Honey cures, preserves — but did you know some types kill?

Honey has been an integral part of human lives since ancient times, as food and as medicine. Amla (Nellikai, gooseberry), ginger and berries are preserved in honey

Honey in its raw form naturally has antibacterial effects against E-Coli, Clostridium, Salmonella and other pathogens

It also has oligosaccharides such as raffinose and trehalose — prebiotics for gut microflora, and is used in treating diarrhoea along with pomegranate peel powder

The antioxidant properties of honey get rid of free radicals in our bodies and protect us. Polyphenols in flowers give honey its antioxidant nature

Honey is a good antiseptic for external wounds and is used to heal burns. The healing property of honey comes from the hydrogen peroxide it contains

It also acts as cough suppressant more effectively than commercially available cough syrup, and also improves the sleep of children with respiratory problems

In ancient days, honey was one of the foods carried along by travellers to give them energy. It is the equivalent of rocket fuel for a walker

As in life, honey had a role even in the rituals of death. It is said that the body of Alexander the Great was immersed in a vat of honey to preserve it

This was done to prevent its decay during the journey when the body was being taken from Babylon, where Alexander died, to his country Macedonia

Another interesting fact about honey that is not commonly known is that bees can make honey from the nectar of flowering plants that are toxic to humans as well

Honey thus produced is poisonous for human consumption, although it does not affect the bees themselves

Scientific papers say honey from Andromeda flowers have grayanotoxins that can cause paralysis, even death. It was used during war to poison the enemy’s food

Honey from the nectar of Ericaceae plants as well when consumed leads to vomiting, convulsions, loss of consciousness and so on

In modern times, honey could also be poisonous because of the pesticides used on plants from whose flowers honey bees extract nectar

Besides, infants below 12 months of age should never be fed honey. It may contain botulinum neurotoxin that causes death. But it’s safe for everyone over 1 year of age