Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Honey, Sweet "Medicine"

Pollinators get a lot of attention these days, as well they should.  With stress due to habitat loss, viruses, fungi, parasites and pesticides, in addition to the normal perils of a bugs life, they could use a helping hand. 

Although not a native species to North America the Honeybee is probably the pollinator most talked about in the media.  Contributing to about $15 billion in increased agricultural value, they benefit directly or indirectly to every third bite of food we ingest.  See more in these food videos from Whole Foods.

But we have discussed pollinator health before with the Plant.Grow.Fly program and Monarch Watch posts. 

This week's topic is HONEY! 

Honey is the most recognized miracle product from bees.  A flower's nectar is changed by enzymes in the bee's saliva and concentrated back at the hive.  In our home, we use this delicious natural sweetener in place of table sugar in many recipes.  Grits aren't the same without some of it.  If you are ever at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast, make sure you don't skip the grits and try them with a spoonful of honey. 

Not only delicious and naturally sweet, honey has been used traditionally for a number of health supporting ways.

Skin Care - Honey promotes skin health and is a natural antimicrobial agent.  Massage some into damp skin to improve skin's health and appearance.  You can also mix granulated sugar into raw honey and use as an natural exfoliant.  Include a few drops of olive or grapeseed oil for a moisturizer.
Honey, Lemon and Thieves tea

Cough Relief - a Penn State study found that honey was a better cough suppressant than many over the counter medicines, although there was some controversy over the media's response. 
I know when I have a sore throat, cough or congestion hot tea made with honey and lemon is really soothing.

Allergies - Local honey can prevent or lessen symptoms with just a teaspoon per day.  Try starting a month before your symptoms typically appear for best effect.

Sleeplessness - A spoonful of honey at bedtime can help support a restful night's sleep.

Antimicrobial Ointment - With its antimicrobial properties, a bit under a bandage may protect cuts and minor burns better than an antibiotic cream.

Stomach Issues - Honey can aid in digestion, balancing both diarrhea and constipation.  It also inhibits growth of H. pylori, a bacteria linked to ulcers.

Honey has also been used for arthritis, leg cramps, pink eye and more.  Regularly consuming raw honey can boost white blood cell numbers and may improve immunity.

Special thanks to Nodaway Valley, The Birds and Their Bees, Keane Honey and Bec's Bees for all of the honey we have enjoyed the last few years.

Hives at the Forest Avenue Outreach garden

Maybe you are thinking bees might be a great addition to your yard or homestead.  If you live in Iowa you can find out if you can raise bees in your city at beelaws.org.  They have cataloged the city codes, with guidance and contact information if you have any questions.  If you are already an Iowa beekeeper look to Central Iowa Beekeepers or the Iowa Honey Producers Association.

There are many places to take some classes on beekeeping and you should always have a mentor to help you along as you begin.  Now is the time to order bees for this upcoming season.

Here are a few places you can order supplies and bees-

Here is an interview with my friend Julia McGuire, a local beekeeper and advocate, on the Urban Farm Podcast.

Give it a listen and then watch the TED talk below about why our cities need honeybees.

This was a big information filled post this week.  If you can't get through it all at once, come back for the things you missed.

Stay sweet, stay healthy and have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. That was an interesting video! Just bought a quart Jar of Honey from a local beekeeper here! Fresh out of the hive! <3