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Surprising Facts About Honey

Honey

The uses of honey in Ayurvedic medicines dates back almost 4,000 years. Honey, when blended together in preparation with other ingredients, enhances their medicinal value. It has been shown to improve eyesight, speed up weight loss, and cure impotence. Honey also helps in treating urinary tract disorders, diarrhea, asthma, and nausea. It is also said to treat disorders such as bacterial gastroenteritis and ulcers.

In ancient times, athletes used to consume honey to enhance their endurance level, reduce muscle fatigue, and instantly boost their performance. Honey is also known to help in recovery and maintaining glycogen levels. Before swim meets, when I was younger, we would eat a honey stick before our races to give us an extra instant energy boost.

It is a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease and even cure some cancers. The mix of fructose and glucose in honey helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. And because of the presence of an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide, honey contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties allowing it to be a good toner and even cleanser.

Honey can do wonders for your skin. That’s why you will find it in many skin-care products today. Honey acts as a great anti-aging agent and moisturizer. Here are some easy recipes to make honey-based face masks and exfoliators that you can try at home.

Facial Mask

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon honey (preferably raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Yolk of an egg

Method

Blend all of them together and apply it to face.

Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.

This mask will help you remove sun tan and give a glowing look.

Alternative Facial Mask

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fuller’s earth (multani mitti)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Method

Mix them well to form a thick paste.

Apply it to skin and leave it for 15 minutes.

Wash it off with warm water.

Facial Exfoliator

Ingredients

  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar

Method

Mix them and gently rub it on your skin.

Leave it for about 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Honey cleanses your skin, lemon juice brightens it up, and sugar works as an awesome exfoliator for those hard-to-get areas. Use this exfoliator to remove dead skin cells from their roots. This also helps in getting rid of blackheads. Exfoliation is good for oily as well as dry skin. Just use once a week.

Aromatherapy-Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Essential Oils are the key ingredient with Aromatherapy. They are known as pure essences from plants that are natures gift to the human body and spirit. These oils are extremely beneficial and give off scents and health giving properties.

These oils, derived from plants, are used to promote good health. The beneficial effects of essential oils are applied many ways, through baths, massage, compresses, vaporizers, and so on.

It cannot be stressed too often how important it is to use pure, natural, authentic oils as aromatherapy uses the complexity of the plants to deliver therapeutic qualities.

Caring and where you store your oils is extremely important. Oils are extremely volatile, which can easily be affected by the environment, light, temperature, air, and moisture. They must be stored in cool and dry places.

I’m going to focus on one essential oil: lavender. Lavender is one of the most valuable oils for the treatment of acne, according to aromatherapists. Here are twenty conditions that lavender can improve.

  1. Aching Muscles

    Put a few drops in your bath water for aching muscles.

  2. Acne

    Bacteria thrives on the over-secretion of sebum. Lavender rebalances this to reduce scarring. Add a few drops of lavender oil to a plain cream or lotion. It is safe to use everyday.

  3. Bacteria

    Can use lavender to help fight infection.

  4. Cuts and Wounds

    Apply oil to soothe pain, This prevents bacterial infection and aid scar-free healing.

  5. Ear ache

    Warm a bottle of lavender oil in hot water for a minute or two, then massage a few drops gently into the skin around the ears and throat.

  6. Eczema

    Stroke infused lavender oil into dry, itchy skin.

  7. Fatigue

    Add five drops of lavender oil to a hot foot bath and relax while your feet soak in it. Lavender reaches your bloodstream quickly, exerting its stimulating and soothing effects on various systems of your body.

  8. Fevers

    For babies or small children, sponge them down very gently with tepid water to which you have added a drop of lavender oil. This works for adults also.

  9. Faintness

    Make your own smelling salts—sea salt, lavender oil, peppermint oil, and basil oil.

  10. Insomnia

    To help to induce sleep, put three to four drops of lavender oil on your pillow. For babies, add one drop of lavender and geranium oil in a carrier oil and massage into a baby’s back or put a few drops in their bedtime bath.

  11. Long Travel

    Keep lavender in your hand luggage and roll it over your pulse points to help you keep a clear head during those endless hours in the air.

  12. Menstrual Cramps

    Massage a few drops of lavender into your lower abdomen or apply a hot compress onto the area.

  13. Moths, Midges, and Mosquitos

    These bugs hate the smell of lavender. To prevent bites, splash yourself with lavender oil before you go out at sunset or to bed, put three to four drops of oil on your pillow. Lavender oil is also a remedy for insect bites, soothing itching and inflammation: dab it on to the bites as soon as possible. To keep moths off your clothes, hang lavender bags on your coat hangers, or keep them among your sweaters, and refresh them with a drop or two of lavender oil from time to time.

  14. Scabies

    Rub your whole body with neat lavender oil, then following every day until better with a mixture of lavender oil and alcohol. Change and wash bedding and clothes and sprinkle lavender oil on the mattress.

  15. Shingles

    Combine a mix of lavender oil with analgesic, antiviral and scar preventing essential oils neat or on compresses on the agonizing lesions of shingles. It usually produces a cure within five to eight days.

  16. Sinusitis

    Lavender is one of several essential oils that aromatherapists recommend for inhalations to relieve sinuses.

  17. Stress and Anxiety

    Keep a spritzer of Lavender Mist—Hydrosol handy to spray on your face during the day, or apply lavender oil neat to your temples.

  18. Sunburn

    Spray pure Lavender Mist—Hydrosol directly onto the skin or pour it into a cool-to-lukewarm bath and soak for ten minutes.

  19. Headache

    Mist around your head is refreshing and soothing. Alternatively, make a compress of a piece of gauze sprinkled with a few drops of lavender oil and apply to the forehead, or massage a few drops into the forehead, temples, and nape of the neck.

  20. Minor Burns

    After you have cooled the area by putting it in cold water for a few minutes, stroke on lavender oil. Pain relief is almost immediate, and burns usually heal without scarring.

Benefits of Vanilla

Vanilla Beans

Last week, I wrote about the Vanilla Plant. But vanilla is much more than just a sweet and fragrant flavor. Pure vanilla extract possesses several medicinal properties and can be beneficial for your health in various ways.

  1. Treats Anxiety and Depression

    Certain neurological studies have shown that vanilla extract can have a huge effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Vanilla scent is specifically helpful for this purpose. For example, sipping water or milk containing vanilla has helped cure people with these disorders.

  2. Assists Weight Loss

    Certain studies have shown that vanilla extract can help people lose weight. Though exercise and diet play a primary role in weight loss, these efforts can be supplemented with the intake of vanilla extract for greater and perhaps faster benefits.

  3. Relieves Nausea

    One of the best benefits of vanilla extract is that it can help calm the stomach in case of a feeling of nausea. All you need to do is add a few drops of vanilla extract to a glass of water and sip.

  4. Treats Cough

    Cough syrups often contain vanilla extract as a flavoring to mask the awful taste. Though further research is needed in this regard, the properties of vanilla extract can relieve symptoms such as pain from a sore throat or from a cough.

  5. Improves Dental Health

    Vanillin in vanilla is similar to capsaicin in chili peppers. This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system. Vanilla can help fight toothache and infection.

  6. Treats Digestive Disorders

    Vanilla infused herbal tea can relieve digestive problems. A traditional remedy for vomiting and stomach upsets is to boil water with vanilla beans. Its rich aroma is effective in easing bloating.

You might find this surprising, but the benefits of vanilla extend to your skin. It is used as an ingredient in several skincare products like body lotions, lip balms, body butters, and creams to impart fragrance, but it has other skin benefits as well.

  1. Treatment of Acne

    The antibacterial properties of vanilla make it beneficial for the treatment of acne. Vanillin, through its antibacterial effects, helps cleanse your skin, reducing the occurrence of pimples and acne.

  2. Anti-aging Benefits

    Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its fragrance and anti-aging benefits.

  3. Soothes Burns

    Vanilla is used as a traditional remedy to heal burns, wounds, and cuts. Concentrated vanilla extracts or essential oil should not be applied directly on recent burns. However, topical treatments containing vanilla extracts might be helpful.

  4. Promotes Healthy Skin

    Vanilla is a good source of vitamin B, which plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. The antioxidant properties of vanilla protect your skin from damage caused by the environment.

For a facial masque, all you need to do is slice open five vanilla beans to scrape out its seeds. Add these seeds together with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 drops vanilla essential oil to freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the ingredients and apply it on your face. Massage for a few minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Then rinse.

The Vanilla Plant

Vanilla Plant Illustration

The vanilla flavor is well known all over the world, but only some of us are aware of its source and origin. There is much more about this flavor that has been a part of many different desserts for centuries.

Vanilla ice cream, and other desserts that we love eating, attribute their flavor to the presence of an extract derived from vanilla beans. These beans are sun-dried pods obtained from orchids of the genus Vanilla. It’s fragrance and amazingly soft and sweet flavor make it a popular ingredient in sweet drinks and confectioneries. Obtaining these beans is a labor-intensive process.

The vanilla plant is an herbaceous climbing vine that requires a supporting tree or pole for optimal growth. It has trumpet-shaped flowers which are naturally pollinated by bees and hummingbirds. Vanilla pods turn yellow as they grow to be about 5 to 8 inches long and are ready to bloom. These are harvested, placed in boiling water, sweated, and sun-dried for a few weeks until they turn dark brown and wrinkled. The white crystalline essence known as vanillin is extracted from these quality beans. This essence is referred to as the vanilla flavor.

The most common form of vanilla is vanilla extract which is prepared by soaking chopped vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water for about 48 hours. The mixture is stored for several months and then filtered. Several varieties of vanilla are available in the market; Madagascar vanilla is the most widely used accounting for 75% of vanilla production. Tahiti and Mexico supply the majority of the rest.

Vanilla pods contain several tiny black seeds which are used to flavor many desserts and chocolates. Vanillin is the essence of vanilla bean, but artificial vanillin is also produced on a large scale from wood pulp by-products. The vanilla flavoring is often a blend of pure and imitation vanilla. The appearance of tiny black specks in a vanilla flavored dish is an indication that real vanilla beans were used.

The nutritional value of vanilla makes it beneficial for your skin, hair, and health. Vanilla extract is known as the storehouse of essential oils, vitamins, and minerals as well as sugars.

Next week, I’ll post about the health and skin benefits of vanilla.