The fossil record tells us honeybees have been around for 150 million years or more. No one knows when we discovered the treasure hidden in their hives, but paintings of beekeepers lining the walls of a cave in Spain prove that we have been practicing the art of beekeeping for at least 7,000 years. Honey is versatile. It has been prized as a sweetener, as medicine, as an offering for the Gods, as currency, and as a symbol of love. In Greek mythology, for example, Cupid dips his arrows in honey before aiming them at our hearts.
Honey also shows up in scripture. The Qur'an describes rivers of honey in paradise, and the Old Testament speaks of the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. This golden elixir also appears in the Veda. (The Sanskrit word for honey is madhu).
According to ayurveda, honey is the nectar of life. It can also heal sore throats, colds, coughs, ulcers, burns and wounds. And when ingested with a healing herb (like ashwagandha), honey travels to the deepest tissues, transporting the chemical properties and the subtle energies of medicine to the cellular level.
Ayurvedic texts are full of honey-based remedies for a wide range of ailments.
For obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, drink a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of honey and 5 to 10 drops of apple cider vinegar early in the morning daily. (Ayurvedic texts say honey scrapes fat and cholesterol from the body's tissues.)
To relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, take 1 teaspoon of honey with 200 mg powdered guggulu daily.
To heal oral ulcers, apply one teaspoon honey and a pinch of turmeric to canker sores, mouth ulcers, or sores on the tongue. This mixture will generate saliva and draw out toxins; spit it out to speed the healing process.
For internal ulcers , mix a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey twice daily.
To heal a wound, dress it daily with sterilised gauze brushed with honey; dispose at night.
For the common cold, mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with one teaspoon honey and eat two or three times a day.
To clear your sinuses, take a mixture of one teaspoon each of fresh ginger juice and honey two or three times a day.
For asthma, eat a mixture made of 1/2 teaspoon bay leaf powder, 1/4 teaspoon pippali, and one teaspoon of honey two or three times daily.
For nausea, vomiting, and indigestion, mix one part lemon juice with one part honey. Dip your index finger into this mixture and lick it slowly twice daily.
For anxiety, drink one cup of orange juice with one teaspoon of honey and a pinch of nutmeg powder twice daily.
To help reduce the craving for cigarettes, chew small pieces of pineapple with 1/2 teaspoon of honey before smoking.
For abdominal pain, take a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon ajwan (celery seeds), and one teaspoon of honey before lunch and dinner daily.
For chronic fever, make a tea of one teaspoon of holy basil (tulsi) and one cup of hot water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder and one teaspoon of honey. Take two or three times a day.
To aid poor circulation, mix one teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon trikatu, and one teaspoon honey in one cup of hot water. Stir for 10 minutes. Take twice a day.
To stop hiccups, mix one teaspoon honey and one teaspoon castor oil in a container. Dip your index finger into the mixture and lick it. Repeat every 10 minutes until your hiccups stop. (Hiccups are due to spasm of the diaph- ragm, and these ingredients in equal proportion are anti-spasmodic.)
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