Therapeutic uses of Honey in Ayurveda

f_11310573543_p4a4.jpgThe FAO Codex Alimentarius Commission defines honey as ‘the natural sweet substance produced by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or from secretions coming from living organisms feeding on plants, that bees gather, transform and combine with specific ingredients, store and leave to ripen in the combs of the hive.’

In Ayurveda honey is called as “Madhu”. Its qualities are explained as follows.

“Vaatalam guru sheetam cha raktapittakaphapaham |
Sandhatru cchedanam ruksham kashayam madhuram madhu ||-

“It has sweetness (madhura rasa) with added astringent as end taste (Kashaya anu rasa). It is heavy (guru guna), dry (ruksha) and cold (sheeta). Its effect on doshas is as follows It aggravates vata, scrapes kapha and normalizes pitta and rakta. It promotes healing process.-

The contents of Honey are
1. Sugars like fructose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, lactose and other disaccharides and trisaccharides.
2. Proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids,
3. Volatile aromatic substances.
4. Ashes and water etc.

Various ingredients of honey have helped it to become not only a sweet liquid but also a natural product with high nutritional and medicinal value.

The medicinal quality, taste, texture, color, aroma of honey differs according to the geographical area and the species of plants from which it has been collected.

Types of Honey:

Eight types of honey are described in ayurveda depending on the type of bee which collects it. They are Pouttika ,Bhramara .Kshoudra, Makshika , Chatra , Arghya ,Oudalaka ,Dala .

Pouttika – This honey is collected by very large bees from the nectar of poisonous flowers. It increases vata, causes gout and burning sensation in chest.It is also sedative and reduces fat.

Bhramara – This honey is collected by large bees and Sticky in nature.

Kshoudra – (Honey collected by medium sized honey bees ) light and cold in nature. Dissolves Kapha.

Makshika – (Honey collected by small honey bees) very light and dry natured. Usefull in VataKapha diseases and kapha diseases

Chatra – Heavy and cold in nature usefull in gout, Leucoderma (Shwitra),

Arghya – Good for eyes but causes arthritis .

Oudalaka – Useful in skin diseases, and helps in modulation of voice.

Dala – Dry and reduces vomiting.

Amongst all the above “Makshika” is considered as the best type with immense medicinal properties.

Therapeutic uses of Honey:

1. As it contains sugars which are quickly absorbed by our digestive system and converted into energy, this can be used as instant energizer.
2. As it is hygroscopic it speeds up healing, growth of healing tissue and dries it up.
3. Honey acts as a sedative and is very usefull in bed wetting disorders.
4. Honey is very good antioxident which restores the damaged skin and gives soft, young looks.
5. Honey has antibacterial properties due to its acidic nature and enzymically produced hydrogen peroxide.
6. Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.

In Ashtanga Hridaya the great classic of ayurveda, the therapeutic uses of honey are explained as follows.

“Chakshushayam Chedi tritshleshmavishahidmaasrapittanut |
Mehakushtakrimicchardishwaasakaasaatisaarajit ||
Vranashodhana sandhaanaropanam vaatalam madhu ||-

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