Honey: Nectar of the goddess

Ayurvedic Diet_Honey.jpg

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" says the Psalmist. Honey is the epitome of sweetness and deliciousness, yet this golden treat is also an important Ayurvedic medicinal food.

Scientific Name: The honeybee is called apis mellifera

Sanskrit: Madhu

Hindi: Madhu

Ecological Status: Seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees were added to the endangered species list in 2016. Bee populations worldwide are declining at an alarming rate due to factors including varroa mites, neonicotinoid pesticides and climate change.

The goddess of honeybees, the mysterious Queen Bee, is known as Bhramari Devi or Bhramarambika. She resides in one of South India's most important temples, Shri Sailyam in Andhra Pradesh. Bhramarambika is s special protector of the Feminine. Long ago, a demon, Arunadānava, tried to take over the heavens intending to drive out the gods and capture the beautiful goddesses. The goddesses appealed to Adi Shakti, the supreme feminine power, who transformed herself into a black bee with a swarm of bees emanating from her. The bees surrounded and protected the goddesses. They filled the world with their buzzing and destroyed the demon army, while the Queen Bee herself stung Arunadānava to death. This myth shows a profound understanding not only of the Queen Bee but also of the fact that guard bees are female warriors who will fight to the death to protect the hive and queen. Tiny bees are capable of fighting off a marauding bear.

Rasa: Sweet, astringent after-taste (Anurasa)

Virya: Cooling

Vipak: Sweet

Guna: Light, dry

Brings down kapha by lightness, brings down vata and pitta due to sliminess, sweetness and astringent taste.

Fresh honey is best for pitta and older, crystallized honey is better as an expectorant, anti-fat and anti-kapha medicine.

Contains: Dextrose, levulose, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, calcium, amino acids. Natural raw honey contains valuable pollen and propolis constituents including p-coumaric acid, pinocembrin, and pinobanksin 5-methyl ether, which benefit immunity.

Karmas:

  • Drying
  • Scraping
  • Unites wounds
  • Purifies wounds, burns and ulcers
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Astringent
  • Yogavahi--carries herbs and medicines to the minutest subtle channels
  • Anti-obesity
  • Cures hiccough
  • Expectorant
  • Anti-parasitical
  • Antitoxic
  • Demulcent

Used in:

  • Asthma, breathlessness and cough
  • Dysentery
  • Vomiting tendency (although excess can act as an emetic)
  • Morbid thirst
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Obesity
  • Wounds and burns
  • Used correctly, can be curative for diabetes
  • Hiccup

Remedies

For all these remedies, you need to use high quality raw honey.

  1. Canker sores, also known as apthous ulcers: Gently clean the sore with a cotton swab dipped in some water or saline solution, then gently apply some natural raw honey with a swab. Do this after each meal. (You need runny honey for this remedy).
  2. Peptic ulcers: Drink a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of cardamom twice a day.
  3. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion: Mix equal parts lemon juice and honey. Lick this mixture slowly to calm symptoms.
  4. Bleeding piles: Take one tablespoon of honey and mix it with radish juice. Apply it on the area of the piles
  5. Hiccup: Hold honey in the mouth or slowly lick honey.
  6. Cold or catarrh: mix ½ tsp. cinnamon with 1 tsp. honey. Eat this mixture two or three times a day.
  7. Colds and sore throats: Hot water with a squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of honey can be taken 2-3 times a day.
  8. Allergies: Mix 1tsp. turmeric powder with 2 tsp. local honey and lick for fast relief of allergy symptoms.
  9. Cough: Mix a pinch of black pepper in honey and lick it from a spoon. If you have pippali, add a pinch too. (Pippali= piper longum or long pepper)
  10. Bronchitis: Mix fresh ginger juice and honey together to form a linctus and lick it from a spoon.
  11. Asthma: Mix a pinch of pippali powder in honey and lick it from a spoon as soon as you get asthma warning signs.
  12. Burns: Apply a 'honey bandage' by spreading honey over a non-stick dressing and then taping over the burn.
  13. Scrapes, cuts and abrasions: Dressing the wound with honey can help healing and prevent infection.
  14. Diabetic ulcers: Sprinkle turmeric or a mixture of powdered neem and turmeric on the ulcer and then apply a honey bandage, using a non-stick dressing.
  15. Obesity: Drink a cup of hot water in the morning with a teaspoon of raw honey. Ideally, add a pinch of pippali.
  16. Conjunctivitis, blepharitis: Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of honey in warm (not boiling) distilled water and add a pinch of Himalayan salt. You can gently drop this in the eye using a dropper.
  17. Honey for hair health: Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of honey and apply to dry or wet hair. Wait about half an hour before shampooing out.
  18. Honey facial: After washing your face, take a couple of tablespoons of honey and apply it gently to your face. Leave on for fifteen minutes and then wash off with lukewarm water.

Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!