Honey is Sweet, Inside and Out

In recent years the theory of ingesting local honey to help alleviate or diminish seasonal allergies has saturated the media, and although there doesn’t seem to be any scientific proof, those of us who take it for just that purpose swear by its effectiveness.{{more}} After all, it makes sense: bees gather pollen from the very plants that make us sneeze, and the end result is small amounts end up in the honey, which we ingest and, in theory, build a resulting immunity. Suffer from allergies? It’s worth a try. Take one tablespoon of raw honey daily, year round. What is “raw” honey? Raw honey is honey that has not been heated to above 118 degrees. Raw honey has higher nutritional value, and retains its natural enzymes and yeast. Most local honey is raw, but always ask the beekeeper to be sure.

This sweet little treat can be used for a whole lot more. This time of year the cold, dry air results in dry, parched skin. Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it attracts and retains moisture.

For most of us, smearing thick, sticky honey on our face is quite unappealing, but easy, less messy, do-it-yourself facial masks can be made from things found in the kitchen. A mixture of yogurt, honey and cooked oatmeal is most effective for dry skin. Higher fat yogurt works best, but any will do. Mix two tablespoons yogurt with one tablespoon honey and one tablespoon cooked oatmeal, mix into a paste, apply to face, leave on about 15 minutes and rinse. If you want to add a little natural scrub to exfoliate dry skin, replace the oatmeal with a tablespoon of ground almonds (you can finely grind them in your coffee grinder), gently massage into face and rinse.

Is your scalp and hair dry and lackluster? Mix two tablespoons virgin coconut oil (oil section of supermarket), two tablespoons raw honey until combined, whisk in one egg yolk until smooth, apply to scalp and hair and cover with shower cap or plastic wrap for 20 minutes or longer (the longer the better). Rinse, shampoo (only once) and condition as usual.

Raw honey also contains a natural antibiotic. Next time instead of reaching for the Neosporin, dab the area with a bit of raw honey and cover with bandage; in my experience the area heals faster with honey.

Ate too much? Spicy food giving you heartburn? Mix one teaspoon honey with one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and ingest. This mixture will also help a sore throat. Many arthritis sufferers also say that this same mixture, added to 8 ounces of water and taken once a day helps with their arthritis.

Suffer from a dry hacking cough just when you put your head on the pillow at the end of the day? Take a teaspoon of honey just before bed.

Sabrina is co-owner with her husband, Ernie, of Sunflower Farm and Connecticut Natural Soapworks, a beekeeper, and market master of the Milford Downtown Farmers’ Market.