Honey as Food and Medicine
Growing up in rural Jamaica, my first exposure to honey was the occasional crude extraction by villagers from the oddly discovered swarm in a tree trunk somewhere. When the excitement was over us boys would arrive on the scene to receive bits of honeycomb dripping with honey.
A rare, sweet, sticky liquid that adults risked getting stung to reap.
But mama would somehow have some homemade remedy which included honey. Don't ask me now but my mother would be called upon to treat her large brood for the many emergencies attendant upon a farmyard setting.
My sisters would polish the wooden floor with straw dye and beeswax, using coconut brushes.
And that was my early introduction to the land of the honeybee.
Over the years I have used honey with lime for colds. If I suspect the need for stronger antibiotic formulation i would heat olive oil (or any available cooking oil) with mildly beaten garlic, remove from heat, add honey and salt, and take right away. I have had great results, even with my children.
Cider Vinegar and Honey
So round about 1988 I ran into Bragg's books on the use of honey and cider vinegar at a small health food store/restaurant in Liguanea. Back then there were maybe just three or four vegetarian restaurants in Kingston.
Have you ever noticed that a health food business in Jamaica is usually operated by a Rastafarian or a Seventh-day Adventist? They both point back to the biblical creation for diet and lifestyle, yet hold fundamentally different theological formulations.
This well-run veggie eatery and supply store was owned by a pleasant Adventist couple. I would drive through the midday traffic from Cross Roads to dine there; and for bonus I would take a peek at the Bragg's small book on Cider vinegar.
Right away I started purchasing cider vinegar and honey. Now I am hopelessly underweight, so I used the formula designed to improve the immune system and gain weight. Laugh out loud.
But I experienced improved wellness, could have been mind over matter.
Seriously the formula was something like this:
1 teaspoon of Cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of honey
1 or 2 drops of lugols of iodine
Mix in one glass of water and drink before meal.
DISCLAIMER: this is not a medical prescription and I waive all responsibilities for anyone using this etc etc.
Procrastination is sometimes my middle name; because it took me nearly 5 years to ask a pharmacist to prepare lugols of iodine for me.
No weight gain but I believe I benefited from the overall benefits of the honey and cider vinegar combination.
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Honey and Cinnamon
Honey and I have renewed our passionate love again, this time with with a dash of cinnamon, powdered cinnamon bark.
Started strangely enough with a visit to a cousin who has been suffering from stomach cancer. He related his very expensive encounter with orthodox medicine, and informed me of more expensive treatments to come. I encouraged him with three things:
- Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Patients have had their life prolonged with lifestyle changes plus medicine.
- I believed in the benefits of modern medicine.
- I have a stronger belief in the combination of modern medicine with alternative methods.
His wife reminded me to add a fourth: faith in God. Of course I was holding that for last since I did not know him to be a devout. I am sure he has some belief.
Later in the visit, before we prayed, I shared my views on the sovereignty of God over time and eternity, the inevitability of the grave, and the need for gospel hope.
But back to honey. At the point where I advocated exploring alternative medicine, he stepped out of the room and returned with a document which discussed the uses of honey and cinnamon for cancer and other ailments, including arthritis.
Arthritis! At that time I was suffering from arthritic pain in my wrists and fingers.
"Wait," I said, "I'm really here to pay a visit to a cancer patient, and i don't want to take the attention from the purpose of my visit to encourage you, but right now I am suffering from arthritis. I love honey but i cant say I've heard of honey and cinnamon. Let me read this one on arthritis."
I turned to my wife "It says the powdered cinnamon, we must get some, I want to try this one for my arthritis."
When I arrived home I was thrilled to discover that I already had powdered cinnamon. I promptly obtained honey and started drinking the honey and cinnamon powder in a cup of hot water. Call it mind over matter but I improved within 24 hours.
Warning: Cassia is widely sold as cinnamon and contains a noteworthy quantity of a toxin known as coumarin. You must limit or avoid your use of the cassia product as a medicine.
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