Honeycured: The buzz on nature’s nectar

Text by Eimor Santos

Here’s the buzz that will change the way you look at honey. Honey, the sweet, yellowish substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowers, is not only a natural sweetener, energizer and multivitamin.  It also is one of nature’s wonders, a beauty secret that can solve your perennial skin problems, be it dry skin, acne, or burns.  

Since time immemorial honey has been used as sweetener and as medicine. The ancient Sumerians knew bee-keeping and used honey to treat wounds.  Even the Bible described the Promised Land as a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Ancient Greeks also considered honey as medicine and early thinkers prescribed the use of honey to prolong one’s life. “White honey…. is good as a salve for sore eyes,” Aristotle once wrote. 

Since the ancient times too, honey has been a major ingredient in the beauty regimen of people like Cleopatra, who, legend has it, used to bathe in a tub of milk and honey. Today in different parts of the world, honey is used in almost every skincare product – lotions, facial scrubs and moisturizers, among others.

 Here are few of the benefits one can enjoy from honey:

  • Honey is a humectant, meaning it has the ability to absorb and retain moisture, helping prevent dry skin, and making skin supple and wrinkle-free, writes Ruth Tan, Singapore-based author and founder of website Benefits of Honey.
  • The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of honey make it effective for treating wounds, cuts and abrasions. Honey is an anti-irritant thus suitable even for sensitive skin.
  • Honey also has anti-acne properties, killing the bacteria that cause acne. It is a natural antiseptic thus it soothes and heals the skin.
  • Because of its natural antioxidant properties, honey can protect the skin from ultraviolet damage, making it an effective sunscreen and anti-aging cream.

So why is honey good for your skin?

“Raw honey is incredible for your skin, thanks to its antibacterial properties and hefty serving of skin-saving antioxidants. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive DIY (do-it-yourself) solution or a powerful skin treatment, raw honey can help you regain your glow,” beauty expert and blogger Kim Wallace advised.

Since a bottle of honey is readily available in the market, you can try these homemade, easy to follow recipes from Ruth Tan:

  1. Gentle Honey Cleanser: Mix 1⁄4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon liquid soap and 1⁄2 cup glycerin (found in drug stores). Apply gently on to face using a face sponge. Rinse with warm water and pat face dry.
  2. Honey-Apple Toner: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 peeled, cored apple with a tablespoon of honey and pulse until smooth. Apply mixture to face and allow it to stay for 15 minutes, then rinse.
  3. Honey-Oats Face Scrub: Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon finely-ground almonds, 2 tablespoons dry oatmeal, and some lemon juice or yogurt to a luxurious and exfoliating facial scrub. Massage mixture gently onto face, then rinse with warm water. This blend gives a deeply emollient cleansing to the pores of your face. Almonds and oats are superb softening exfoliants.
  4. Honey Olive Hair Conditioner: For lustrous, silky, healthy hair and scalp, simply combine 1/2 cup honey and 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup olive oil. Massage scalp with this conditioner, then put on a shower cap for 30 minutes. Shampoo and rinse as usual. Good for hair revitalising.
  5. Hot Honey Bath: Perhaps the easiest natural skin care recipe using honey — Add 1/4 cup of honey to your hot bath water for silky and luscious skin. This is especially good for dry skin.
  6. Cucumber-Honey Toner: Puree 1 cucumber in a blender, drain and collect the juice. Add 2 teaspoons of honey into the juice and mix. Pour the mixture into a bottle. Apply on the face and neck area with a cotton pad in the morning and at night. Air dry it and rinse clean. Store the bottle covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  7. Honey Lip Plumper:  Not only is honey a great lip balm that stops your lips from drying out and cracking, it can also be applied as a lip gloss to make your lips appear softer and fuller. What a natural way to perfect the pout! From: http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/natural-skin-care.html

Ilog Maria: A river that runs sweet

In the Philippines, more than an hour drive from Manila is Ilog Maria, a farm which has about 800 bee colonies producing ripe, unfiltered honey for more than thirty years now. Joel and Violaine Magsaysay, the owners of the bee farm, take pride of this unprocessed honey called Ilog Maria Virgin Honey. “We do not even touch it,” the couple said, to retain its medicinal and nutritive value.

Ilog Maria Virgin Honey can be applied immediately on cuts, bruises, and severe wounds to accelerate the healing process as the honey kills bacteria, speeds up the clotting and inhibits scarring and keloid formation, the Magsaysays said. Honey also treats digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, intestinal flu, typhoid and amoebiasis.

Another bee product is the Ilog Maria Honey Cider Vinegar, a fermented mixture of virgin honey, bee pollen and fresh spring water from the farm’s own aquifer. It is packed with nutrients, minerals and amino acids and is best for detoxification – removing wastes and toxins form the body and improving digestion and bowel movement.

Ilog Maria also has a variety of other beauty and skin care products such as its Green tea and honey soap, a natural soap which protects the skin from bacteria while keeping it moisturized and supple; Honey mint beeswax lip balm, which is perfect for cracked and bleeding lips; and Honey face scrub, a penetrating skin cleanser, moisturizer and softener. These products in particular range from 70 to 150 pesos

Ida de Roma, mother and beauty blogger has loved the honey products from Ilog Maria ever since she discovered the bee farm in 2011. Her personal favourite is the Milk and Honey Soap, which she said is perfect for her sensitive skin. In her blog Filipina Makeup and Beauty, De Roma said while the soap easily melts, the pros outshine the cons:

  • It’s not drying at all and is lightly moisturizing.
  • It’s mild and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin or eczema.
  • It smells good. The refreshing scent is wonderful for the hot Manila
  • It lathers very well.
  • It’s quite affordable.
  • It’s made of natural ingredients.

Liaa, Ilog Maria manager and daughter of Joel and Violaine also has these easy-to-follow tips for the beginners at skin care using raw honey:

  1. You can gently massage a table spoon of honey on to your face and rub gently on areas with black and white heads to remove them. Leave it on for another 5-10 minutes then wash with water for soft, radiant and healthier looking skin.
  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of sugar with a little bit of water and boil to make home made waxing strips for unwanted hair. You’ll need wax paper too.
  1. Mix a pea size of honey with a little bit of sugar for a good home made lip scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells and for chappy lips.

“I think some Filipinos are aware of some of the benefits of honey but honey has so much more to offer,” Liaa said.

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