Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honeybees and some other bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants or from secretions of other insects, by regurgitation, enzymatic activity, and water evaporation. Honeybees store honey in wax structures called honeycombs, whereas stingless bees store honey in pots made of wax and resin. The variety of honey produced by honeybees is the best-known, due to its worldwide commercial production and human consumption. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, a practice known as beekeeping or apiculture.
Honey and humans have a history stretching back before domesticated animals, baked goods, or farms. The humans to first encounter honey over 10,000 years ago would have found it inside of a wild bee’s nest and, for some reason, decided to taste the sweet spoils.
In a time when fruit was the sweetest thing they had ever tasted, honey seemed like a revelation from the gods. In the earliest centuries, nearly every culture had a myth explaining the immortal sweetness of honey.
For thousands of years, the only foolproof method of gathering honey was to find a wild hive — the locations of which were fiercely guarded. The first “domesticated” beehive likely traces back to the Egyptians. The earliest apiarists made hives from old logs or tree trunks to mimic the homes of wild swarms.FOOD52, 2022
Honey has long been used for medicinal purposes. Due to its anti-bacterial properties, honey has been used for a variety of ills including cuts, burns, infections, stomach ulcers, and more. Honey is the only known food that has all the ingredients needed to keep you alive. It contains water, vitamins, minerals, and necessary enzymes to give the body energy. Pinocembrin, an antioxidant is also found in honey and is effective at improving the functioning of the human brain. Honey also has antioxidant levels similar to that of apples, spinach, strawberries, and oranges.
In addition to the many medicinal purposes, honey can serve, it is also a very popular ingredient in natural home remedies. Honey is often used in personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. It is also a popular natural remedy for soothing sore throats and quieting coughs, with some loyalists believing honey works better than any over-the-counter medication.