Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Honey, do

A few weeks ago I attended a mead making class with a good friend. Since mead is wine made with honey and yeast, the instructor also provided a lot of background information about honey before we got started. I was surprised to learn that it is a good source of B vitamins and has antibacterial qualities: it has low water molecule transport properties and is highly acidic, preventing the growth of microorganisms. You can use honey on cuts or an an antiseptic gargle, and some posit that eating locally harvested honey helps prevent seasonal allergies.

Bean has been sick this week: poor little bug has two ear infections, conjunctivitis, and a dry cough. Her doctor prescribed an antibiotic for the infections, but does not recommend using over-the-counter cold medicines to ease symptoms such as runny nose and cough until she's much older. And, indeed, there has been a lot of information in the news lately about the dangers associated with giving these readily available cold meds to babies and young children.

So I decided to put honey to the test to help Bean's cough. I dissolved a teaspoon of the golden sticky goodness in lukewarm water, and she stopped coughing after a couple sips. And of course she liked the taste. My hubby had a sore throat, so I made him a gargle with honey, lemon juice, and water, and that gave him some relief, too.

It's good to have this natural, inexpensive, safe remedy in my mommy arsenal. (Please note: honey is NOT safe for children under one year of age.)

Personally, I became addicted to honey while reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, eating it by the spoonful straight from the jar. Do all those good qualities counteract the calories??? Judging by the size of my...hive...I'd guess not. ;-)


NuttyMeatfruit said...

Why is it that you shouldn't give honey to babies under a year old?

BeanMa said...

Hi Nuttymeatfruit,

There are spores naturally present in honey that can cause botulism in infants. These spores are easily destroyed and digested in more mature digestive tracts.