Cold and blustery winter air can leave one’s skin dry, chapped and itchy. If you’re looking for an all-natural ingredient to use that will banish these symptoms, honey is a wonderfully effective hydrator. It works by first attracting water to your skin cells and then sealing in the badly needed moisture. Because it is also chock full of antioxidants it is also good for pampering aging skin. Its antibacterial properties make it surprisingly effective at treating and preventing skin blemishes such as acne. Honey also helps to clarify skin by opening and unclogging pores.
As a child I thought honey was ‘just honey’ and it came in a squeezable honey bear bottle from the grocery store. As a beekeeper, I have learned that ‘honey’ encompasses a diverse collection of flavors and aromas. This diversity is due to the floral source(s) that the bees visit, the area’s climatic conditions, its geographical location and other variable factors. For example, varietal honeys like Bee America’s Orange Blossom or Tupelo have characteristic flavors that are fairly consistent over time.
In our house, honey is king, or I should say queen given that it comes from our beloved bees. People sometimes ask me whether honey is better for them than granulated sugar, and I have to tell them that, “Sugar is sugar and honey is mostly sugar.” However, if you are deciding whether to stir in a teaspoon of honey or white sugar into your tea; make pumpkin bread with a cup of honey or white sugar; or drizzle honey or sprinkle white sugar over cereal—chose the honey.
While bees are best known for making honey, scientists studying their brains and behavior have uncovered some astounding feats of biology. Bees have a lot to teach us and what we learn from them may someday help slow down the aging process, cure addictions and troubleshoot some very real human problems.
Bees’ Brains Can Halt the Aging Process
September is National Honey Month and it’s the perfect time of year to honor it in all of its golden glory after just finishing our own bountiful harvest season at Bee America. While honey is not created by magic, its very existence is the result of a certainly remarkable process. As children are more likely to believe in magic than adults, they would not have any trouble having faith in the following equation:
Beautiful Flowers + Industrious Bees = Delicious Honey
Eco-friendly, by definition, means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. The term is typically used in the context of products and practices that help conserve critical resources like water and energy, thereby contributing to “green-living”. Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle or running an eco-friendly business like Bee America also helps to mitigate polluting our air, water and land. But what is often overlooked in the equation is that eco-friendly is not only good for our planet, it is good for ourselves as well.
Midsummer is a perfect time to help your neighborhood pollinators. When blossoms start to fade and heat and humidity make gardens look more like a parched desert than a lush oasis…there’s several things you can do around your home to help out bees, butterflies and other pollinators:
1. Avoid the use of insecticides and use natural pest control instead (i.e., prevention, beneficial insects and nontoxic remedies)
For countless centuries, honey has been used to treat a variety of afflictions and conditions. It can be ingested as a treatment for coughs, allergies and other ailments or it can be applied directly to the skin as balm for healing rashes, burns and cuts. Honey is at its most potent in its natural state, i.e., “raw”, which means that it is not pasteurized. Raw honey has the substantial benefit of being chock full of active vitamins and minerals, powerful antioxidants and beneficial enzymes.
My idea of a “wildlife” yard started about 15 years ago. I first started my prairie restoration project covertly by planting creeping thyme in areas of my front lawn and then allowing the thyme to overrun the fescue grass. The results are a very low maintenance lawn that blooms when I neglect to mow it for a couple of weeks. (Oh, no! More time for kayaking!)