Tonawanda News

Features

May 3, 2011

In its raw form, honey can treat ulcers, pollen allergies, wounds

Honey has long been heralded as a go-to natural remedy for for a sore throat. Brew a cup of tea, add a bit of lemon and some honey and you’re good to go. While it won’t necessarily cure the common cold or flu, it’s helpful in relieving that one symptom.

Scratchy throats aside, certain honeys also have antibacterial and antifungal properties in addition to helping alleviate some allergies and dry skin. Be aware though, not just any honey will do the trick ...  there are numerous types of honey out there and each one has different properties depending on where it’s from.

“People tend to think honey is all the same thing but it isn’t,” said Geri Hens, a professional beekeeper who runs Hens Honey Bee Farm in North Tonawanda. “Honey depends on the particular vegetation the bees are foraging on. There are as many different honeys out there as there are bottle of wines and it (varies depending) on how that honey is harvested and processed.”

Manuka honey, for instance, is well known for its superior treatment of wound infections due to the uniquely high antibacterial properties of the manuka bush, which can only be found in New Zealand. Bees that harvest the nectar from this particular bush then pass those antibacterial properties on to the honey they produce.

see honey on page 4c

honey ...

continued from page 1c

Catherine Stack, doctor of naturopathy and certified nurse midwife in Niagara Falls, says that manuka honey can be a very effective alternative to traditional antibiotics, which come with side effects like yeast infections and digestive issues. Additionally, antibiotics become less effective over time the more individuals use them.

“People are becoming very resistent to antibiotics because we take them too much,” Stack said. “Manuka honey releases off low levels of hydrogen peroxide, which have very anti-infective properties on wounds.”

Stack says manuka honey is also helpful in treating helicobacter pylori — commonly refered to as H. pylori — an ulcer-causing bacteria in the stomach that is often treated with long-term antibiotics.

“That’s pretty exciting that honey can cure what people are going on massive antibiotics for,” Stack said.

And if you’re want to ditch the allergy medicines, look for honeys made a little closer to home.

Hens, who is the only producer of USDA raw organic honey in N.Y., says eating a daily dose of honey that is harvested with 2 to 3 miles of where you live is an excellent way to fend off sneezing and watery eyes associated with pollen allergies.

“If you had a pollen allergy, you’d want to consume honey that’s got the same vegetation pollen in it (that you’re allergic to) ... what you’re doing is desensitizing your immune system to it and releasing the antihistamine,” Hens said.

The important thing to remember, Hens said, is that once honey is pasturized (heated higher than about 105 degrees) or filtered, it is no longer beneficial because the pollen granules have been removed. Basically the more unadulterated and fresher, the better.

“Another mythology is that honey doesn’t go bad but the truth is it does. When you buy honey for theraputic purposes, you want it to be as fresh as possible,” Hens said. “The longer its been heated or the longer its been sitting around those (health) properties are no longer attached to it.”

Hens’s advice? Make sure you know your beekeeper and how they’re raising their bees and storing the honey. She stresses the importance of a certified organic bee farm because any chemicals used on plants will eventually wind up in the honey.

“(Bees are) just like people, it depends on what they’re eating. What makes the honey bee healthy is to be in an ecosstem that is free of contaminants ... those chemicals get tracked back into their hive environment,” Hens said.

Hens produces 16 different types of honey on her farm, ranging from pale in color to a dark brown, depending again on the vegetation from which the bees harvested the pollen and nectar.

She says it’s not necessary to eat much more than a teaspoon of the honey each day to start noticing a dwindling in allergic reactions to pollen. The beekeeper stresses, however, that it’s always important to check with your doctor before starting any kind of treatment for allergies.

Stack says she sees many people turning to more natural treatments — like honey — for diseases because she believes the side effects associated with medications are often worse than the initial ailment.

“Well what they’re realizing is that most medicines don’t cure a problem, they just band-aid it. Natural therapies go much deeper than just a symptom,” Stack said. “People are tired of medicines ... they come in with a long list of medicines and a long list of side effects.”

For those interested in purchasing raw honey from Hens Honey Bee Farm, contact Geri Hens at 625-9322 and she can direct you to the nearest merchant or farmers market that carries her products.

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 116.

1
Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 1 072014.jpg Stop and smell the flowers

    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFEe exercise 2 071314.jpg Fitness in the sun

     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE muscoreils 1 071314.jpg Beyond the bakery

    For years, Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

    This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - Crib Notes 2014 RGB.jpg Figuring out the birthday-party rules

    The options when you escort your child to a birthday party are endless, really. Everywhere you turn, there’s another thrill to uncover.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB The tail of two books

    As promised, here are some more new summer reads that are all about our critter companions. Both books were released mid-June, and although they are quite different from one another, both would be valuable assets for your in-house library.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo