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Honey is the purest form of food known to man. It is produced by bees from nectar collection and stored in honey comb. Honey is produced and collected through beekeeping. Beekeeping is the occupation of owning and breeding of bees for their honey. It is also called apiculture. Breeding of bees and collecting honey an age-old Indian tradition, especially in the rural areas.
The flower nectar collected by the bees are the major ingredient for the flavour and colour of honey. Honey is light in colour when it is collected from orange flower and dark amber colour honey is seen from avocado or other wild blossom nectar.
Honey bee farming is increasingly becoming popular because of domestic and global demand. Bees collect nectar from blossoms and store in 'honeycomb', which is hexagonal cells made with wax. Basically there are three castes which exists in bees colonies, queen, who produce eggs, workers and drones.
Honey bees also produce beeswax which is more valuable, used in candle, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. Bee venom is used as a treatment for arthritis, rheumatic and pains. This treatment is called Apitherapy.
Rapeseed / Mustard Honey, Eucalyptus Honey, Lychee Honey, Sunflower Honey, Karanj / Pongamea Honey, Multi-flora Himalayan Honey, Acacia Honey, Wild Flora Honey, Multi and Mono floral Honey are some of the major varieties of natural honey in India.
Honey is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fat, protein, and carbohydrates etc.
Honey is used as a substitute for sugar in many foods and drinks. It helps in digesting the fat stored in body and reduce weight. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties; and so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines. Honey helps maintain blood sugar levels, creating smooth and beautiful skin, regulates insulin in body. It is effective in removing free radicals from body and it helps heal wounds.
Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Maharashtra are the major honey producing states in India.
The best honey and largest honey producing country in the world is Turkey. South Africa, USA, Spain, Russia, Mexico, India, Ethiopia, China and Pakistan are the other producing countries.
China, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, India, Vietnam, Spain, Ukraine and Belgium are the top exporting countries in the world.
United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Netherlands are the major honey importing countries.
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