Monday, August 26, 2013

Mind your own "BEESNEST" Honey


I have been living in the city for several years now.  It seems that every time I leave the city I have a stronger pull to explore nature.  It is like I am a child again - seeing insects, trees, flowers and animals - all for the first time!  So last night my boyfriend Sal and I were walking his property and he says "holy *^$#, I give you 30 seconds to find what I just saw".

There it was, in a small tree at eyelevel, the very first beehive I have ever seen so closely! Despite Sal's warning to keep our distance - my first thought was I need some of that beautiful honey because fall allergy season is quickly approaching - so without a care in the world,  I gleefully raced up to the beehive.  Lucky for us the bees minded their own "BEESNEST" - randomly yet regimentally going in, out, and all around the hive - so I grabbed my phone and started taking photos.  Even after experiencing an undeniable escalation in afternoon "bee air traffic" activity I managed to snap a few amazing shots.  Needless to say the activity around the hive became too close for comfort, so with little effort from Sal, I was  convinced to come back "under the cover of darkness" later in the night. 




Honey has been used for thousands of years.  The uses of honey go beyond our love affair with its sweet taste. Although surprising enough, it is organic natural sugar, has no additives, immune from spoilage, and the amount of sugar prevents micro-organisms from existing.

Scientists have revealed that honey has powerful anti-bacterial properties on at least sixty species of bacteria, and unlike antibiotics, which are often useless against certain types of bacteria, honey is non-toxic and has strong effects.  The composition of honey includes sugars such as glucose and fructose, and also the minerals magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. Depending on the quality of the nectar and pollen, the vitamins contained in honey are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C. 

Wound Dressings

This is great in first aid when applied as a dressing.  When honey is used topically, hydrogen peroxide is produced by dilution of the honey with body fluids. As a result, hydrogen peroxide is released slowly and acts as an antiseptic.  The clinical observations recorded are that infection is rapidly cleared, inflammation, swelling and pain are quickly reduced, odor is reduced, sloughing of necrotic tissue is induced, and healing occurs rapidly with minimal scarring.  Honey may also prevent the dressing from sticking to the healing wound.

Topical honey has been used successfully in a treatment of diabetic ulcers, against drug resistant strains of bacteria MRSA and when topical antibiotics cannot be used.  Try using a raw honey on your next wound.

Internal Healing

Honey helps the body to heal itself similar to a homeopathic remedy.  Homeopathic means, “like cures like”.  In helping the body to heal itself in conditions such as seasonal allergies, asthma and respiratory conditions, raw honey must be used from your local area. 

Dosage would be one tablespoon 3-6 times per day taken straight or in tea.

Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources is used as a sealant in unwanted open spaces in the hive. [1] Propolis boosts the immune system and is anti-viral and anti-inflammatory.  It can be bought from your local health food stores or from a local beekeeper as lozengers, tincture, creams and ointments or oral sprays for:

1.      Sore throats or oral irritations
2.      Minor burns
3.      Infections
4.      Genital herpes
5.      Shingles

Similar (but obviously not recommended, unless you are well versed in the husbandry of Apoideas and Antophilas) to our magnificent hive discovery, to obtain the most beneficial healing effects from honey and propolis, the bounty from one’s local fauna and flora shall serve them best. Keep in mind if you have environmental or seasonal allergies it is most likely due to the geographic location where you live coupled with (and amplified by) the changing seasons.  Therefore, the local natural ingredients gathered by your local honey bees will most likely produce the most potent honey and propolis for those “local folks” who happen to be suffering from those very same local environmental or seasonal allergies.        




Monday, August 12, 2013

Vegan forms of DHA

I was asked a very good question this morning...How do vegans obtain DHA in pregnancy.

Developing infants cannot efficiently produce their own DHA and must obtain this vital nutrient through the placenta during pregnancy and from breast milk following birth. Increasing DHA in the diet during pregnancy and nursing significantly enhances the level of DHA available to the unborn baby and infant.

DHA omega-3 is found throughout the body, but is most abundant in the brain, eyes and heart. In fact, DHA represents about 97 percent of all omega-3 fats in the brain and 93 percent of all omega-3 fats in the retina in the eye. DHA accumulates both prenatally and postnatally in infant brain, eye and nervous system tissue.

What are the benefits of DHA in pregnancy?

DHA is important for optimal infant brain and eye development. DHA is important throughout pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester when major brain growth occurs. Increasing DHA intake during pregnancy and nursing significantly enhances the level of DHA available to the fetus and infant. Some studies support that supplementation of DHA in the mother’s diet improves these infant developmental outcomes:
  • eye-hand coordination
  • motor skills
  • attention span

How much DHA is needed in pregnancy?

A woman’s DHA levels are diet dependant. Women consuming the standard American diet of childbearing age are at risk of low stores of DHA. This is because the primary dietary sources of DHA are fatty fish and organ meats and pregnant and nursing women are advised to limit their fish consumption due to the potentially high levels of toxins such as mercury.
As awareness of the importance of DHA grows, more attention is being paid to the fact that pregnant and breastfeeding women may benefit from getting more DHA in their diets.

The EFSA Scientific Panel recommends "pregnant and nursing women should consume an additional 100-200 mg DHA daily in addition to the 250 mg omega-3 intake recommended by EFSA for adults".

I recommend that pregnant and nursing women consume 300mg of DHA per day all the way through their pregnancy as well as prenatally and postnatally especially if breast feeding. A growing understanding of the dietary sources of DHA and the inclusion of DHA into a growing number of prenatal supplements are making it easier for women of childbearing age to include this important nutrient in their diets every day.

What are dietary sources of DHA?

  • Algae - Certain microalgae are natural sources of DHA. While most people believe that fish produce their own DHA, in fact, it’s the algae they feed on that make them a rich source of DHA. A natural vegetarian source of DHA can now be produced from microalgae and is currently available in dietary supplements, fortified foods, and a number of infant formulas sold worldwide.
  • Fatty fish: anchovies, salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and halibut
  • Organ meat: liver
  • Poultry and egg yolks contain small amounts
  • There is a common misconception that flaxseed oil is a dietary source of DHA. However, flaxseed oil is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, a precursor of DHA. ALA has no known independent benefits on brain or eye development and function, compared to DHA. Although the human body can convert ALA to DHA, the process is inefficient and variable.