Back in 1996, the Harrington family of new York was not yet aware of the healing power of honey.while medical doctors did an incredible job of repairing the severe heart defects Maty Harrington was born with that year, those same doctors were far less able to treat her related and often chronic side effects, such as whole-body psoriasis. there was also the debilitating, post-pregnancy surge of rheumatoid arthritis that attacked her mother, Carolyn.“That’s when I started looking for another way,” said Carolyn Harrington of Pittsford, N.Y. “After just one month of working with a naturopath, Maty’s alopecia (hair loss) started going away. I knew I was on the right track.”Carolyn ultimately uncovered a treasure trove of natural remedies to treat the whole family. For example, in light of her weakened heart, over-the-counter cough and cold medicines were particularly threatening to Maty, but using honey to treat childhood coughs and colds proved safe and effective.Carolyn eventually earned her holistic health practitioner’s license, and in 2009 launched Maty’s Healthy Products (www.matyship.com). the products, derived from buckwheat honey, include children’s cough syrup and two new vapor rubs for infants and adults.“In 2007, a Penn State School of Medicine study came out indicating that buckwheat honey outperformed standard cough medicines and also gave children a better night’s sleep,” said Harrington. “soon afterward, (children’s cough and cold medicines) starting coming off the market (due to safety concerns); it was divine intervention.”Harrington is quick to point out that her buckwheat honey-based children’s cough syrup is not a medicine, a homeopathic remedy nor an herbal.“You’ll recognize all the ingredients,” said Harrington, explaining that honey has been therapeutically utilized for 8,000 years, starting with the early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. “It’s homemade.”beyond the cough and cold arena, honey’s natural properties are also potentially beneficial to athletes.“the glucose content provides an immediate physical boost and the fructose content provides a sustained boost — win-win,” Harrington said. “Honey also fends off muscle fatigue during exercise.”two unique factors, Harrington said, contribute to honey’s ability to ward off bacteria and infection:An extremely low moisture content, which enables it to draw moisture out of wounds, etc., like a super sponge.Strong antibiotic properties, including enzymes that produce hydrogen peroxide.“(Product) sales have been double-digit,” said Harrington, who today enjoys excellent health, along with now 15-year-old Maty. “It’s just a matter of letting people know.”at the Cacoa Tree Café, a smoothie bar and restaurant in Royal Oak, owner Amber Poupore creates Bee Green smoothies, which contain raw local honey and bee pollen. Raw, unfiltered honey is also infused into the delicious, dark chocolates that give the Cacoa Tree Café its name.“we specialize in super foods, nutrient-dense foods,” said Poupore, (http://www.cacaotreecafe.com/), who has long used honey to soothe and heal kitchen burns. “Honey is a complete protein, most foods are not. you have to mix a grain and a bean together to get a complete protein.“Complete proteins are the building blocks of the body.”“They also contribute to mineral absorption, balance and well-being in our blood sugar and promote all the basic premises of good health. just like cacoa (the raw, unprocessed, nutrient-dense beans used to make chocolate),” added Poupore, who creates a chipotle, bee pollen chocolate for her customers.unfortunately, Poupore said, the method by which commercial honey is procured — via a chemical smoke-out process — and heated, cancels out its therapeutic value.“the chemicals go into the honey we consume and it’s not good for us at all,” said Poupore, adding that raw, wild honey has been shown to cure everything from “IBS to ulcers, diarrhea, skin wounds, staff infections and even cancer.”Poupore has also known seasonal allergy sufferers who’ve experienced remarkable improvement by ingesting locally produced honey, which gradually builds up the immune system against local pollens.“It’s like getting allergy shots,” Poupore said, “but less painful.”Bee pollen, tiny, powdery pellets that can be purchased from a health food store or natural grocer are even more “miraculous,” according to Poupore.“If I was diagnosed with cancer, I would immediately add honey and bee pollen to my daily diet,” she said.Honey’s anti-bacterial/antibiotic properties inspired Derma Sciences of new York City to develop a wound-care product using manuku honey from new Zealand.“all honey contains some anti-bacterial properties,” said Barry Wolfenson, head of marketing for Derma Sciences. “but manuka honey, derived from bees who pollinate the Tea Tree in new Zealand, is especially potent.”Derma Sciences’ Medihoney is used by health care professionals around the world to treat stubborn or stalled wounds, including some bed sores, leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers.Locally, beekeeper John Robertson of ‘R’ Bees Honey, near Richmond, has sold his culinary products at the Mount Clemens Farmers Market for years.Robertson is hopeful renewed interest in honey’s healing power will spark greater commitment to its producer, the honey bee, which has been hard hit in Michigan and around the world by colony collapse disorder.This complex phenomenon is believed to be triggered by several factors including parasites, diminishing farmland and radio waves.“Last year was an especially tough winter,” said Robertson, who lost 50 to 80 percent of his hives for the last five years and has been restocking each spring with bees imported from the South. “but I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s not worth the expense.”
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