Does Honey Become Poison When Heated?
Yes, honey when heated is seen as a poison in Ayurveda. Not the kind of poison that could kill you instantly like a cobra bite, but one that will build up toxic residue in your system leading to imbalance and eventually disease. There can be a fine line between poison and nectar in Ayurveda. Mercury, for instance, is a deeply toxic substance, and yet, when properly purified, it can act as the most profound medicine. Similarly, honey, is one of the great nectars, but when heated, its chemical composition changes.
What happens to the honey when it is heated?
The heating firstly gets rid of its nutrients and medicinal properties, and the change in composition makes it sticky and essentially indigestible, it becomes a glue-like substance which can mesh itself to the channels of the body. Modern science explains that heating of honey creates a browning effect, leading to the production HMF (5-hydroxymethylfurfural), a toxic substance that can line channels of the skin, mucuous membranes, lungs and gut.
What does a poison like honey do to you?
One of the fundamental tenets of Ayurveda is that we need to keep all the channels clear and free from intra-channel build up of toxicity (known as ama). This is why we are so obsessed with digestion in Ayurveda: we need to make sure you are actually evacuating everything you don’t need and are not causing systemic build-up. This is also why we are not up for mixing certain food stuffs (e.g. fish and dairy), as certain incompatible food stuffs cannot be processed properly by the stomach and gut.
Ama as a root cause of a lot of dis-ease
Undigested waste materials are called ama in Ayurveda. And ama is the root cause of much disease. Ama is a toxic, sticky sludge-like material that lines the channels both subtle and gross (i.e. could be arteries and veins, the GI tract, or even those of the nervous system). When there is build up in the channels, blockages can occur, information is not passing through their membranes and nor are nutrients. This ama can also cause tissues to be formed incorrectly, as they begin to be made with the sludge as their make-up rather than nutritious, vital, circulating fluids. Let me know if you want to know more...
By Selina Van Orden
Selina Van Orden is an Ayurvedic doctor living and working in the UK