Honey as a Healer
Dr. Ahmed Sakr
“And Your Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations; then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and follow the ways of Your Lord made smooth: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors wherein is healing for people: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought. It is God Who creates you and takes your souls at death; and of you there are some who are sent to a feeble age, so that they know nothing after having known (much): For God is All-Knowing, All Powerful.” (16:68-70)
These three verses from the Chapter of “The Bees” reflect on one of the most miraculous foods that God has created for mankind. It has been reported that the Prophet Mohammed said: “Heal yourselves with honey and the Quran.” Ibn Abbas, a companion of the Prophet, too, reported God’s Messenger as saying: “There is a remedy in three things: the incision of a cupping-glass, a drink of honey, a cauterization by fire, but I forbid my people to cauterize.” (Transmitted by Bukhari)
Besides being a food mentioned in the Quran, what makes honey so popular? Due to its high sugar content (about 77%), honey has high caloric value and is primarily an energy food. It has simple sugars that are quickly absorbed, and serve as a readily available source of fuel for muscular and other activities. This makes honey a choice food amongst athletes, deep sea divers, mountain climbers and in professions requiring quick replenishments of sugars that are depleted due to exhausting activity. Further fructose, a major sugar in honey, when administered intravenously is utilized better by diabetic patients, than glucose.
The Frauenfelder Home, in the Canton of St. Gallen, Switzerland is famous for its honey and milk cures. Weak and sick children are brought there from all parts of the world to recuperate and gain health. Dr. P.E. Wessen, of the Frauenfelder sanitarium experimented in feeding honey to three groups of patients: the first group received normal food; the second group, normal food with honey; and the third group, normal food with tonics and medicaments. The group fed with honey far excelled the other two groups, both in looks and in strength.
Dr. Paula Emrich in a study involving one-hundred children found that those who were on diets containing honey gained 12% in hemoglobin content after six weeks. Dr. Rolleder’s experiments in an Austrian orphanage showed a hemoglobin increase of 8.5%.
Honey is used as a carrier for a considerable number of drugs since it is believed to facilitate absorption of the latter. Clinical experiences and physiological experiments have indicated that honey not only has anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties, it has components that benefit the heart muscle. Hence the suggestion that honey be consumed by the elderly, and especially in situations where the work of the heart is increased, as in the case of athletes and those undertaking heavy physical work.
Besides its commonly known form, honey is also available as a powder. While honey itself does not require halal certification, powdered honey which is used as a food processing ingredient, does because it has other ingredients added to it.
IFANCA certifies the following companies for their powdered honey: Amtech Ingredients LLC, Complementos Alimenticios Mexico, Specialty Products Technology.