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Nectar of the gods

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Honey is the oldest sweetener known to mankind, and has numerous health and beauty benefits, says Dr. Shernaz Avari

A bottle of honey is a must on your kitchen shelf as honey should never ever be refrigerated.  Honey is provided by the bees from the nectar of flowers and stored in a comb. For this, the honey-bee is considered to be the most industrious of all insects. Their penchant for hard work and the amount of time, labour and energy they spend in producing honey is mind-boggling, so much so that the honey-bee would put to shame man’s repeated assertion of how hard he works! On a rough estimate it is said that 550 bees by visiting 2.5 million flowers are able to collect one pound of honey!

Honey contains glucose, fructose and sucrose and is easily assimilated by the blood besides having vitamins and minerals.  Nowadays, we get bottled honey of various brands so we have to rely on them for their efficacy.

Honey can never ever be adulterated. If you dilute it with warm water, it ferments. If you try to add any type of sugary syrup, it thickens and solidifies. If you try to add cane sugar to increase its quantity, it separates.  Therefore, you are always assured of pure honey whichever brand you choose to buy.

Honey is a tonic for the brain.  Honey, taken along with milk adding elaichi and jaiphal powders along with almond, walnut powder and a few dates, is an instant energy-giving brain tonic. It is ideal for children before they leave school or after they come back from school.  Many athletes take honey before and after their workouts.

A honey-lemon drink taken warm in the morning before tea, helps to flush out toxins, eradicates constipation and also aids in weight loss to some extent.

For memory improvement in children as well as adults and senior citizens on the verge of dementia, take 300 gms almonds and powder it.  Similarly, add 300 gms sunflower seeds and 300 gms khuskhus (poppy seeds) all grounded.  Mix all together and store in a glass jar.  Add one tablespoon of it in a mug of hot milk and drink it daily before retiring to bed. You can even add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. This ritual should be carried on for at least four to six months. Honey strengthens a weak brain, a weak heart and a weak stomach, said the sages of yore.

If there are digestive disorders of the stomach and the intestine, try honey with some saunth powder (dry ginger powder) one hour before meals. Include honey in your tea, in your salad dressings and find a marked improvement in your digestion.

Children who are all the time pampered with sweets and chocolates often become irritable and restless and are also prone to gastro-intestinal disorders and decayed teeth.  Make sweets out of honey. Split a banana vertically, apply honey on top in a zig-zag fashion and sprinkle chopped mixed dry fruits. A healthy snack which your child will not only relish but will also like to try out.

If your infant child or even an adult suffers from bed-wetting, don’t scold the person in front of others. Honey comes to the rescue. Take one tablespoon of honey just before retiring to bed. Honey, being hydroscopic by nature, it will hold on the extra fluid and the kidneys will be spared the extra burden.

Honey is good for bone development in infants. You can keep a glass bottle of honey in sunlight. If your blood report shows lack of haemoglobin, start the intake of honey. Honey will maintain the right balance of haemoglobin and the red blood corpuscles.  Haemoglobin is a compound of iron and honey contains iron.  A decrease in the level of red blood corpuscles leads to anaemia.

Patients suffering from bronchial asthma get the much needed relief if a tablespoon of honey is mixed in a cup of  boiling water.

Honey is a well-known remedy for coughs. Take a tablespoon of honey and slowly try to swallow it down your throat in such a manner that you feel it is touching the throat.  You can add adrak paste, haldi powder, cinnamon powder and chopped tulsi leaves to the honey. Take this concoction every few hours. Honey-ginger lozenges also give great relief in coughs.

Suffering from cramps?  Cramps occur when the calcium levels in the blood are low and the phosphorous levels are high. By ingesting honey, the required levels are maintained.

Honey being an antiseptic is good for burns and scars.  In the olden days honey was used as a dressing on these. In case of sunburn, mix two tablespoons of honey to two tablespoons of lime juice and one tablespoon of cologne water. Mix the concoction well and apply when needed.

Pure honey obtained from the nectar of the lotus flower is found to help in the treatment of eye disorders. Nowadays at hill stations, we get honey for various disorders.

If you are health conscious and do not wish to add sugar to your cup of tea, you can add a teaspoon of honey. The same can be added while making desserts.

In recent years, the curative properties of beeswax have also been discovered. Hot wax placed on the hands, knees and feet of arthritic patients brings good results.  Also soak some garlic bulbs in a small bottle of honey. Daily take one bulb along with a teaspoon of honey.

Honey is good for a sparkling complexion. Mix one tablespoon of honey to a tablespoon of pure almond oil (expensive). Massage into face and neck and leave it for 30 to 40 minutes. Rinse with a napkin wrung out in warm water followed by splashes of ice cold water.

Pink lentils (masoor dal) when mixed with honey and a little water serve as a good exfoliant. A honey mask for the face can be made by mixing one tablespoon of honey with chana atta and rose water.

Ulcers heal rapidly when honey is applied to them.

You and your honey-spouse can add a tablespoon of honey along with haldi in a glass of hot milk and have it before retiring to bed as honey is supposed to be a mild aphrodisiac.

Wish to give an extra bounce, body and shine to your hair? Then mix one teaspoon of honey to a mug of water adding a few squeezes of lime drops. Rinse after shampooing.

A honey-egg-oil mayonnaise serves as a nourishing hair pack. Whip one egg to it. You can add any oil of your choice. Make it into a thick consistency.  Keep for one hour. Wear a shower cap and shampoo off.

Dr. Shernaz Avari is a Consultant Naturopath and Alternative Medical Practitioner.

Short takes

Honey contains glucose, fructose and sucrose and is easily assimilated by the blood besides having vitamins and minerals.  Nowadays, we get bottled honey of various brands so we have to rely on them for their efficacy.

 If there are digestive disorders of the stomach and the intestine, try honey with some saunth powder (dry ginger powder) one hour before meals. Include honey in your tea, in your salad dressings and find a marked improvement in your digestion.

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