Monthly Archives: March 2012

Allergies, honey and tea . . .


Well it’s here – the sun and the spring breeze.

As you drive you see it dancing in front of you – the ever horrid – pollen. My son calls them fairies.

These sweet little fairies dance into our sinuses and create an explosion of reactions none which we like.

As we take our Claritin we think “There has to be a better way.”

What are can be done to minimize these dances and the impact of the pollen?

Start your morning with a cup of tea with honey.  As the wonderful aroma fills the sinuses it’s steam loosens the passages of mucus from the night’s sleep.  The warmth spreads and begins it’s work internally and the caffeine act as a bronchodilator, increasing lung function and productivity.  Local honey works to slowly introduce local pollens to your system while the wonderful warmth and sweet goodness coats the throat relieving the scratchiness.

A few tea cookies made with the same local honey and served with a small fruit salad of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and mango (Foods known to have properties that are natural allergy fighters. Most contain a form of Vitamin-C that can act as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, helping to sooth your symptoms quickly and easily.) will allow the stomach to settle a bit – since mild nausea is not uncommon with allergies.

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad
• Low Calorie  • Low Fat  • Low Sodium

Refreshing fruit salad is welcome anytime — serve at brunch, at dessert or snack time, or bring to a potluck.

Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Refrigerate: 1 hour

2 cups strawberries, halved

1 cup blueberries

1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks

1 cup cantaloupe chunks

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced

1/8 cup local honey (Modified)

2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Mix fruit, honey and vanilla in large bowl. Cover.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Raspberry Fruit Salad: Prepare as directed. Use McCormick® Raspberry Extract in place of the vanilla.

per serving

Calories: 56

Fat: 0 g

Carbohydrates: 13 g

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 4 mg

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 1 g

(Via La Mia Vita Dolce)

Spiced Honey Fingers

(From Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 53)

  • Spiced Honey Fingers
  • Mixed Spice Recipe
  • Cookie Icing

A photo of 2 Spiced Cookies displayed in a cupcake liner on a small cupcake stand with freshly cut white and yellow daisies.

Makes 24 cookies

  • 40 g butter
  • 180 g (½ cup) honey
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice **If not available – see Mixed Spice blend below
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F).  Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper or silicone mats and set aside.
  2. In a small sized saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and honey.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Place the butter and honey mixture into a medium sized heatproof bowl. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice over the butter and honey mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring until well combined and the mixture has formed a dough.  Set aside to cool.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
  6. Roll dough into 4 X 36-cm-long (¾-inch X 14-inch) logs.  Cut into 6-cm (about 2½-inch) lengths, tucking the edges under to form rounded edges.
  7. Place on prepared baking sheet (12 to a sheet) and bake, rotating sheet halfway through baking, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies begin to crack.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

Mixed Spice Recipe

Makes about 2 tablespoons

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    1. Place all the spices in a small bowl, stir together to well combine.
    2. Store in an airtight container.  Will keep for up to 2 months.

Cookie Icing

400 g (2½ cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

  • 1½ tablespoons (a little more may be necessary if icing is too thick) boiling water
  • Yellow gel paste food colouring
  1. Place the icing sugar and water in a bowl and mix until smooth.  If you find the icing is too thick, add ½-tablespoon of boiling water at-a-time until desired consistency is reached (should not be watery but at the same time should not be a paste).
  2. Divide icing between 2 bowls, add one drop of gel paste food colouring to one bowl and stir to combine.  If you prefer a darker colour, add one drop of gel paste at-a-time, stir to combine, until the desired colour is reached.
  3. Spread half of the cookies with yellow icing and the remaining cookies with the plain icing.
  4. Return to wire rack to allow icing to set.
  5. Enjoy!

Via Discovery Health

How Honey Could Cure Your Allergies

Honeybees in their hive.
Richard Kolker/Getty Images
Honey may gradually expose the body to allergens which could immunize a person against allergies.

There have been no peer-reviewed scientific studies that have conclusively proven whether honey actually reduces allergies. Almost all evidence regarding the immunizing effects of eating honey is anecdotal. But these reports have proven persuasive enough for some people to try to fight their seasonal allergies by eating honey every day.

Without scientific inquiry, we’re left with only theories about how honey could reduce allergies. The prevailing theory is that it works like a vaccination.Vaccines introduce dummy versions of a particular virus or germ into the body and effectively trick it into believing it’s been invaded, triggering an immune system response.

This produces antibodies designated to fight off the foreign invaders. When the body is actually exposed to the harmful germ or virus, the antibodies are ready for them.

The idea behind eating honey is kind of like gradually vaccinating the body against allergens, a process called<strong>immunotherapy</strong>. Honey contains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergy sufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are in bloom. Introducing these spores into the body in small amounts by eating honey should make the body accustomed to their presence and decrease the chance an immune system response like the release of histamine will occur.
Since the concentration of pollen spores found in honey is low — compared to, say, sniffing a flower directly — then the production of antibodies shouldn’t trigger symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. Ideally, the honey-eater won’t have any reaction at all.

As innocuous as honey seems, it can actually pose health risks in some cases. Honey proponents warn that there is a potential for an allergic reaction to it. And since honey can contain bacteria that can cause infant botulism, health officials warn that children under 12 months of age whose immune systems haven’t fully developed shouldn’t eat honey at all.

If a regimen is undertaken, however, local honey is generally accepted as the best variety to use. <strong>Local honey</strong> is produced by bees usually within a few miles of where the person eating the honey lives. There’s no real rule of thumb on how local the honey has to be, but proponents suggest the closer, the better.
This proximity increases the chances that the varieties of flowering plants and grasses giving the allergy sufferer trouble are the same kinds the bees are including in the honey they produce. After all, it wouldn’t help much if you ate honey with spores from a type of grass that grows in Michigan if you suffer from allergies in Georgia.

At least one informal (unfunded) study on allergies and honey conducted by students at Xavier University in New Orleans produced positive results. Researchers divided participants into three groups: seasonal allergy sufferers, year-round allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers. These groups were further divided into three subgroups with some people taking two teaspoons of local honey per day, others taking the same amount of non-local honey each day and the final subgroup not taking honey at all. The Xavier students found that after six weeks, allergy sufferers from both categories suffered fewer symptoms and that the group taking local honey reported the most improvement.

The study was never published, but the anecdotal evidence in favor of honey as an allergy reliever continues:  Several of the study participants asked if they could keep the remaining honey after the experiment was concluded.