Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ode to a Fellow Female MacGyver (and to Honey!)

So this post is about another amazing Female MacGyver that lives and walks amongst us. It's also about one of my favorite things in the whole world: Honey.

Let's start by talking about that.

Honey is amazingly delicious and makes a great sweetener for tea, milkshakes, and...okay just about anything. I prefer to use honey to sweeten things over sugar whenever I can. I'm especially fond of trying different types of honeys...especially at farmer's markets.

Honey also brags of several health benefits. It's comprised of several different kinds of sugars (fructose and glucose mostly, but also maltose and sucrose). It also contains antioxidants, which clean up damaging free radicals. Honey is fairly acidic with a pH ranging between 3.2 and 4.5. This helps it to prevent the growth of bacteria (which is one reason it doesn't ever spoil). When mixed into a hot green tea or a hot toddy (honey, lemon juice, and whiskey), this powerful ingredient can do a number on the bacteria that cause sore throats. (I know this from personal experience!!)

These antibiotic properties aren't exclusively internal. In fact, there actually exists MEDICAL GRADE HONEY!!! This grade of honey has been used to treat burns and chronic wound infections. Three years ago, scientists discovered that honey's antibacterial properties derived from more than just its acidity. Apparently, a protein called "defensin-1" helps it to actually kill bacteria by destroying bacterial proteins. There are also many scientific papers describing the effectiveness of treating wounds with Manuka honey (the honey typically used for medical purposes). People have even begun to discover that honey can fight MRSA, prevent radiation-induced dermatitis in breast cancer patients undergoing treatment, and may even be able to reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics!

Now as we talk of this honey, let me be very clear about two things. One, keep in mind that research into the pros and cons of honey are on-going and that what we know to be true now may not be true tomorrow. And two, we are talking about natural honey, not artificially honey. An article in Nature revealed that natural honey was three times better at killing bacteria than artificial honey is. This means that you want honey made by bees...not the busy kinds that wear lab coats, but the kind that buzz about collecting pollen and vomiting sweet, delicious, viscous-y goodness that is jam-packed with antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Going way back, even the Greeks and the Romans praised the healing properties of honey. They claimed it made you live longer...and why shouldn't they? The Egyptians were believing the same thing long before that. Medical recipes containing honey date back 5 millennia. It has been used on the battle fields for thousands of years to treat wounded soldiers knowing it helped to prevent infections even before people understood what caused infections. The history of honey is fascinating and well-worth the read, but I'll spare you the stories for this particular blogpost.

Given all of this wonderfulness, you can imagine how proud I was when my roommate remembered our conversations about honey and applied them. As you may or may not know, she tragically cut her thumb badly a few days ago. She went to use our Neosporin only to find out it expired...let's just say...a long time ago. In true MacGyver fashion, she applied some raw honey to her wound and after only a day the wound had already begun to heal more rapidly than expected and the bruising/swelling had gone down a LOT.
I don't have a "before",
but here's the after and trust me,
it looked MUCH worse prior to the honey!

Earlier today, she again used honey to make these amazing impromptu candies with honey, roasted peanuts, butter, and brown sugar. That's right...she totally just made up a recipe for candy! (I've been trying to tell her that she needs to blog about them to share her creation with the world! They are delicious!)

The moral of the story is that honey is delicious, nutritious, medicinal, and good for fixing your thumb right up so you can get back to making amazing sweets for the holidays! :D

Happy Roommate = Candy --> More Happy Roommates!!!

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