Friday, March 27, 2009

Healing Properties of Honey Mentioned in the Quran

Consider the Bees...
Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), 26 March - 1 April 2009, Issue No. 940

One day five-year-old Shahd asked her mother what the meaning of her name was. "It means the purest kind of honey," her mother replied. Shahd didn't understand. "But bees sting!" she exclaimed. "Bees are the source of that marvellous honey I keep telling you about," her mother said. And not only that: honey is also a term of endearment, and bees are mentioned in almost all the holy books and are cited as an example of organisation and team work the world over.

The Quran, for example, has the following to say about bees in Surat Al-Nahl : "And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; (68) Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth [for thee]. There cometh forth from their bellies a drink divers of hues, wherein is healing for mankind. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect; (69) And Allah createth you, then causeth you to die, and among you is he who is brought back to the most abject stage of life, so that he knoweth nothing after [having had] knowledge (70)."

Aside from their place in religious texts, according to Mahmoud Nour, professor of apiculture at Cairo University's Faculty of Agriculture, even bees' stings can be valuable. Although bee honey is the product humans most obviously prize, when used therapeutically bee stings can also have human uses, notably in treating certain kinds of immune conditions. Many people associate bees only with honey, Nour told Al-Ahram Weekly, but there are many other benefits, such as royal jelly, well-known for its medical uses and vital for the body, and propolis, a natural antibiotic and antiviral product…

How should honey be kept, in order that it can retain all its goodness and optimum quality?

Nour replies methodically by enumerating four main points: "first, honey should always be kept in a dark jar because putting honey in transparent packs affects its antibiotic characteristics," he says.

"Second, granulated honey should not be placed in hot water because this can result in the formation of harmful chemicals known as hydroxyl methylfurfurals (HMF), and these, if they exceed certain limits, can make honey unsuitable for human consumption. Third, honey should not be stored for long periods at high temperatures because this destroys the enzymes that are important for the human body; and finally, a spoonful of honey every day can increase the body's natural immunity," Nour says.

No comments: