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Honey’s name comes from Ancient Hebrew and means “enchant”. Often used as a sweetener for food and drink, honey is also valued for its healing properties as well.

Treatment with honey is known as apitherapy and includes replenishing energy. Enhancing physical stamina and strengthening those weakened by illness or stress, honey can help calm the mind and promote rejuvenating sleep. It is also used to relieve indigestion and treat cardiovascular disease as well as respiratory complaints. Finally, as topical treatment, a light coat of honey can be used to disinfect and heal minor skin ailments and chapped lips.

Honey is actually composed of the simple sugars fructose and glucose and other ingredients including water, pollen, organic acids, enzymes and various proteins. Fortunately, honey may only contain slight traces of residues from industrial emissions, car exhaust, and agricultural chemicals if any at all. This is because the bees themselves act as a natural filter and will die if they come into contact with toxins, and therefore do not bring pollutants into the hive.

Honey should be organically labeled if possible, for these producers go to greater lengths to insure the bees are kept clear of potential toxins and that they are not fed refined sugars. Also, keep in mind some unpasturized honey contains a type of bacteria that is harmless to older children and adults but may be dangerous to babies.

Honey was the primary ingredient in mead the mythical “nectar of the gods” as told in Greek and Roman mythology. Although less popular today, mead is still produced by fermenting the mixture of honey, water and certain herbs and spices. Other simple recipes for honey range from 10 ounces milk and 2 tablespoons honey for simple insomnia or you can create a relaxing bath oil made with 5 drops lavender oil and 2 ounces of honey. For minor cuts and abrasions, apply honey directly to wound and then cover with sterile bandage, this allows the honey to draw excess water from injured tissue and put it in contact with a germ killing substance called inhibine which helps prevent infections. Some hay fever sufferers have reported that since honey contains pollen, consuming small amounts of locally grown honey over time helps to desensitize allergies.

Honey provides a healthful pick-me-up and is especially useful in fitness for energy and stamina. The simple sugars in honey are predigested by the bees and can be quickly and easily absorbed in the human digestive tract. Thus it is quite useful for digestive disorders. The body will also utilize this wonderful foodstuff to heal cough and cold, insomnia, headache and even general weakness as it has an all-soothing effect. While honey may be a healthy treat, you should know that as a sweetener, 1 tablespoon of honey would contain about 64 calories, compared to 46 calories for the same amount of refined granulated sugar.

Keep in mind many different types of honey are available. Consistency, fragrance and taste will depend on the types of flowers the bees will use as a source of nectar, the most common being clover and regionally may include orange blossom in the citrus belts.