Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Honey makes the medicine go down!

A spoonful of honey, just like sugar, makes the medicine go down. But how good is the honey? To find out which is the best honey for you to buy, Consumer Education and Research Society, Ahmedabad, has tested 17 brands available in the market. They wanted to check out if the final product is pure or adulterated.

The brands tested were: Amrut, Baidyanath, Brij, Dabur, Dhanvantari, Himalayan, Hyness, Indian, KVIC Mumbai, Madh Sagar, Madhur, Mehsons, Push, Samskrithamadhu, Shreejee and West Bengal Bee Keeper’s Association.
The brands were tested against the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Agricultural Produce Grading and Marking Act (Agmark). The results were compared against the international standard, Codex Alimentarius. The PFA Act is mandatory.

CERC tested the honey for adulteration, quality, nutritive value, water content etc. It found a high sucrose content in some brands. And the quality was poor in some samples.

Though sucrose is naturally allowed in h oney, when it is beyond the limit (it should not be more than 5 per cent) it could be because the bees were artificially fed with sugar solution. Or the honey might be adulterated with sugar. The tests revealed that Shreejee with 9.1 and Indian with 11.4 were well over the limit. Madhur at 13.1 per cent showed the highest sucrose content. Such high levels showed adulteration. Dabur had the lowest sucrose content with 1.1 per cent.

Two loose samples taken from Ahmedabad showed that commercial invert sugar was used to adulterate them. CERC recommends that it is safer to buy branded honey. But here too, the problem was that many brands had a large amount of hydroxy methyl furfural (HMF) showing a poor quality.

Amruth (82) Baidyanath (191), Brij (145), KVIC Cochin (240) Madh Sagar (138) Pushp (148) and Shreejee (93) revealed poor quality. But even worse were Himalayan (396) KVIC Mumbai (311) and Madhur (316). Madhur also had a high sucrose content. Hyness (29 mg) showed the least HMF per kg, followed by Mehsons (40) and Dabur (48). This indicates good quality, says CERC.

The acidity test tells us when honey is spoilt due to fermentation. L2 (0.3 per cent) did not conform to the requirements in India of 0.2. With a low fructose-glucose ratio, honey forms granules or crystals faster instead of retaining its fluidity. Madhur failed in this respect.

The tested samples of honey gave energy in the range of 284 to 315 kilocalories per 100 gm of honey.

Honey gives energy. The samples tested gave energy in the range of 284 to 315 kilocalories per 100 gm of honey. The same quantity of milk would give you 117 and ripe mango 74 according to the Nutritive Value of Indian Foods published by the National Institute of Nutrition.

Three brands, namely, WBBKA, Madhur and Samskrithamadhu did not have the ‘best before’ date. Agmark brands, Dhanvantari and Himalayan did not mention the grade of honey on the label.

Again, Dabar scored the highest in flavour and after-taste! Mehsons was the best in clarity, followed by Dabur. In the overall sensory score, Dabur scored the highest, with 82, followed by Mehsons (81) and Baidyanath (78).

In England, honey mixed with cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for rheumatism and arthritis. In a study at a Nigerian teaching hospital, total application of unprocessed honey brought 'remarkable improvement' to 58 of 59 patients with wounds and ulcers that hadn't responded to more conventional treatment.

Honey really can speed healing of open wounds, say scientists.

Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that to be safe, you should never give honey to children under one year old. Researchers at the University of Natal in South Africa found that when children with diarrhoea caused by a bacterial infection were given a honey solution, they got better in almost half the time of those who were given a traditional sugar solution.

Honey may work against constipation as well. It can help speed wound healing, ease ulcer pain and relieve constipation and diarrhoea, says Prevention Health Books.

Try out your own home made citrus honey.

For more information on the CERC tests read Insight, The Consumer Magazine, November-December 2003. CERC’s address is given in the Q & A column.


How to make citrus honey: one strip one inch into half inch, orange rind, one strip lemon rind, one tablespoon fresh orange juice, two teaspoons fresh lemon juice and one cup honey.

In a small saucepan combine the orange rind, lemon rind, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve; discard the rinds. In a separate pan, heat the honey until just warm. Stir the juice into the warmed honey and serve immediately.

Makes one cup. Citrus Honey can be stored in a capped jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving over pancakes, waffles or French toast etc.

1 comment:

  1. This is a Great Information to me, thank.
    honey is a good medicine


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