To Your Health
January, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 01)
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The way in which raw honey is extracted and strained can tell a great deal about its quality. A "coarse strain" of honey retains the propolis - a gluey substance the bees collect from the buds. It has a dark brown or reddish color and looks like small granules in the raw honey. Although there are a lot of misgivings by modern medicine toward propolis, it has been used in traditional and folk medicine around the world for the past 5,000 years. Propolis is a substance the bees use not only as a sealant for the small cracks in the hive but also to build immunity in their young (like colostrum for mammals). Many humans respond with an allergic reaction when ingesting pure extracted propolis, but when the propolis is mixed in the honey, the body generally is able to absorb it without any problems. Propolis is used for treatment of inflammation, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns, canker sores and gingivitis, and can be used as an antiseptic dressing on open wounds. It also is believed to have an antibiotic, antifungal and even immunomodulatory function.

Please note that honey can be dangerous if ingested by children under 1 year of age due to the presence of botulinum toxin, from which infants can contract botulism (whereas older children and adults can destroy these toxins). The same toxin is the base of the well-known Botox, so it is no surprise that many cultures have used raw honey as a skin rub for thousands of years.

A bottle of honey. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The next time you swat at a bee, take a second to remember the gift of raw honey. Its sweet taste is just the start of its appeal, as long as it comes it straight from the source - the hive. When your cold and allergy symptoms act up this season, try a spoonful of honey to keep you going.

Here are more ways to harness the healing power of raw honey:

Burns. Apply freely over burns. It cools, removes pain, serves as an antibiotic and aids in quick healing without scarring.
Cough Mixture. Combine 6 ounces of honey, 2 ounces of glycerin and the juice of two lemons. Bottle and cork firmly, and use as required.
Hyperactivity. Replace white sugar with honey. Honey provides the energy without the "spike" in blood sugar.
Insomnia. A small spoonful of honey in warm milk helps you fall asleep.
Migraine. Dissolve a spoonful of honey in half a glass of warm water. Sip at the first signs of a migraine, and if necessary, repeat after another 20 minutes.
Nasal Congestion. Place a spoonful of honey in a basin of water and inhale fumes after covering your head with a towel over the basin.
Fatigue. Dissolve a spoonful of honey in warm water as a natural stabilizer. Honey is primarily fructose and glucose, so it is quickly absorbed by the digestive system.
Facial Cleanser. Mix honey with an equal quantity of oatmeal and apply to the face for 30 minutes. The concoction works as a deep cleanser for acne and other unwanted blemishes.
Poor Digestion. Mix honey with an equal quantity of apple cider vinegar and dilute to taste with water. This also eases joint pain and promotes weight loss.
Osteoporosis. Research has shown that a teaspoon of honey per day aids calcium utilization and prevents osteoporosis.
Sore Throats. Let a teaspoon of honey melt in the back of your mouth and trickle down the throat. This reduces tissue inflammation.

Zhenya K. Wine has practiced and taught Russian medical and sports massage and physiotherapy for 31 years, and runs the Kurashova Institute in Rock Island, Ill.