Honey. So sweet. So wild. So delicious. So healing! Honey is made of 80% sugar, with water and minerals making up the rest. Beyond its’ obvious use as a sweetener, it makes an excellent preservative. Being both antiseptic and antibacterial, it is also a superb ointment for wounds.
During cold and flu season, a jar of honey in the kitchen cupboard is a must! Added to a cup of hot water, it helps soothe raspy coughs and sore throats. It coats the surface of the mucous membranes and calms the irritated tissues. For greater medicinal properties, choose the darker varieties.
Honey is sold in both pasteurized and unpasteurized varieties. The unpasteurized types contain probiotics – healthy bacteria that colonize our digestive systems and play an important role in immune function. Practitioners of folk medicine have used raw, unfiltered honey for the prevention of seasonal allergies. Because it contains pollen and dust that can cause allergies, practitioners would prescribe small amounts to patients daily in the months leading up to allergy season and this would help acclimatize the patient to seasonal allergens. They claimed to reduce the severity of seasonal allergies in this way. Sounds like a delightful way to approach allergy season!
Although stacking up to be quite a sweet medicine, honey does come with a red label warning for infants. It may contain botulism bacteria, and thus should not be given to children under 1 year of age. Their immune systems and gastrointestinal tract are not developed enough to withstand an infection from this bacterium.