Honey is one of the five ingredients of panchamrit (mixture of milk, curd, honey, ghee and sugar). Honey is frequently used as a talisman and symbol of sweetness. The sweetness of honey reminds us to be nice and sweet to others in our speech, thoughts and actions. It is rich with many minerals and supplements which are important for our nourishment. In temples, honey is poured over the deities in a ritual called Madhu abhisheka.
The Vedas and other ancient literature mention the use of honey as a great medicinal and health food. Honey has many practical health uses. It is used as an ointment for rashes and burns, and to help soothe sore throat. In Ayurveda, a 4000-year-old treatise on medicine originating from India, honey is considered to positively affect all three primitive material imbalances of the body. Its effect on doshas (imbalances) is that it aggravates vata (air / moving forces), scrapes kapha (mucus / holding forces) and normalizes pitta (catabolic fire) and rakta (blood). It promotes the healing process.
Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from domesticated beehives. Wild bee nests are sometimes located by following a honeyguide bird. Collecting honey is typically achieved by using smoke from a bee smoker to pacify the bees; this causes the bees to attempt to save the resources of the hive from a possible forest fire, and makes them far less aggressive. The honeycomb is removed from the hive and the honey is extracted from that, often using a honey extractor. The honey is then filtered.
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