Pharmacognosy Specialist Assoc. Prof. stated that fake and real honey are so similar that they cannot be distinguished. Dr. Etil Güzelmeriç said, “That’s why you can’t tell the difference by looking or smelling,” and explained the only way to detect the naturalness of honey.
One of the most important problems encountered in the food industry in Turkey is fake foods. One of these is honey… While consumers have difficulty distinguishing between fake and real honey, experts state that natural honey cannot be recognized by its appearance or smell. Pharmacognosy Specialist Assoc. Dr. Etil Güzelmeriç touched upon the curious points about this food. Here are their explanations:
The use of honey for health dates back to ancient times. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, recommended oxymel (a mixture of vinegar and honey) for pain, hydromel (a mixture of water and honey) for thirst, and a mixture of honey, water and various herbs to reduce fever caused by some diseases. Scientific studies conducted to date have revealed many effects of honey, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and healing of wounds and burns. World The Health Organization reported that honey can be used in the treatment of cough and cold. The antimicrobial effect of honey comes from various properties that honey has. For example, considering that water is a basic requirement for all living things, an environment with low water content, such as honey, will not be suitable for the life of microorganisms. The acidity value of honey (pH 3.5-5.5) is also not suitable for the growth of many microorganisms. Phenolic components found in honey also have an antimicrobial effect.
WHY SHOULD IT NOT BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN UNDER 1 YEAR OLD?
In a study, it was reported that honey (2.5 mL) given to children (2-5 years old) with cough due to upper respiratory tract infection before going to bed at night had a healing effect by reducing the frequency and severity of cough. Of course, the thing to consider here is the age of the child. Honey is not given to children under 1 year of age. Because Clostridium botulinum bacteria may be found in honey and can settle more easily in the newly developing intestinal flora of babies compared to adults. Botulinum neurotoxins produced by this bacterium cause food poisoning known as “infant botulism”.
BEWARE OF THE CRAZY HONEY DANGER!
As a result of bees taking nectar from rhododendrons (Rhododendron L.), some compounds (grayanotoxins) coming from this plant can be detected in honey. These honeys are also called “crazy honey” because health-threatening symptoms occur with the consumption of honey containing these compounds. The most common symptoms are low blood pressure and slow heart rhythm. In our country, rhododendrons can be found primarily in the Black Sea Region and also in the Marmara Region.
ADDITIVES AND IMITATIONS MAY HARM YOUR HEALTH
While looking for healing in honey, you may come across adulterated or imitation honey. Adding corn or rice syrup to honey to increase the amount of honey, adding pollen, coloring agents and aroma to sugar syrups without even needing bees and imitating honey can be examples of these honeys. On the other hand, the prejudice that “crystallized honey is fake honey” should be clarified. Honey by nature can crystallize, this is a normal process. On the other hand, fructose in honey can turn into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) due to heat applied to honey or keeping honey in inappropriate storage conditions for a long time. 5-HMF may adversely affect health when taken into the body for a long time and in high amounts. According to the Turkish Food Codex Honey Communiqué, the amount of 5-HMF in both secretion and flower honey should not exceed 40 mg/kg. In a study conducted in this direction, when honey, which initially contained 2.2 mg/kg 5-HMF, was heated at 100°C for 1 hour, 48 mg/kg 5-HMF was detected. Maybe the honey we add while drinking tea or milk may come to mind. In daily life, when we add honey to tea or milk at a temperature that is drinkable, and when we include the drinking time, you can guess that this transformation may not happen immediately. Of course, you should not overlook the quality of the honey you use.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Due to the rapidly increasing world population, agricultural activities are increasing and therefore the use of pesticides has become inevitable. Again, it is aimed to increase honey production in order to meet the needs, and the diseases transmitted to bee larvae and pupae are tried to be eliminated with veterinary drugs, although it is prohibited. I regret to state that this situation appears as residues of pesticides, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs in honey. So, how do we understand whether honey contains all these parameters that may negatively affect our health? We cannot understand the quality or naturalness of honey by looking at its taste, color and consistency. There is only one way to determine whether it is natural or not, and that is detailed “analysis”. All tests to be performed on honey must be carried out in accredited analysis laboratories.