Mead is a traditional alcoholic beverage also known as honey wine. It is consumed especially for its sweet taste. Its main ingredient, honey, causes many to believe that it can have beneficial effects even when consumed even as an alcoholic beverage. But does this belief hold true? What does science say? Here, we further discuss mead, how to make it, and its potential benefits and risks. Keep reading.
In This Article
What Is Mead?
Mead is a traditional alcoholic beverage with an alcoholic percentage ranging from 8% and 18%. It is generally prepared by the alcoholic fermentation of diluted honey by using yeast. It is popular in Eastern Europe, and is also widely consumed in England, Germany, Ethiopia, and South Africa.
Mead is believed to be the oldest consumed alcohol by humans, even before wine. In many places, mead is still homemade and is especially believed to have many therapeutic properties. Read to know more about the history of mead.
History Of Mead
Mead is believed to have a history of over 8000 years. It is said to have been created on the Island of Crete. Some also claim that it was first founded in China around the 7th millennium BCE. Mead was also mentioned in the Sanskrit Rig-Veda.
Mead is thought to have been invented accidentally when honey and water were mixed. Today, mead is found in many ancient cultures of different countries. It is available in different types, and we will explore them below.
Types Of Mead
- Show Mead: It is the simplest form of mead that contains honey, water, and yeast. It is a basic mead variety without any add-ons.
- Melomel Mead: This mead contains fruits such as raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries in addition to honey, water, and yeast. It is also used as a food preservative.
- Sparkling Mead: It is a carbonated mead variety with some extra honey added. This extra honey is added before bottling the mead.
- Pyment Mead: This mead contains grapes or grape juice. Its alcohol percentage also varies slightly.
- Cyser Mead: This mead is generally fermented with apple juice instead of water. It tastes slightly sweeter because of the apple juice. It is among the most commonly manufactured and consumed mead varieties.
Continue reading to know more about the health benefits of mead.
Does Drinking Mead Offer Any Health Benefits?
Mead may offer the following health benefits.
1. May Offer Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Inflammation is the body’s basic response to external stimuli. This process helps the body get rid of any external pathogens. The results of such a reaction may include redness, itching, and pain. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that effectively inhibit the cells (called leucocytes and keratinocytes) that cause inflammation.
2. May Help Manage Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Honey is believed to ease respiratory tract infections. It is the most common home remedy used to treat cough and cold. Research suggests that honey can effectively manage upper respiratory tract infections. Its antimicrobial properties may also have a role to play in this regard.
3. May Help Manage Gastrointestinal Diseases
Studies state that honey may help manage gastrointestinal issues like gastritis, duodenitis, and gastric ulceration. The pathogens that cause these diseases adhere to the intestinal epithelium. Honey can effectively stop this adherence and may prevent disease.
Further research also states that honey can keep bacteria from adhering to the intestinal epithelial cells.
These are the few important benefits of mead. While you can purchase it from a local store, preparing it at home is always better. We tell you how in the next section.
How To Make Honey Mead At Home?
What You Need
- 2 liters of water
- 500 grams of honey
- 5 grams of mead yeast
- 2 large containers with airlocks
- 100 grams of raisins
- Slightly warm the water and add honey to it.
- Mix thoroughly in the container for uniformity.
- Add mead yeast and the raisins in the honey-water mixture.
- Fit the airlock to the container without any gap.
- The yeast will turn the sugar into CO2 and alcohol. The airlock ensures no external contaminants enter.
- This first fermentation may take 2 weeks to a month. This process is dependent on the temperature, quality of yeast, and the recipe.
- You can see tiny bubbles in the recipe. You can consider the first fermentation finished when the bubbling stops.
- Transfer this mixture into the second container, leaving the sediment behind.
- Seal the airlock and store in a clean, dark place for 2 months.
- Bottle the recipe and label it after 2 months.
Preparing mead is simple and consuming it may offer some benefits. However, excess mead intake may also cause adverse effects.
Risks Of Excess Mead Consumption
1. May Cause Diarrhea
Anecdotal evidence suggests that excess consumption of mead may cause diarrhea as it contains honey. The sugar content in honey may cause loose stools if consumed in excess.
2. May Cause Diabetes Complications
Research suggests that intake of honey may elevate glycated hemoglobin levels, which may cause diabetes complications. Those with diabetes must practice caution while consuming mead.
3. May Cause Liver Damage
Research states that even moderate alcohol consumption may increase risk of liver damage. Mead has about 8 to 18 % alcohol and may negatively affect liver health.
Direct research on mead is lacking. You may consult your doctor for further clarification.
Although mead is believed to offer an array of health benefits, one should remember that these are attributed to honey. In addition to honey, mead also contains alcohol that may exert negative effects if consumed in excess. Hence, have mead in moderation – and consult your doctor prior.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Is mead healthier than wine?
Yes, mead is comparatively healthier than wine. Mead contains honey that may offer certain health benefits.
Is mead stronger than beer?
Yes, mead is stronger than beer as it has a slightly more alcoholic percentage than beer. While beer contains 4 to 5 % alcohol, mead contains 8 to 18% alcohol. Mead also tastes stronger than beer.
Why is mead not popular?
Mead is lesser-known when compared to other alcoholic drinks. One reason could be its price. Mead is relatively expensive. Also, honey, mead’s main constituent, is losing its quality due to adulteration.
Where can you get good mead?
Check out your local wineries. Refrain from buying mead that is thick and syrupy. You may also prepare your own mead at home.
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- Honey as a Potential Natural Antioxidant Medicine: An Insight into Its Molecular Mechanisms of Action
- Effectiveness of honey for symptomatic relief in upper respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review
- Inhibition effect of honey on the adherence of Salmonella to intestinal epithelial cells in vitro
- Effects of natural honey consumption in diabetic patients: an 8-week randomized clinical trial
- Alcoholic Liver Disease