Years ago the Egyptian tombs were opened for the first time in thousands of years and, to their surprise, the explorers found pots of honey.  This honey had gone candish but still was totally perfect to eat.  So why is honey able to last so long while other foods do not?

The answer to this question is twofold; firstly the chemical composition of honey is different sugars. Sugars are hygroscopic which, in a nut shell, means they contain very little water in their natural state and they want water so they suck in any available moisture around them.  Honey has very low moisture content and in this environment most bacteria will not survive.  Honey has a pH of around 3-4.5 so this high acidic environment will also kill off any bacteria.

 

Now these beautiful little girls do another wonderful thing to the nectar.  Besides bringing down the moisture level by fanning the nectar in the cells, it’s when the nectar enters the bees stomach a major thing occurs. Bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose oxidase when the bees regurgitate the nectar from their mouths into the combs to make honey; this enzyme mixes with the nectar, breaking it down into two by-products: gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide.

No wonder why honey has been used over thousands of years in medicine.  Honey kills any kind of bacterial fungal growth and contains hydrogen peroxide; it creates the perfect barrier against infection for wounds. The ancient Egyptians used medicinal honey regularly, making ointments to treat skin and eye diseases. Honey was used to cover a wound or a burn or a slash. Secondly, due to honey wanting moisture it will draw any out of the wound, which is another way a wound could get infected. Finally, the amount of hydrogen peroxide that comes off of honey is exactly what humans need to promote healing.