The Secret Power of Honey

Honey can be considered the edible gold, due to all its medicinal properties. Honey have been part of peoples diet since the ancient times. While excavating the great pyramids in Egypt, archaeologists recently discovered jars of honey in an old tomb dating back 3000 years, and the honey was still perfectly edible.  That means that due to many of the medicinal properties in honey, it can virtually last forever.

Honey comes from the laborious process of bees assimilating pollen from the flowers in the area. To make one pound of honey,  it is estimated that around 60.000 bees have collected pollen from about 2 million flowers! That is a lot of hard work, which I think is also good to be mindful of when consuming honey.

 

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In this article we will discuss the various healing benefits of honey, which are:

  • Reduce allergy symptoms to pollen. By eating a daily dose of honey, you also ingest trace amounts of pollen. Therefore ingesting honey on a regular basis, and at least several months before the pollen season starts, can be an effective way to reduce allergy symptoms to pollen. Additional tip: I would recommend using honey from your region for optimal effect, as the pollen in the honey comes from where you live.
  • Treat wounds to speed up the healing. Honey has long been considered a good remedy to treat woulds, dating back to the teachings of Aristotle. When you cut your skin, I would advice to put a bit of honey in the wound. This will speed up the recovery time of the healing. Recent discovery have found even better effect upon using a particular honey called Manuka Honey for this purpose. Further research have also found a healing factor, and the reason why this is so effective in treating wounds. At the time I am writing this, it is uncertain what this ingredient is, so it is simply called the “Unique Manuka Factor” (UMF).
  • Treatment of stomach ulcers. Here also Manuka Honey comes out as the most effective, as it has shown effect in killing the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which are commonly causing stomach ulcers. Honey in general is good for the stomach lining, so therefore all honey is beneficial. Honey can therefore also help treating gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) and soothe acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Treat herpes breakouts. If honey is applied directly on sores, it can have a healing effect. The reason for this healing effect is as with wounds, that it heals the mucosal lining and helps treating microorganism. Also, honey contain a bit of hydrogen peroxide, which further cleanses the wound.
  • Energy enhancer. Honey can be used to boost ones vitality. Honey is useful to give a boost when one feels fatigued. Ingestion of honey right before, during or right after a workout session can increase athletic performance.
  • Cough suppressant and treat sinusitis problems
  • Sleep inducer. The simple sugars in honey causes your insulin level to rise, which then elevates the neurotransmitter serotonin. This, in turn, converts to melatonin (also called the sleep-inducing hormone)honey-823614_1280
  • Treats a dry and itchy scalp. Honey has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore works well for an itchy scalp. To help with these matters, apply a diluted solution of honey and water to the hair and scalp, and leave for a few hours, before rinsing it out. Honey can also be great as a conditioner, as it moisturizes your hair.
  • Anti-fungal and digestive aid. Evidence have shown that honey have anti-fungal properties. Therefore, daily consumption of honey can be a great supplement as a digestive aid
  • Treat acne. Honey contain humectants that acts as moisturizer on your skin, and at the same time kills bacteria that causes acne. For best effect, leave raw, unprocessed honey on the skin affected with acne, and rinse off after 30 minutes.
  • Hangover cure. Honey helps to speed up the oxidation of alcohol in the liver, and at the same time gives you an energy boost. Try adding turmeric and lots of fresh water, and you will get back in shape in no time.
  • Boost libido. Honey is a natural aphrodisiac, and therefore good to boost ones desires in the bedroom. According to Hippocrates, intake of honey will increase your sex drive.

To boost ones energy, I recommend as a morning routine of lemonwater with honey.  In Ayurveda there is also a healing elixir called Golden Milk, a healing tea that is made by adding turmeric, honey, almond milk, and pepper to hot water and let it simmer for 10 minutes. This has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties for a good night’s sleep.

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How To Boost Vitality

Do you feel the occational lack of energy, or is every day a drag, where you have to force your way through it? There are ways to leave you feel more envigorated, energized and vital. Do you want to know what that is? Ok, great! Let’s go:

  • Get proper amount of good sleep. The key here is sleeping enough.
  • Stress down. Get adequate amounts relax during the day. Deep breathing, feeling your stomach moves with the breathing is a good way to lower ones stress level, aka taking a breather. Also, don’t set your mind to doing more than you are capable of, as this will only stress you more. Learning to say no is something many could be better at.
  • Tend to your thyroid. This is related to the point above.
  • Take care of you gastro-intestinal tract, as this really influences your energy level.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, in the right amounts is both healthy and a good way to boost vitality. Interval workout, with high intensity bursts of exercise alternated with intermittent resting periods is a good way to improve circulation in the body. I can recommend a book called Spark, by  John Ratley on this subject.
  • Regularly stretch out your body. It is particularly important to have a flexible back, as it influences the circulation of your body.
  • Eat regular meals. By eating regularly you maintain a more balanced blood sugar, and consecuently leaving you with more energy.
  • Eat your veggies. Eating enough vegetables is a very important measure to making sure that the energy level is maintained at optimal levels. Drinking juice of clean, organic vegetalbes on an empty stomach, is a good way to get a lot of these phyto-nutrients in your system (use the fibers for something else, like in a smoothie). Eating a salad of vegetables prior, during or after a heavy meal will make you digest the food much better due to the enzymes, fibers and other nutrients in vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of clean water. First of all, make sure your tap water is clean. If not, there are many ways to make the water cleaner. I would advise to install an activated charcoal filter on the tap, or use a mug for the same purpose. Then make sure you drink enough water regularly, 2-3 liters of water depending on your daily activity.
  • Make sure you have enough vitamin B12 and iron, as a lack of these will influence your energy. The nutritional status also depend on how your digestion and absorption of nutrients are. I could also recommend eating pumpkin seeds, as they are rich in iron. If you want the nutrients from seeds, nuts, beans and lentils to be more easily assimilated, you could sprout them. This also has a very positive effect on energy and vitality.
  • You could also try to take supplements to boost vitality, which include maca, mucuna, licorize (not if high blood pressure). Choose a well renowned brand, as the quality tend to be better.
  • There are also ways to boost energy and vitality through what I call energy workout. This includes qi gong, tai chi, yoga and many more. This is a very good way of gradually building up ones vitality.

Remember, take it slow. Gradual progress is much better, than aiming too high too soon.

 

The Health Benefits Of Sleeping

Do you remember last time you woke up feeling refreshed and fully awake. No? Well, don’t despair. You are in good company. Sleep deprivation is more common now than it has ever been before. This is the reason why many health experts, bloggers, journalist and many more are starting to write about the importance of sleep. Just look at the thrive movement generated by Arianna Huffington.

Now, why do we commonly lack proper sleep? One of the main reason is stress. While a normal amount of stress may be healthy, chronic sleep may cause a detrimental effect on the body. Too much stress (aka adrenaline) in the body makes it difficult for the mind to shut down for sleep, and may also stress the body even during sleep. Do you crave that pick me up coffee in the morning, so that you can function properly. Then this might be a sign that the body need more restful sleep.

You may ask, do we really need those eight hours of sleep every night. Well, while you might train the body to function with less sleep, it is my opinion that over a course of time, this is not advisable. Studies have linked higher risk of diseases such as cancer with the chronic lack of sleep. The reason for this is that less sleep over a course of time stress the body, and influence the various hormones and immune system, and may eventually lead to a range of ailments in down the line. The challenge is linking the lack of sleep with the development of disease.

In my clinic I have many patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. Some sleep eight, nine, ten, or even twelve hours each day, but they don’t get fully rested, and wake up feeling more tired than when they went to bed. Here the reasons are multifocal. Investigation to reveal the true reasons for this, we have to reflect on many aspects of pathogenesis (development of disease). How is the nutrient value, as for instance a lack of vitamin B12, folate, iron, iodine to name a few will potentially lead to fatigue. Thyroid and adrenal issues are a common problem. As I have covered in previous articles, the gut flora may also play its part here.

In this years annual conference at Institute for Functional Medicine in the US the main theme was about sleep – how sleep deprivation affect our health, and what to do about it. Here is a list of general advice to have a more peaceful sleep:

  • No blue light one hour before bedtime. You may not realize it, but daylight contains a lot of blue color. This blocks our own melatonin production, leaving us more awake during the day. Normally, in the evening blue light fades away. Due to our modern technology, TV, computers, tablets, mobiles and so on usually have blue light. This has the effect to block our own healthy melatonin production, leaving us with less melatonin for that good nights sleep. What is interesting is that now many of the computers and mobiles have a function where blue light (aka night mode) can be turned on.
  • Do something relaxing before going to bed. Deep breathing is a very effective way to calm the body and mind. Meditation before bed is also a good way to calm that mental chatter, commonly called monkey mind. Doing some peaceful activity such as a nice walk in nature, intimate conversation, or drinking some sleep tea is also beneficial.
  • The bed is only for sleep (++). Don’t bring laptops, mobiles, TV, newspapers, books and so on into the bed before going to bed.
  • Go to bed before midnight. If you manage to go to bed at 10-11 pm on a regular basis, this will leave you with more energy in the long run.

Haukeland University Hospital have done a lot of research on sleep, and found that one effective way to aid sleep is by taking 1 mg of Melatonin 3-4 hours before going to bed. The theory behind this is that this small dosage does not interfere with our own melatonin production, while larger dosages might. I have used 1 mg Melatonin on many patients, and who have noticed a great improvement in sleep.

I truly believe that sleeping better will truly make one thrive, and enable one to live more to ones full potential.

Sleep well

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