Monday, August 11, 2014

Mindful Monday: A Touch of Honey to Sweeten Your Day, and Your Complextion

After my Plants for Pollinators post, I started looking into bees and the difference between some of what the general public sees as the best pollinators.  Of course, honey bees are a the top of the list.  And those fuzzy little fliers do more than just help the proliferation of the plants.  They make a fabulous substance with the nectar they collect. . .


Honey comb from Sug's Honey

An old school friend suggested I do a post about the beauty benefits of honey.  She told me how she had a pregnancy mask that never faded, and one day, while eating honey and yogurt, she got some honey on her face.  Within a few hours of washing the honey off, the irritation was gone.  So, she looked up uses for honey for acne, as well.  After only two weeks she saw dramatic results.

You probably already know that honey is a natural antibiotic and antimicrobial.  In fact, sweet honey has so many health benefits I couldn't list them all here without sounding like I'm just droning on in a lecture hall.  I have become fascinated with all the honey does for the body, mind, and palate.  It blends seamlessly with the herbs I grow and the recipes calling for them.  So I have decided to do a series of sorts all about bees, the honey they make, and recipes that use it.

I have found some wonderful resources, including The National Honey Board and a local bee keeper who turned me on to her supplier and another bee-keeping farm.

Hive at Sug's Honey
Bee Keeper Beverly Wolinski of Sug's Honey

The first thing I want to address about honey is the difference between raw and processed or filtered.  There are probably thousands of recipes floating through the generations that call for honey, and many of them--especially the herbal and beauty ones--call for raw honey.  

From what I have found, the only difference is in the pollen content and consistency.  Now, honey isn't made from pollen.  It's made from nectar.  Pollen occurs in honey purely by happenstance as it falls from the bees in the hive.  When honey is processed (heated) or filtered, the smallest particles, like pollen, and air bubbles are removed, leaving the transparent liquid honey more often seen on store shelves.  But, nutritionally, processed or filtered honey is equal to raw honey.

I have read in countless places that raw honey, with its pollen content, can be beneficial to allergy sufferers.  Especially local raw honey because the pollen in the honey is "the same" as the pollen causing the allergies.  But there is no scientific evidence to support this.  It's a controversial topic, and one I think worth studying, but not by me.  If I hear of evidence one way or the other, I'll let you know.

While honey doesn't necessarily have an expiration date if stored in an air-tight container--it can keep for decades--it does get darker with age, and can "crystalize."  You can use crystalized honey by heating it gently.  However, for any food item, I always keep in mind a rule I used in my vet tech years:  When in doubt, throw it out.  

With those few basic honey facts out of the way, I shall begin this sweet adventure with two skin-care recipes that utilize honey.  Both of these recipes are taken with permission from the National Honey Board.  

Nourishing Facial Mask 

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 aloe vera leaf
Put honey on the exposed end of the aloe leaf.  (This is where the leaf was cut or broken, revealing the healing goop.)  Gently rub the honey-coated leaf on your face and leave on for 15 minutes.  Rinse with cool water.

Honey & Yogurt Purifying Cleanser
  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • lavender water
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Apply cleanser to your face with upward, circular motions for 1-2 minutes.  Rinse with lavender water.

I'd like to try this second recipe, but I don't have lavender water.  I did find recipes for making it, but I'll probably try it using fresh tap water to rinse.  (I'm on well water, and our well and filtration system provides good water.)

Of course you can buy lavender water online or at specialty "natural" type stores, but if you want to make your own, here are two easy recipes:

All Purpose Lavender Water
  • 1/2 tsp lavender essential oil
  • 2 cups water
Bring water to boil, then allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.  Add essential oil and mix well.  Once cool, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

Lavender Bath Water
  • 2 handfuls dried lavender flowers
  • 2 cups boiling water
Place dried lavender flowers in large (3+ cups) measuring container.  Pour boiling water over dried flowers to the 2 cup mark.  Allow to steep until cool, then strain.  

The recipe says to add to bath water, but the ingredients in this one tell me it's fine to use it as a general lavender water.  It may not be as potent a concoction, but it should still do the trick.

What do you use honey for?

This post is part of The Clever Chicks Blog Hop on The Chicken Chick!


  1. Very informative about bee keeping and honey. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I hope to keep these lessons coming as my friend is the bee-keeper in the photos, so I will have lots of hands-on information.

      Thanks for hosting the Blog Hop. (I did realize that I forgot to add the link, but it's there now. ;) ) I get a lot of readers from your page.

      The Sheepish Gardener