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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Honey, How Sweet You Can Bee!

Ask someone knowledgeable in herbal lore what is a favorite, all-around practical gift from mother nature, and he or she just may say the wonders of honey!
Honey is just plain good for you inside and out.
Just look at this list!

1. Honey is an ideal first-aid dressing material. Great for those wounds that just won't heal.
Unprocessed honey can heal wounds, reduce inflammation, soothe the pain of burns and bee bites, all while keeping a wound sterile. Honey dressings won't stick to wounds, which is great because that means no pain when changing the bandages, and no tearing away of newly formed tissue.

2. Honey is great for our metabolism.
Honey does not have to be digested before it is absorbed because it is already the two simple sugars, fructose and glucose. This means the sugars go directly to the bloodstream and give that much needed energy boost.

3. Honey can help with a hangover.
Honey can speed alcohol metabolism to sober a person up and ease the fatique that goes with it.

4. Honey allergies can be helped with honey.
Eating locally produced honey to where you live can help relieve pollen allergies.

5. Honey can relieve indigestion.
Honey enzymes enhance the digestive process to help relieve symptoms of indigestion.

6. Honey is full of nutrients.
While table sugar has no nutrients at all, honey is an additional source for potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium.

7. Honey can help with sleep problems.
Honey right off the spoon or in a hot cup of tea can help relax and encourage sleep.

8. Honey can help with weight loss.
Folk remedies for good health and metabolism recommend a daily dose of a TBSP of honey and a TBSP of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.

9. Honey is the ideal beauty treatment for glowing skin and wrinkles.
Honey softens and moisturizes for an improved complexion.

Help your local beekeepers by either planting or just not mowing the many natural plants which attract bees! Two of the most commonly gathered types of honey are wildflower honey and clover honey. Wildflowers do include the many so called weeds that grow along roadsides, fields and meadows. When they flower they attract many beneficial pollinating insects. White clover is a wonderful ground cover and is such an attraction to bees that I often try my best not to mow over them when cutting the grass.

Please avoid herbacide and pesticide on your lawns and gardens. Too often they destroy as many good guys along with the pests. The beneficial insects help keep the pest population in balance, as do the birds. Remember that many of those caterpillars will become the "flying flowers" we so enjoy fluttering around. A healthy balance of prey and predator keeps things in check without us humans feeling the need to interfere and control.

In case you worry about an increased risk for bee stings, from my experience these types of bees mainly mind their own business and usually only sting if they feel threatened. They just do their thing and I do mine. Familiarize yourself with the common weed called plantain. Should you get stung, gather some of this plant and chew it into a poultice and apply to the bite. You'll be amazed how quickly it can neutralize the pain.

Here is a list of ideas for your landscape or garden plans

Perennials: Milkweed, Goldenrod, Coltsfoot, Lavender, Thyme, Mints, Melissa, Tansy, Yarrow, Asters, Veronica, Globe thistle

Annuals: White and Yellow Clover, Borage, Coriander, Sunflowers, Cornflower

Shrubs: Wild Rose (Dog Rose), Elderberry, Barberry, Hawthorn, Willows

Trees: Black Locust, Willows, Oaks

Meadow Muffin Gardens carries two wonderful honey items!

Should you ever visit an apiary take note the condition of the beekeeper's hands during honey season. Most likely they will be soft and smooth. Honey is a natural humectant which means it retains moisture. Exposure to environmental factors and chemical agents hinder our skin's ability to stay hydrated. Not only does honey help dry skin cells to plump up and wrinkles smooth away, it also contains natural antioxidant properties that aid in skin rejuvenation. Watch minor acne flare-ups disappear as honey's antimicrobial properties hinder bacterial growth.

Honeybee facial wash combines the beauty aid of honey with another humectant, glycerin, and the gentle action of castile soap. Castile soap is a basic liquid soap without harsh ingredients that strip delicate skin of its natural oils. Add the uplifting aroma of sweet orange essential oil and you have a very beneficial cleansing product. Splash warm water on your face to open the pores, massage a bit of wash and rinse. You'll find your face feeling soft and refreshed without that dry, tightness which often follows the use of facial cleansers. Apply a bit of moisturizer if desired and enjoy your glowing complexion.

Let the bees help you maintain a beautiful complexion. Wildflower and clover honey already have the beneficial attributes of these herbs within the honey itself.

Honey is a natural humectant which means it retains moisture and plumps up skin cells. The high sugar, low protein content create an acidic environment with limited availability of water therefore bacteria cannot thrive.

Raw honey has a different look than pasteurized commercial honey. It has not been heated or filtered therefore it looks a bit cloudy and has flecks of the activities of the hive, such as honeycomb bits and pollen. Having a high anti-oxidant level and being the natural enzymes have not been destroyed by heat, raw honey is a much healthier product.

Trying to control oily skin by washing too frequently with soap can backfire resulting in dry irritated skin while further increasing the production of oil. Some acne treatments are just too harsh and drying.

Honey all by itself is wonderful but our treatment utilizes the properties of two essential oils. Tea tree oil is a disinfectant and chamomile is an anti-inflammatory, both great for soothing and healing irritated or infected skin. These two essential oils are strong so spot treat first to be sure your skin isn't sensitive.

Ideally you should begin this treatment with a facial steam to open up your pores which will enable the masque to penetrate more deeply. Apply a thin film onto your face and neck and relax for about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water and observe how fine lines seem to vanish and your face appears more vibrant and supple.

Masques can be used two or three times a week. Take note that it is normal for honey to crystallize. Use as is for a bit of exfoliation as you apply the honey or microwave for just a few seconds.

Being honey naturally crystallizes with time, you can then also use as you would a sugar scrub. Apply a bit to finger tips or facial cloth and use gentle circular motions to cleanse.

External use only.