Today is the Jewish New Year and to celebrate we usually dip apples in honey to ensure that the year is full of good health and sweetness and an abundance in the Fall harvest. Interestingly enough, it’s not just the sweetness of honey that brings forth this wish, it is the medicinal properties of honey as well. This wonderfully rich golden liquid is the miraculous product of honey bees and a naturally delicious alternative to sugar. Although it is available throughout the year, it is an exceptional treat in the summer and fall when it has just been harvested and is at its freshest.
Health benefits, like with any food depends on the quality of the honey
Honey has been used by ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chinese, Romans, and Greeks as a medicinal remedy for the management of wounds, skin ailments, and various gastrointestinal diseases.Honey’s therapeutic importance as a known antibacterial agent has been recognized since 1892. In the laboratory, honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, includingStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices.
Manuka honey is sometimes used to treat chronic leg ulcers and pressure sores. Manuka honey is made in New Zealand from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium. It’s the basis of Medihoney, which the FDA approved in 2007 for use in treating wounds and skin ulcers. It works very well to stimulate healing.
Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey may be an effective cough suppressant, too.In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of honey at bedtime. The honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. I like to use a buckwheat honey-based syrup to ease early symptoms of a cold, it calms inflamed membranes and eases the cough. Please note that I do not give children under the age of one year honey because of the risk of botulism
Some laboratory studies suggest honey has the potential also to clear up stuffy noses and ease allergies triggered by pollen. There are lots of minerals and vitamins and antioxidant properties in honey as well — the darker the honey, the higher the level of antioxidants. Bees also make other very valuable healing substances like bee pollen and royal jelly but that’s for another blog.
In the mean time have a slice of apple to celebrate the fall harvest and dip it into some raw organic fresh local honey and wish yourself and those around you a happy healthy and prosperous year!