Honey : Source Production, Chemical Constituents, Chemical Tests, Uses and Adulterants

Source, Method of Production, Chemical Constituents, Chemical Tests, Uses and Adulterants of  Honey


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to:

• Discuss the pharmacognostical aspects of

- Honey


Synonym: Mel, Madhu, Honey purified

Source: Sugary secretion deposited in the honey combs by the bees Apis mellifera, Apis dorsata and other species of Apis

Family: Apidae


• Nectar (25% sucrose, 75 % water)

• Invertase

• Smoked

• Centrifugation

• Natural draining

• Apply pressure

• Heated to 80oC

• Rapidly cooled


• Colour: Pale yellow to yellowish brown

• Odour: Pleasant and characteristic

• Taste: Sweet and faintly acrid

Chemical constituents

• 70-80% of invert sugar, mixture of dextrose and levulose

• Glucose, fructose, sucrose

• Acids - formic acid, acetic acid, succinic acid

• Enzymes - Invertase, diastase, inulase

• Vitamins, proteins, pollen grains

Chemical tests

• 1 ml of honey + 4 ml of alcohol, some more honey:

- At 4 ml the solution is clear, upon addition of honey, the solution does not becomes turbid. (Turbidity shows the presence of dextrin and added glucose)

• Fiehe’s test


•    Demulcent

•    Sweetening agent

•    Antiseptic for burns and wounds

•    Preparation of creams, lotions, soft drinks and candies

•    Vehicle for ayurvedic preparations

Substitutes and adulterants

• Artificial invert sugar

• Sucrose

• Commercial glucose

• Liquid glucose

• Adulterants normally contain large amounts of furfural derivatives - Fiehe’s test

- Honey - extracted with ether, ethereal layer - separated, dried

- To the residue 1% resorcinol in hydrochloric acid is added

- Faint pink colour - natural

- Persistent deep cherry red / pink colour – adulterated


• Honey is the sugary secretion from the honey comb with invert sugar content

• Adulterant in honey can be identified by Fiehes test 

Post a Comment