It has been an unrelenting winter so far, and even if you're not in the path of the polar vortex of snow, ice and freezing temperatures, you're probably dealing with a few challenges that are common in the winter season. For my patients, family, friends and neighbors, honey is one of my favorite natural defense secrets, especially when it comes to those nagging coughs that are more common during cold and flu season.
What about coughs?
For years, I've been using honey and recommending it to my family and patients to help suppress coughs naturally. Research from Penn State College of Medicine shows that honey is an effective cough suppressant and is just as effective as over-the-counter cough remedies. In fact, the research also shows that honey helps children with a cough, sleep through the night. I always keep my pantry stocked with plenty of honey. My son knows to reach for honey when he has a cough. Over the years I have found that because honey eased his cough, he could get back to sleep and so could I!
Honey Cough Syrup
When I was a kid and had a cough, my mom used to mix up some honey and lemon with hot water to help soothe the irritation caused by coughing. With just four natural ingredients, my Honey Cough Syrup is a favorite with friends, family, neighbors and patients. You can look up my Honey Cough Syrup at www.honey.com. For children who dislike taking medication, why not try my Frozen Honey Coughsicle recipe?
What About Skin Care In Winter?
With biting cold wind and dry heat at home, the winter can leave your skin dry and cracked. Amazingly enough, the same natural ingredient that I recommend to help suppress coughs also doubles as my favorite moisturizer: honey. For years, I noticed that honey was an ingredient in some of my favorite lip balms and moisturizers, and for good reason. History tells us that honey is a natural moisturizer that's been used for centuries to help keep skin smooth, soft and glowing. Remember Cleopatra? We can all learn from her beauty regimen of regular milk and honey baths. What Cleopatra may not have known is that honey is a humectant that helps to attract and retain moisture. Using honey in your beauty routine is a great way to ensure your skin stays moisturized during the dry winter months.
You can add honey to your favorite moisturizers, shampoo or liquid soap or make my favorite DIY moisturizer by mixing up the following in a medium-sized plastic bottle:
• 5 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons rose oil
• 2 cups almond oil
I keep this in the shower to use on damp skin. You can get the recipe at www.honey.com.
Beating the Winter Blahs and Tapping into Some Natural Energy?
One of the best ways to help boost both your mood and energy is to get up off the couch and get some exercise. Get your heart pumping and get moving. Not only does it help improve your mood, but exercise helps you feel better physically. In fact, as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the likelihood of catching a cold by half!
Now, when you need some fuel to boost your energy, I say it's best to stick with our natural theme and look to my favorite ingredient. You guessed it: honey! Honey is a source of 17 grams of energy boosting carbohydrates with only 64 calories in a tablespoon. I like to combine honey with peanut butter for a sweet treat that helps me recharge. There's a lot of other delicious combinations at www.honey.com, including this tasty recipe for Stuffed Red Peppers with Red Quinoa, Chickpeas and Butternut Squash.
When you're shopping for honey, be sure to read the labels. There should be only one ingredient − honey. I've got a pantry full of different honeys because I like to experiment with different varietals and see how they pair with various fruits, vegetables and protein.
What are you waiting for? Go grab some honey and enjoy all the ways it can sweeten up your day.
Disclosure: I'm happy to be working with the National Honey Board to bring more awareness about how honey can be used for a variety of winter challenges.