Honey, the best known natural source of bio-energy, it is a very complex product.
“Honey is a sweet viscid material elaborated out of the nectar of flowers in the honey sac of various bees”.
This usual definition is lacking in precision because:
- honey is elaborated not only out of the nectar of flowers, but also out of the sap (“juice”) which occurs on the living parts of certain trees (leaves, bark);
- the honey’s ripening takes place not only in the “honey sac of various bees”, but also in
- their honeycombs, through complex physico-chemical mechanisms (evaporation);
- through a special very interesting mechanism called “tropholaxy“, which is a kind of “kiss” between all bees who participates to the honey’s ripening; tropholaxy means more exactly the transfer of tiny drops of nectar or non-ripened honey (having too much water) from one bee to another; through these transfers, the nectar looses “step by step”, or “kiss by kiss” if you want, its high content of water.
Honey has different vegetal (floral) and animal (aphides) origins. One can classify honey, according to these different origins, simply as:
- nectar (floral) honey and
- trees and/or aphides related honey (honeydew honey).
According to the floral origin of honey, we have theoretically hundreds of different types of honey:
- lavender honey; thyme honey;
- lime honey; acacia honey;
- peppermint honey; heather honey;
- clover, coriander, fennel honeys etc., etc., etc.
According to the method of extraction, the beekeepers distinguishes several types of honey:
- comb honey (honey sold together with its container, the waxy honeycomb); it is the best type of honey to be used for mouth and digestive organs diseases;
- usual honey combined with pieces of comb honey; it can be used internally but also externally in different diseases;
- dripping honey (French: miel égoutté); a special type of bio-processed honey obtained by using the gravitational forces; the beekeeper just opens the honeycomb and lets the honey flow slowly downwards, without using any other physical “forces”; this type of honey has a minimum amount of air inside, thus being better protected against oxidative reactions;
- extracted honey; honey obtained by spinning the uncapped honeycombs; this is the most usual method found in beekeeping, especially among the large beekeepers who have not time to use other “slower” methods;
- pressed honey; honey which is obtained by “squeezing” the honeycombs, with or without use of heating; from our point of view, as apitherapists, of course that “cold pressed honey” is much better than “warm pressed” one.