A spoonful of honey can work wonders
www.chinaview.cn 2008-08-26 09:08:26   Print

    BEIJING, Aug. 26 -- It's one of nature's healthiest foods and a favorite in traditional Chinese medicine, writes Zhang Qian

    For many Chinese people, it's become a habit to add honey to milk, spread it on bread, or just simply stir some into a cup of warm water for breakfast every morning.

    It's not just for the sweet taste but more for its rich nutrition and special function in traditional Chinese medicine, such as dispelling toxins and pathogenic heat, relieving pain and nourishing yin (cold) energy.

    Honey, composed of various micro-elements such as vitamins, iron, calcium and copper as well as various enzymes, is a great nutritious supplement. And with about 80 percent of it easily assimilated glucose and fructose, honey is suitable for almost everyone, especially for elderly people with a weak digestive system.

    Apart from its widely recognized nutritional value, honey is also Chinese people's favorite as a "neutral" food with medicinal properties. In the "Compendium of Materia Medica," the TCM classic by pharmacist Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), honey can help dispel pathogenic heat, clear away toxins, relieve pain and combat dehydration.

    Eating honey often can help nourish yin energy and strengthen the spleen, resulted in clear sight and rosy cheeks. Have honey every morning can help prevent constipation and it is also a good choice for those who suffer chronic coughing.

    Taking water with honey can help as a hangover cure as well as protect the liver. Spreading honey on a burn can help relieve pain as well as prevent infection and accelerate healing. And recent research also shows that having a spoon of honey before bed can aid sleep and a cup of water and honey at morning and at night can help relieve high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and other related diseases.

    Honey made from different flower pollen can have different health properties. Honey made from flowers of coptis, loquat, chaste tree, Chinese scholar tree and Chinese milk vetch can help dispel pathogenic heat most effectively. Those of the common vetch, wild rose and motherwort can help you achieve beautiful skin and rosy cheeks. Those of wolfberry, orange and loquat can help moisten the lungs. Those of cassia, shizandra, jujube, orange and sesame are good for stomach.

    If you suffer sleeplessness, try honey made from flours of longan, shizandra, jujube and apple. And any kind of honey can help relieve and prevent constipation.

    Stirring honey into warm water is the most convenient way to eat it but use water cooler than 40 degrees Celsius.

    For those with stomach problem, choosing the right time to eat honey is crucial. Having honey one and a half hours before a meal can help limit the gastric acid secretion having honey right before a meal usually results in a great amount of gastric acid in the stomach.

    Warm honey water can dilute gastric acid while cold honey water will stimulate the stomach to secrete more acid and accelerate the intestine movement, resulting in light diarrhea. Therefore, those with excessive gastric acid, hypertrophic gastritis, stomach ulcers or duodenum ulcers are advised to have warm honey water one and half hours before a meal while those with insufficient gastric acid or atrophic gastritis are advised to have cold honey water right before a meal.

    Though honey is good, it is not suitable for diabetes mellitus patients and baby less than one year old.

    Of course, you can also have honey together with many other foods such as milk, bread, juice or congee. But remember, never eat it together with soybean curd, onion, leek, garlic and uncooked scallion and this can cause sickness.

    Honey pear

    Ingredients: A pear and loquat honey

    Method: 1. Peel the pear and chop it into slices.

    2. Spread loquat honey on it and have it often.

    Function: Nourishes lungs, dissolves phlegm and relieves coughing and infection.     

    Honey bread

    Ingredients: Bread or biscuits and honey

    Method: 1. Spread honey on the bread (biscuits)

    2. Have it before drinking.

    3. Drink honey water after drinking.

    Function: Relieves hangover and protects the liver.     

    Sesame honey milk

    Ingredients: Black sesame powder (15g), honey (30g) and milk (30g)

    Method: 1. Mix the ingredients together and stir.

    2. Have it in the morning on an empty stomach.

    Function: Relieves constipation for women after labor, or in elderly people. It can also help keep hair black.     

    Lotus root and honey juice

    Ingredients: Lotus root juice (100g) and honey (30g)

    Method: 1. Mix the ingredients and stir.

    2. Have once a day for several days.

    Function: Relieves coughing, dry and sore throat, and nose bleeding.

    Spreading fresh honey on skin can help keep it smooth, soft and flexible. Here are some facial prescriptions that are easy to make.     

    Glycerol and honey mask

    Method: 1. Mix one portion of honey, half portion of glycerol and three portions of water. Stir it with flour.

    2. Spread the mixture evenly on the face.

    3. Wash it off in 20 minutes.

    Function: Helps get fine and smooth skin.    

    Egg and honey mask

    Method: 1. Stir an egg with a spoonful of honey.

    2. Spread the mixture on face with a soft brush and massage a little.

    3. Wash it off when you feel it tighten.

    Function: Nourishes skin and relieves wrinkles.     

    Grape juice and honey mask

    Method: 1. Mix equal amounts of honey and grape juice. Stir it with flour.

    2. Spread the mixture evenly on the face.

    3. Wash it off in 20 minutes.

    Function: Helps keep oily skin smooth and soft.    

    Method: Dilute honey with water and spread it on dry parts of hands and feet.

    Function: Prevents chapping in winter.

    (Source: Shanghai Daily)

Editor: An
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