The Value and Types of Yemeni Honey [Archives:2000/17/Last Page]

April 24 2000

Honey is a tasty pleasant-smelling sticky syrup with many advantages. It has a tonic quality to the human body and cures diseases. The religion of Islam has given special interest in honey and its advantages for curing many kinds of diseases. Prophet Mohammed said: “Seek cure from honey and Qur’an”. So, honey was made next to the Qur’an in curing diseases. There is even one Chapter in the Qur’an named “Al-Nahl” meaning bees. Moreover, in another Hadith, Prophet Mohammed said: “He who has a spoonful of (honey) in the morning, three times a month, shall catch have no serious disease”. Eating honey three times a month could safeguard you against so many diseases and strengthen your immunity system. It is said that the Pophet was used to have honey diluted with water the first thing in the morning.
Types of Honey
There are two major types of honey:
a) Flowers’ honey: which is dependent on flower nectar sucked by bees , and this is divided into two main categories:
1- Mono-flower honey: produced the nectar of one type of flowers
2- Multi-flower honey: produced from the nectar of more than one type of flowers.
b) Stone honey: This honey is produced by undomesticated bees that live among stones. It has a great taste and a pleasant smell.
Some people believe that light-colored honey is the best whereas many others believe that the dark-colored honey is of better quality because it contains more mineral salts like iron, magnesium and copper. As in regard to its odor, some types of honey bear good smell while other types, which are extracted from certain trees, have unpleasant odor.
Component elements of Honey
Honey is composed of sugar, water, vitamins, mineral salts along with some proteins, enzymes, yeasts and other substances- 18% water, 40% fructose, 34% glucose, 4% sucrose and maltose and many other types of sugar. Sugar is thus the main ingredient of honey, constituting about 75% to 80% of it. Therefore honey tastes sweeter than sugar and nevertheless it is good for treating diabetes and good for liver. In addition, honey is used to cure peptic and intestines ulcer, digestion problems, eyes diseases, sinusitis, flu and the inflammation of the urinary canal.
Yemen possesses many of the best kinds of honey. The most famous ones are: “Al-Dawa’ani” that is found in Dawa’an, Hadramout, “Al-Jardani” in Shabwa, “Al-Jawahi” in Awash, Dhamar and there are also some good kinds of honey found in Al-Kibbayta, Al-Dimna, and Maweyah in Taiz.
“Al-Dawa’ani” is the most expensive kind of honey in Yemen and the best in quality. Honey has become one of the most precious gifts that are presented to Sheiks, ministers or well known social personalities. Therefore, many people prefer buying Yemeni honey to low-quality foreign honey which is usually mixed with water.
The Yemen Times has interviewed Mr. Abdullah Hassan Ahmed Al-Shara’abi, Technical Manager of the Apiculture Development Project, who has told us about the types of Yemeni honey, their properties, where are they found and which are the best one’s: “Apiculture is one of the very ancient jobs in the history of Yemen. The history of honey goes back to the 10th century B.C. Then, Yemen was known as the nation of perfume and honey and honey trade was ranked 4th in importance to the country’s economy.
Al-Elb “Al-Sededi” honey is the best quality honey because of its preferable qualities to consumers. Therefore, apiarists compete to satisfy consumers inside and outside the country by producing better quality honey. As for the different kinds of Yemeni honey, our country has many different kinds that vary as the available farms in each district vary. Some of the finest kinds of honey is Al-Elb “Al-Sededi” (Ziziphus spina chisti), Al- Silm (A cacia ehrenbergiana), Al-Asak (A cacia asak), Al-Sal (Eiaphorbia), Al-Dobbah (A cacia menthfera), Al-Sommor (A cacia mellifera), Al-Mara’aee and Al-Tonb (cordia abbess).
Al-Elb, the finest type of Yemeni honey, has many local names according the district for example Dawa’ani, Bogiah, Osabi, Dimna and many others. Other types are found in different area of the country: Dimna (Taiz, Hadramout, Shabwa, Tihama, Osab, Ibb and Abyan), Al-Silm (Al-Zaydiah, Tihama and Shabwa), Al-Asak (Taiz, Ibb, Hajja, Al-Mahweet, Sana’a and Lahj), Al-Sommor (Hadramout, Shabwa, Tihama and Abyan), Al-Dobbah (Taiz, Tihama, Al-Mahweet, Hajja and Lahj) and Al-Mara’aee which is found in summer in all the districts.
The Yemeni honey has special properties in comparison with other Arab and foreign kinds. It has different taste, odor, color and density. For example, Al-Elb honey has a golden coloured, with an aroma and flavour like that of the Elb flower and a thickness property unique to this kind of honey.
Each kind of honey has its different season. For instance, Al-Elb is available in (August, September, October and November), Al-Silm in (January and February), Al-Dobbah (January and February), Al-Asak (May and July), Al-Sal (January and February), Al-Sommor (January, February and March) and Al-Mara’aee (July, August and September).
The Yemeni environment is fit for these kinds of honey to be stored and kept for long periods of time, sometimes reaches 2 years if the honey was appropriately separated and stored.