Sunday, 11 January 2015

Honey- Medicine and Magic

Honey- Medicine and Magic

Some of you may know that we have a backyard bee hive and we love our bees. We can see the bees from the back sitting area and they are busy from dawn to dusk! We talk to them every day and I even sing to them. Well, they sing- or at least hum- to us too! :)

In these days of superbugs and and antibiotic resistance, honey’s healing qualities are becoming more recognised again- in fact, they have only been forgotten for the last 50 years as antibiotics became the norm- but we are rapidly losing the ability to rely on the effectiveness of antibiotics. Honey has been used both internally and externally for healing for thousands of years, and it is as effective now as it has always been.

Worldwide studies have shown that honey is a remarkable wound healer- wounds, ulcers and burns treated with honey heal quicker, they smell less and scarring is less. In one study, honey was compared to the commonly used silver sulfadiazine in 104 1st degree burn patients. After a week, 91% of the honey treated burns were infection free compared to only 7% of the silver sulfadiazine treated burns.

Honey is now being used successfully in nursing homes and hospitals when nothing else has worked, such as in diabetic leg ulcers, even where amputation is imminent. Gangrene, fungal infections, post-surgical wound infections, burns, dental plaque and stomach ulcers can also all be treated effectively with honey. Honey is active against many bacteria such as staphlycoccus aureus, streptococcus, rubella, salmonella, candida...many others. Of course, work with your qualified health practitioner for more serious conditions- but sometimes, simple is best.

But, who will make money from giving you honey when you ask for help from your doctor or pharmacist? Of course, a medical grade honey has now been produced (someone had to do it!), but any organic wildflower honey where the bees had access to a range of flowers can be effective in anti-biotic resistant skin and wound infections. There are some honeys that are more effective than others- such as Manuka honey from New Zealand and our own West Australian Jarrah honey- but don’t let the expense of them stop you using our wonderfully effective range of other honeys for your skin infections, even quite serious ones. Bees are naturally attracted to medicinal plants and we are lucky here in W.A. to have many wonderful honeys, and they are all antibacterial to various degrees.

Internally, honey can be used for immune stimulation, overall health improvement, and treatment of colds, flus and respiratory infections.

It is no wonder that honey, bees and other bee products such as pollen, propolis and royal jelly have such a rich cultural history. The ancient Egyptions are the first recorded to have kept bees domestically, the Ancient Greeks used honey as a superfood in the Olympic Games, and the famous Roman writer Pliny described a region where people lived to over 100 years old because of their consumption of honey and pollen. It is also documented in Russia that many centenarians acredit their longevity to lavish consumption of honey. Honey has been used as a currency for barter and even to pay taxes.

Did you know that honeybees visit over 2 million flowers to make one 450g jar of honey? That an average worker bee lives only 6 weeks and creates only 1/2 tsp of honey in her life? That all worker bees are female?

Honey is a miraculous and magical food and medicine, and it is full of minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, probiotics and also substances they haven’t named or recognised yet. It is a wonderful wild food, and we tend not to eat enough wild foods. It is convenient, available, nutritious, and with the international decline of bees, which will be catastrophic if it continues, supporting bee keepers is a good idea too. But we are better off having thousands of householders having a single bee hive in their garden than a few apiarists with thousands of bee hives, so if it appeals to you, consider keeping bees. It is a wonderful hobby that keeps you in touch with the wild side, and the rewards are so sweet!

Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Buhner
Superfoods by David Wolfe

Photo credit- Genevieve Cooper

Fire Cider

Prevention is a lot smarter when it comes to sickness- there are many things you can do to boost your immunity before the winter season sets in. Your good health helps your body fight off the germs that abound in the colder months. Start to think about changing your diet and your daily habits in tune with the cooler weather, and your body will thank you.

This is a great recipe to prepare now, before you need it! It is something you take by the tablespoon (1 tbs daily) as a preventative to getting sick over the winter months, and also to boost your immunity when you do get sick. It is antibacterial, anti-viral, and it helps warm you and increase your circulation. You can splash it on your vegies or rice or any food or drink straight, or diluted.

If anyone knows where to get fresh horseradish here in Perth, I would be grateful to know! I have used daikon radish from an Asian store before, or just left it out. It still has plenty of benefits with the other ingredients. Be careful of adding so much hot pepper that you don't want to take it. I will also be using fresh turmeric as it is available here (I get mine from Peaches, Sth Freo). Enjoy!

Fire Cider

  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
  • 1 medium organic onion chopped
  • 10 cloves of organic garlic crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic jalapeno peppers chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  • fresh organic rosemary Several sprigs of - or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
  • organic apple cider vinegar
  • raw local honey to taste
Prepare all of your cold-fighting roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart sized jar. Cover with apple cider vinegar (with the mother still in it, such as Braggs) Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal lid as it corrodes it. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily (but if you forget, that's ok too, shake when you remember, and put your love and prayers into it!).
After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next, comes the honey! Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup until you reach the desired sweetness.
Remember to label it!
Ingredient Variations
These herbs and spices would make a wonderful addition to your Fire Cider creations: Thyme, Cayenne, Rosehips, Ginseng, Orange, Grapefruit, Schizandra berries, Astragalus, Parsley, Burdock, Oregano, Peppercorns
Recipe from 

Moroccan Preserved Lemons


Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Do you have an abundance of lemons at the moment? This recipe give you a wonderful condiment and flavour boost to many dishes, especially African dishes. I love to add my preserved lemons to rissoles along with cumin and other spices.
Preserved lemon is a traditional North African condiment where its sour and salty flavour adds a distinct flavour to classic tagines, roast chickens and other meals. 


  • 2 1/2 pounds lemons (preferably Meyer lemons)
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sea salt


  1. Trim the ends off lemons, taking care not to cut into the flesh, then slice the lemons as if to quarter them - keeping the base of the lemon intact.
  2. Sprinkle the interior of the lemons with unrefined sea salt then layer in your mason jar, crock or fermentation device. Sprinkle with unrefined sea salt then mash with a wooden spoon or dowel until the rinds of the lemon begin to soften and the lemons release their juice which should combine with the salt to create a brine conducive to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.
  3. Continue mashing, salting and mashing until your lemons fill the jar and rest below the level of the brine.
  4. Ferment at room temperature for three to four weeks. Lemons can be kept for one to two years.

Fermentations and Easy Sauerkraut

If you have Liked my Facebook Page  you may have noticed that I love to make fermented foods. These foods, used by traditional cultures all around the world to preserve food and for medicinal purposes, help heal our guts-  and our gut health is foundational to our immune system, our brain health and our whole wellbeing. Many people have found that by eating fermented foods and feeding and repopulating the healthy bacteria into their body, many health issues improve dramatically. If you have ever taken antibiotics and not consciously taken probiotics or yoghurt afterwards, you are likely to be suffering from an unhealthy balance of micro-organisms in your digestive system. If you have candida or thrush, ditto. We need lots and lots of the good bugs! Here is a very simple recipe for making some sauerkraut.

Easy Sauerkraut
  • 1 Head of cabbage (red, green or Napa or a combo)
  • 1 tbs of caraway or fennel seeds (I use the fresh wild fennel seeds that are growing all around Freo at the moment)
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 4 tbs whey (you don’t actually need the whey, but it helps, and the recipe for making whey is below. If you don't use whey, just add a little more salt. )

Chop, grate or cut your favourite type of cabbage into strips. You could also put it in the Thermomix or food processor and break it up that way.
Put all the ingredients into a sturdy, large bowl, and start kneading and squeezing them with your hands. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, mix them well and let them sit for a couple of hours. Either way (and kneading your vegies puts your energy and love into them, so I recommend that if you have time!), the juices will be released from the cabbage.
Put the mixture with all its juices into a wide mouthed jar, pressing down into the jar and making sure the juices come up and cover the cabbage by a cm or so- this stops mould growing. If there is not enough juice to cover the cabbage, add a little water with a pinch of salt in it to cover.
Put the lid on and leave it sitting on the bench for 3 days, before moving it to the fridge. I usually start eating it right away. It will last for many weeks.

To make whey- and cream cheese:
Take a tub of yoghurt.
Pour into a strainer over a bowl, first lining the strainer with a damp cloth- muslin is ideal, but a new Chux cloth or piece of tshirt will do too. Let it drain for a couple of hours.

The liquid in the bowl is whey- use it for your fermented vegies.
The solids in the very healthy and nourishing cream cheese. Use it for dips, spreads or in recipes.

If I have no whey in the fridge, sometimes I will just scoop off the clear liquid that forms on top of a tub of yoghurt, and use that. You can also use water kefir, or some liquid reserved from a previous ferment.

Enjoy your fermenting journey- it can be addictive!

The Benefits of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

The physical and psychological benefits have been known for thousands of years, and are even being scientifically shown to increase our immunity and health. A Harvard Medical School study has shown that those who practice meditation and relaxation have higher levels of disease fighting genes activated in their bodies.

The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off.
''Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,'' says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London's BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect.
''After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.''  SMH article

And this benefit increased and continued as the people continued to practice. It is difficult in our busy lives to find the time to put aside to meditate and just be with oneself without distraction. But what is the alternative? A life full of busyness and not really being deeply in touch with ourselves? Never finding the time to just be? Surely that is not what life is meant to be about.

I find regular meditation to be a beautiful way to simply remind myself of what is really important. If I am upset or stressed, sitting quietly helps my body to calm down and see things from a clearer perspective. If I am too busy, meditation reminds me to stop and smell the roses, to be grateful for the small things, and to just BE. Taking the time to just sit and BE reminds me of the sacredness of the day, of the moment, of my life, and also that I am just a mere blip in the larger scheme of things, and so not to take it all too seriously.

To me, meditation is something that needs to be lived all the time, but the truth is, I forget. So my daily practice helps me to remember, and that carries over to the rest of my life.