Honey is one among the commonest adjuvant used in Ayurveda to administer medicines. It is known by different names like madhu, kshoudra and makshika. Ayurvedic science has very well studied and exploited the health benefits of honey for a healthy living.
Honey mainly contains sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose and maltose), water and minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium.

Properties of Honey in Ayurveda

Honey has a predominantly sweet taste and an astringent secondary taste. It is heavy and causes dryness. It is hot in potency and becomes pungent at the end of digestion. It reduces the kapha dosha in the body.

Health Benefits of Honey

  • Enhances wound healing. Apply honey to burns, mouth, stomach ulcers and sore throat.It contains hydrogen peroxide which prevents bacterial infection and acts as a natural bandage.
  • In mouth ulcers, mix honey with yashtimadhu churna and apply on the affected area.
  • To reduce your body weight, mix 2 tsp of honey in boiled and cooled water. Drink it on an empty stomach daily.
  • Honey is a natural antioxidant, you can use it as an ingredient in your face pack to get a healthy and glowing skin. Internally, you can take 2 tsp of honey and 1 tsp of lemon juice in a glass of water to improve your skin health.
  • Antioxidant property of honey helps in prevention of cancer and reduces the side effects of chemo/ radiation therapy. 
  • In case of cough and cold, you can take honey with Sitopaladi churna  or  tulsi powder

Clinical Research of Honey as a remedy for cough

A research study was conducted by Cohen and colleagues, in Israel, with children from six community clinics during 2009.  Total 300 children took part in the study. The research revealed that honey extracts improved the cough symptoms very significantly. Cohen and colleagues concluded that honey given at bedtime was more effective than placebo in reducing the frequency and severity of a nighttime cough.

Honey as an adjuvant for ayurvedic medicines

Honey acts a perfect vehicle for carrying the medicines to appropriate sites due to its property. It is described as a sookshma margaanusari which means it can penetrate even to the smallest channels of the body. Honey also acts as a catalyst thus improving the effect of the medicine with which it is taken. Honey acts well in diseases of kapha or fat origins like obesity, respiratory diseases, diarrhea, vomitting, and worms.

Can honey be cooked?

The mouthwatering dish Honey chili potatoes are an absolute NO NO! And so is the weight loss drink with warm water and honey. Honey should never be heated. Heating of honey turns it into a poisonous substance.Since honey is obtained from various flower having different potencies, tastes, and properties, it should never be heated. If honey is heated, it becomes fatal.

Can people with diabetes take honey?

The health benefits of honey serve the diabetics as well. If the diabetes is well under control and if the patient is taking sugar in the form of tea or coffee, then such a person can use 3 – 5 grams of honey per day. It serves good amounts of antioxidants, useful to fight minor infections, and hence very useful in diabetes.

If the blood sugar is not under control and if the person is not advised to take any sugar at all, then it is best to avoid sugar.Honey is an excellent wound healer. External application of honey to the feet helps to keep away diabetic foot ulcer.  

Precautions while taking honey

  1. Honey, in general, is the aggravator of Vata, heavy, cold in potency and detoxifies the blood, Pitta as well as Kapha. It promotes healing and depletion.
  2. Warm honey or honey taken by an individual suffering from excessive heat and burning sensation is fatal.
  3. Honey should be taken in small quantity because it is heavy, unctuous, astringent in taste and cold in potency.
  4. Nothing is so troublesome as indigestion (Ama) caused by the improper intake of honey.  Ama produced by the improper intake of honey causes instantaneous death like poison.
  5. Avoid taking honey in hot climate or if you are working in hot environment.
  6. Honey and ghee should not be mixed in equal quantity and taken internally.
  7. Radish enhances the toxic effects of honey.
  8. Honey should not be mixed with excess hot water or hot milk.
  9. Honey should not be taken with meat and fish

The recommended dose of honey:

Ayurveda recommends usage of upto 4 -5 teaspoons of honey, per day. This is the maximum limit per day, for an adult. So take care the next time when you add loads of honey to your salads and smoothies.

Purana-madhu:

The honey which is one year old or more than that is considered as Purana Madhu. The health benefits of honey increase manifold when it is old. Old honey is (Grahi) absorbent, useful in diarrhea, IBS; has scraping property, useful in balancing Kapha, in respiratory disorders and in cholesterol/clot deposition in blood vessels It is (rooksha) dry and has a predominant astringent taste.It balances all the three Doshas, mainly Kapha and cures obesity, atherosclerosis, and tumor.
If honey is stored in a well-sealed bottle in a dry place it will never expire.

How to check the purity of honey?

  1. Pure honey is not the sweetest. Isn’t shocking? Pure honey has an astringent taste in it which a fizzy tinge in the mouth even after consumption.
  2. Ants and other creatures do not fancy pure honey.
  3. Pure honey, when dropped into a glass of water, does not dissolves. Rather, it tends to sink to the bottom as threads.
  4. Pure honey crystallizes with time. It is a supersaturated solution that tends to form as crystals.