Did you know that in ancient Greece and Rome, honey symbolized fertility, love and beauty? It is said that Cupid dipped his arrows in honey to fill a lover’s heart with sweetness and tradition dictates that newlyweds should devour honey on the evening of their nuptials to insure fertility and a long life together. It’s no wonder that on Valentine’s Day we’re smitten with bees and their sweet honey! Honey and bee pollen are also good for you, too. Although both have been used for health and healing for thousands of years by the ancient Egyptians and even Hippocrates (the father of medicine), natural remedies are not regulated by the FDA, so there is very little information available about these n atural remedies. Syrupy, golden honey and a pinch of bee pollen can be beneficial to you throughout the year especially during February’s cold and flu season. Let’s demystify these raw; super foods and you’ll see how charming the honeybee really is…
Honey has a wide variety of antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as being a great source of antioxidants. Simply put, honey is made from the nectar of flowers by honeybees. Due to its natural healing properties, it has gained a reputation as being one of the purest and only unprocessed sweeteners. To ease the symptoms of nasal congestion, sore throats and flu, take a spoonful of honey or gargle with a mixture of two tablespoons of honey, four tablespoons of cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Honey combined with cinnamon can help relieve arthritis, regulate cholesterol, indigestion and boost the immune system.
Honeycomb is honey in its most natural state-exactly the way the bees made it. Simply spread it on bread or fruit and devour it. Yes, you can eat the beeswax! Honeycomb, when ingested, can alleviate sinus pressure within minutes (so have a tissue nearby). Also try mixing a small drop of honey with some fine-grained salt in warm water and pour through the sinuses using a neti-pot. This may take a little getting used to but it works really well. Honey can also be used as an ointment on external wounds. Cuts and minor burns can be kept clean and free from infection and their scarring minimal with honey’s almost magical antiseptic qualities. Honey never needs refrigeration and never spoils.
Bee Pollen is nature’s most complete food, rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and a complete source of protein with immune boosting properties. Bee pollen contains 22 amino acids, 27 mineral salts, the full range of vitamins, carbohydrates, and more than 5,000 necessary enzymes and coenzymes. It is also rich in Vitamin B12. Take pollen daily in small doses-think of it as your daily vitamin. For those who suffer with springtime allergies, it’s never too early to begin adding bee pollen into your diet. Fresh, bee pollen in its natural state is a rainbow of colored granules from yellow to brown, generally the size of a peppercorn. It should taste somewhat earthy; think of a bouquet of fresh flowers with a spongy texture. It should not taste bitter. Bee pollen should be refrigerated (the granules are raw!) and should be used within the first 8-12 months.
BEE CREATIVE: CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY BEESWAX
LIP BALM WITH GOLDEN FLECKS!*
After dessert you’ll want to kiss your honey all night with
Red Bee’s chocolate-strawberry beeswax lip balm.
We added flecks of edible gold leaf because you’re worth it!
Note: Beeswax and edible gold leaf can be purchased on line at many craft supply stores.
1 ounce (by weight) cosmetic grade beeswax beads
5 ounces (by weight) olive oil
.5 ounce of cacao powder, or to taste
5 drops of honey, buckwheat, or to taste
5-6 drops strawberry flavored essential oil
Gold leaf flecks, to garnish (optional)
Glass, heat-proof bowls
Stainless steel whisk or mixing spoon
6-8 one ounce lip balm pots with lids
Protective heat-proof oven gloves
Stainless steel spoon
Wearing kitchen mitts, slowly melt the bee’s wax and oil in a glass heat-proof mixing bowl over a double boiler on a low flame. Once the mixture is transparent, add the honey and cacao powder, mix well with a stainless spoon or whisk.
Warning: Never allow your mixture to boil. Hot wax can burn your skin or catch fire. Do not cover the beeswax with a lid while heating, because doing so could create condensation that will drip into your mixture and ruin it.
When all the ingredients are mixed well and completely melted, test the consistency by scooping up a few drops in your spoon and allowing it to completely cool for 2-3 minutes. Do not touch hot mixture; you can burn your skin. If your sample is too hard add a few more drops of oil, if it’s too soft, add a few more pieces of beeswax accordingly. Mix and melt well. Test another sample again. Repeat if necessary.
When your sample is the consistency you are pleased with, carefully remove the mixture from the flame wearing protective oven gloves and place on heat-proof surface or baking sheet. Add the strawberry flavored essential oil, mix well. Have your lip balm pots nearby with lids removed.
Using a small, stainless steel spoon, pour the mixture into the pots. You need to work quickly and fill each container before the mixture cools down and hardens. Reheat mixture if necessary. When all your pots are full, allow them to cool and harden. Lip balm becomes opaque when completely cool and firm. If you are adding edible gold leaf flecks, do it now when the lip balm is cool and firm. Wipe down outside of pots and put on lids. Apply to lips daily…especially when kissing your Valentine!