Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honey, Nature's Health Elixir (c) By Polly Guerin

Thanks to the cunning little yellow and black critters, the bee turns nectar from flowers and plants into honey and stores it as a food source in the extraordinary wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Such architects of honeycomb construction are nature’s builders, and as humans we depend on this elixir of health not only as a sweetener, but as a food, drink and even medicine. Honey application to the skin is a good tonic to soothe burns, chapped lips, skin problems and it even helps to cure a sore throat. When humans harvest honey they typically either process it for resale in grocery stores and other outlets. As such these are good products but, I prefer raw honey which is typically found in health food stores, holistic and farmers’ markets.
When the great American prophet Edgar Cayce was asked, “What type of sweets may be eaten by the body?” He replied, “Honey, especially in the honeycomb; or preserves made with beet rather than cane sugar. Not too great a quantity of any of these, of course, but the forces in sweets to make for the proper activity through the action of the gastric flows are as necessary as body-building elements. Hence two or three times a week the honey upon the bread or the food values would furnish that necessary in the whole system.” How could I forget this sound advice? I remember my father’s favorite treat was spreading honey on toast.
The benefits of honey were discovered since the dawning of civilization. The frequent Biblical references to milk and honey provide a clue to the importance of these two oldest nutrients. Further evidence, provided in the archives of ancient cultures, include documents from, India, Egypt, Persia, Babylon and Assyria that attest to the fact that bees were already domesticated and extensively used for a variety of nutrient purposes and medicine. Honey in the ancient world was a valued commodity. Taxes and tributes were imposed in the form of payments of honey and wax. It was the equivalent to currency. Honey played a vital role in domestic life throughout the age and continues to do so today.
It may have been by accident that a beekeeper’s wife discovered that working with honey during the collecting season her hands became soft and smooth. So she gave herself a honey facial. Honey in cosmetics is as popular today as it was for the ancients. Poppea, the comely wife of Nero, who employed a hundred slaves to attend her beauty, used honey and tepid asses’ milk as a face lotion. Roman women knew a thing or two about this cosmetic tonic and even Louis XV’s mistresses, Madame du Barry and other royals used honey in their toilet preparations. Honey packs, honey masks honey facials and hand creams are easily available today so that modern women can soften her skin and soothe facial wrinkles. For an at-home remedy simply pull your hair back and apply raw liquid honey to your face and neck and let it stand 15 minutes then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Voila!!! There my dear is all you need do as a regular beauty regimen.
Bee colonies have been threatened quite recently and honey bee colonies have been disappearing at an alarming rate. The good news is that the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. (a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) is studying this dilemma and reports that honey bee colony loses are down from previous reports. The cause they cite is a parasite and some say it’s caused by inbreeding. Nonetheless, measures are being taken to address the problem and to restore the bee colonies.
The beauty regime of Italian and Spanish women gives us cause to consider the benefits of honey. Their beautiful complexions are due not solely to olive oil but also to honey, which will greatly improve not only the color but the texture of the skin. No need to restrict its use to external application do as the Creole women of Louisiana suggest and rub your entire body with a lotion consisting of honey and water, to which add spices of your choice. Nature’s greatest gift is honey the golden elixir to good health that helps to stimulate and support the body’s own healing process.


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