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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Honey, My Sweet

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!

Hippocrates' fame is largely due to his use of medicines that are readily produced by the earth and its inhabitants.
As a natural cure, honey, and other substances produced by the honeybee such as pollen and royal jelly is being rediscovered by those interested in effective, natural relief from a wide range of ailments.
Honey is just plain good for you inside and out.

"Eat honey, my child, for it is good."  
   Proverbs 24:13

"The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it."    Jacques Yves Cousteau

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 and heartburn.
Honey enzymes enhance the digestive process to help relieve symptoms of indigestion.
A spoonful can help ease a bout of heartburn.

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 can ease coughing and sore throat. 
Honey right off the spoon can get rid of that nagging tickle behind a coughing spell. Homemade honey syrups are very soothing for a sore throat.

10. Honey is the ideal beauty treatment for glowing skin and wrinkles.
Honey softens and moisturizes for an improved complexion. Honey is a natural humectant which means it retains moisture and plumps up skin cells.It helps to rebuild the moisture level in the skin without making it oily. The high sugar, low protein content create an acidic environment with limited availability of water, therefore bacteria cannot thrive. Glucose oxidase is an enzyme that when combined with water produces hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic. By calming down inflammation, honey helps with troubled skin and as a remedy for blackheads and whiteheads.
Apply raw honey as a facial mask or spot treatment. When you wash the honey off your skin, a small amount remains in the pores. As a result, the sugars in the honey attract water from the air, which keeps your skin hydrated.

Be sure to use raw honey, not the pasteurized type found in the grocery store. 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.

Check out these products and utilize the wonders of  the perfect skin food and natural remedy:

Orange Blossom Honey Facial Wash
Rose Infused Honey Facial Wash
Lavender Infused Honey Facial Wash
Honey Facial Mask for All Skin Types
Honey Facial Mask for Tired or Oily Skin
Honey Facial Mask for Blemishes

We hear a lot about naturalizing our landscaping.
For honey production you need bees and for bees you need a food source in the form of plants, preferably native plants.

Depending on where you live the idea of leaving an area unmowed may prove difficult due to the rules of your community. Find out about any restrictions, start small and choose your plants according to your region. Wildflower meadows are beautiful and practical but do look a bit messy when the plants go to seed. Mow the area once a year to tidy things up a bit and keep noxious weeds and brambles under control.

 Help your local beekeepers by either planting or just limit the mowing of 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.

It has been said that weeds are just plants for which a person hasn't a use. Do we really have the right to be the judge and treat a species as though its existence has no purpose just because it doesn't appeal to us? Invasive species are plants no longer in their native habitat, therefore may need to be controlled so as not to take over native plants. That is true, but to spread a toxic substance over a lawn just to control lawn weeds such as dandelion, plantain and violets, may be a temporary fix for the perfect carpet lawn, but an environmental threat in the long run. Dandelions, for example, are not only pollinators, but upon going to seed, are a food source for countless birds such as goldfinches and sparrows.

Please avoid herbicide 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 small list of ideas for your landscape or garden plans:

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


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


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


 Black Locust, Willows, Oaks

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