in ranking of sensitivity by using two honeys which have different antibacterial factors. Under the same conditions effect of a honey, or a group of honeys, on a number of species has been assayed to compare the relative sensitivity. By using above discussion or various studies we concluded that antibacterial activity of honey shows variations.
Medicinal property of Honey
In modern times honey has been used as a treatment for peptic ulcers and gastritis. Honey work as an anti-inflammatory agent to stimulate the repair of damaged intestinal mucosa and encourage the growth of new tissues. Flavonoids and other polyphenols act as antioxidants are abundant compounds which are present in raw honey. When honey is applied to wounds reduced the symptoms of inflammation have been reported through clinical observations. Ulcers, bed sores and other skin infections resulting from burns and wounds honey gaining acceptance for treatment. Application of honey do not respond to the conventional therapy i.e., antibiotics and antiseptics because it can promote the healing in infected wounds.
Health benefits of honey
In many foods and drinks honey can be used as a substitute for sugar. It can be used as a sweetener because it is good for our health than white sugar because it contains 65-70% glucose and fructose.
Honey helps in digesting the fat stored in our body. When honey is consumed with warm water it has more calories than sugar. It helps in reducing weight when combined with lemon juice.
If honey is compared with sugar, honey gives you more calories per tablespoon i.e., 64 and 15 calories per tablespoon respectively. Similarly carbohydrates from honey easily converted into glucose.
Antibacterial and Antifungal properties
Honey has been used as antibacterial and antifungal agents hence used in medicines.
Increasing Athletic Performance
Blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration, amount of insulin in the body and energy expenditure maintained by honey. It helps in boosting the performance of athletes.
Factors governing the benefits of honey
There are many factors which affects the benefits of honey such as blending process, storage conditions, temperature of heating and in the formation of honeycombs which flower is used. It is very important for both the manufacturers and consumers to understand the factors that affect the quality of honey because price and health benefits of honey are dependent on its quality.
Muhammad Saeed, Iqra Yasmin and Hermain Ali
National Institute of Food Science & Technology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad