HONEY, a sweet sticky liquid obtained 175 bees and other insects from flowers (see HON ET-BEE ; and FLOWERS AND INSECTS) as food, or taken home to be stored as food for the young. The care with which the honey-bee (q.v.) col lects and stores this substance in its hive has led to bee-culture (q.v.). Honey is highly nu tritive, especially as a fuel for the energies of the body, as four-fifths of its components are carbohydrates, the remainder being water with a trifle of protein. The saccharine elements are mainly grape-sugar and some fruit-sugar, which are so readily affected by yeast that various fermented drinks are made with honey as their basis, of which the best known are the mead and metheglin in great demand among all Teu tonic peoples a thousand years ago, and the equivalents of which are still made in Russia, Abyssinia and elsewhere. Before the general manufacture and use of cane-sugar, honey was largely depended upon for purposes of sweet ening, and was put into a great number of cakes and confections now rare or only locally manu factured. Of the place which it took among the ancients in the household, in ceremonials, worship and for lore a large amount of curi ous information may be gathered from such books as Beckman's 'History of Invention> (1846) ; Dutt's 'Materia Medica of the Hin doos' (1877), and similar works, of which lists may be found in Warring's Bibliography of Therapeutics' (1868), and in the (Catalogue of the United States Army. Medical Museum.' The importance of honey was, indeed, much greater to the ancients than to us; as might be inferred from its frequent mention in the Bible as a sign of abundance or the resource of the desti• tute. It has well-recognized medicinal proper-1 ties, especially as a demulcent against hoarse ness, catarrh, etc., in promoting expectoration m disorders of the breast and as an ingredient in cooling and detergent gargles. Its effect is usu ally laxative also. It is used to sweeten cer• min medicines; and is sometimes mixed with vinegar in the proportion of two pounds of clarified honey to one pint of the acetic acid, boiled down to a proper consistence over a slow fire, and thus forms the oxymel simple of the shops. It enters into the composition of vari ous sweetmeats, as in the East, such as the gen uine Oriental nougat. Its use in confections in the United States was considerably increased as a result of sugar shortage in 1917 and 1918 and the importation has become a considerable business. The properties and the flavor and color of honey vary with the qualities of the flowers from which it is made. Thus in Eu rope the white Narbonne honey of France is said to owe its peculiar and delicious flavor to the rosemary and other labiate flowers on which the bees feed. The Grecian honey also
stands in high estimation. Afount Hymettus in Attica has been famous since classic times for this product ; but that yielded by the bees who range the thyme-covered hills of Corinth is said to excel it. Another famous ancient source of supply was Sicily, especially about Mount Hybla ; and Corsica is yet celebrated for its honey and wax, which in ancient times were the chief exports of that island. In the eastern United States the early light-colored honey ob tained from the blossoms of the white clover is especially esteemed; also that derived from raspberry plantations, bass-wood flowers and the like; while that made later in the summer from buckwheat is in favor among darker va rieties. California is an extensive producer of honey from various flowers.
As the aromatic agreeable flavors and health ful qualities of special flowers (fortunately in the majority) are kept and apparent in ordinary good honey, so certain bad qualities are re tained and spoil some honey, which thereby becomes deleterious to the human system, acting as a nauseant, a purgative, affecting the nerve centres or even seriously poisoning those who i eat it. This is the case in the United States with honey made from the flowers of the moun tain laurel (Kalmia) and some other toxic plants. Some persons are unable to eat any kind of honey, without disarrangement of the digestion or nerves, or both; and all should use it in moderation.
The industry of bee-keeping is for the pur pose of supplying the market demand for honey. Modern hives are so constructed that the bees build separate combs each filling a box with glass sides. which are taken out and sent to market as the bees finish them. Another method of marketing is in the form of "strained" honey, the liquid pressed from the comb after warming, through sieves of linen cloth, or by other means. There is no reason why this should not be as good as that left in the comb, if properly prepared and preserved, and it permits of saving the material of the combs for wax (q.v.) ; but it makes possible adulteration, which is freely taken advantage of. The chief adulterant is commercial glucose, which occasionally is substituted to the extent of three-fourths of the volume, leaving only enough real honey to flavor the mass. As glu cose (grape-sugar) is a large constituent of this substance in nature no great harm results (when the glucose is good), beyond the decep tion; and wholly artificial honey has been largely sold in the past as the product of bees. Consult Simmins, 'A Modern Bee Farm); Bee Keepers' Record. See Bees.