There are some foods that are good for us, and others that are off-the-chart awesome for us. Both Manuka honey and organic lemons fall into the “awesome” category. The therapeutic value of each is well worth including them in your diet. However, when you combine their powers, you have a super-potent duo that is overflowing with health- promoting properties.
Healing properties of raw honey
Raw honey has been used for centuries to treat countless ailments. Hippocrates himself wrote of this “liquid gold” and its medicinal effects. Today, we have not only anecdotal evidence but also sound scientific research proving that honey has strong therapeutic value.
While all unprocessed honey is good for you, Manuka honey is especially powerful. Wild Manuka trees (Leptospermum scoparium) are found in remote areas of New Zealand and Australia. In the early 1930s, the health benefits of manuka honey were first observed by dairy farmers who fed the honey to their cows. Amazingly, the cows never became ill.
The secret lies in the Manuka tree itself. It produces compounds with potent antifungal, antibiotic and antibacterial properties that enhance the overall health of all of the birds and insects, including honey bees, that feed on the rich nectar from its flowers. It is truly a superfood for man and animal!
Raw honey promotes healthy gut bacteria: A unique characteristic of raw honey is its ability to feed good gut bacteria and fight off bad bacteria. Good bacteria is essential for overall health and wellness, and forms a main defense against outside threats.
Raw honey goes to battle for us, and research demonstrates its efficacy. It is also well known that raw honey can eradicate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Wound and infection treatment: Hospitals all over the world are now using active Manuka honey alongside conventional medication to treat a number of conditions, with wound healing topping the list. During the Civil War, honey was applied liberally to the wounds of soldiers, and today, scientists are finding out that Manuka honey has the ability to stop dangerous infections in their tracks.
Professor Elizabeth Harry, from the University of Technology, Sydney, reported in the journal PLOS ONE that Manuka is the best honey for stopping bacterial infections and wounds. In addition, Manuka honey has been shown effective in the treatment of eczema, burns, dermatitis and abscesses.
A study conducted in 1992 showed that Manuka honey sped up healing after caesarean sections. The Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds outlines positive findings on honey in wound care reported from 17 randomized control trials including more than 1,965 participants, as well as 16 trials involving wounds on over 500 experimental animals.
Six years ago, the FDA authorized the very first honey-based medical product for use in America. Derma Sciences uses Manuka honey for their Medihoney burn and wound dressings, which you can find online and in medical supply stores.
The power of lemons
Besides large amounts of vitamin C, lemons also contain riboflavin, thiamin, iron, magnesium, pantothenic acid, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, calcium and folate.
Cancer fighter: Lemons have 22 anti-cancer compounds, including limonene, an oil that has been shown to halt the growth of cancer tumors in animals. In addition, they also contain flavonol glycosides, which stop the division of cancer cells.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that limonoids in citrus fruits protect cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry stated that limonoids can inhibit tumors in the mouth and stop the growth of cancer cells once a tumor has formed.
Liver aid: Your body works hard to digest all that you give it. Lemon juice helps flush away unwanted materials and toxins left from the digestive process. Because lemon juice is similar in atomic composition to digestive juices and saliva, it does a great job breaking down material and encouraging the liver to produce bile.
Skin soother: Sometimes we forget that the key to clear and beautiful skin starts with great nutrition. Thanks to the vitamin C in lemons, these little citrus fruits can help decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemons help to push toxins from the body and support healthy liver function, which also keeps skin clear and supple.
Free radical destroyer: Vitamin C is the most important antioxidant found in nature. This vitamin neutralizes free radicals both inside and outside of cells. Free radicals are responsible for damaging cells and cellular membranes leading to inflammation, chronic disease and accelerated aging.
Energy booster: Lemons have a purer concentration of negatively charged ions than any other fruit. Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain; Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research, says, “negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain; resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. They also may protect against germs in the air.”The first man to reach the top of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, said that he attributed much of his success to lemons!
Blood alkalinizer: Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem counterintuitive, as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized.
The minerals in lemons actually help to alkalize the blood. Most people are too acidic, and lemons reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people regularly feel.
Combining the superpowers
Now that we have noted the amazing and unique benefits of both Manuka honey and lemons, it is time to reveal just how combining these two superfoods can make a noticeable difference in your health.
Fight belly fat
If you struggle with a little extra fat around the middle, you may want to consider a tonic of warm water, raw honey and fresh lemon juice.
Raw honey contains natural fruit sugar that has a much healthier glycemic index (GI) than regular sugar. What this boils down to is, when you consume honey it does not illicit a sugar rush but is easily and gradually absorbed by your body – providing a very stable source of energy. No sugar rush means no sugar high and no crash.
The combination of raw honey and lemon juice not only elevates your mood and energy, it also keeps your blood sugar stable so you will not be tempted to snack as often. To make this work for you, drink a glass of warm water mixed with ½ teaspoon of Manuka honey and 3 teaspoons of organic lemon juice before breakfast. Add ⅓ teaspoon of organic cinnamon for an added boost.
Combining pure Manuka honey with organic lemon juice can help tackle a disturbed digestive system, which is often the result of a lack of acidity in the stomach. As noted, lemon juice is acidic, and this acidic nature helps stomach acid chemically digest food, which provides more nutrients in the intestines and reduces indigestion, bloating and heartburn.
In addition, the antimicrobial properties and vitamin C in lemon juice help reduce infections in the gut. Although lemon juice contributes to acidity in the stomach, it actually has an alkalinizing impact on blood and other tissues which improves immunity and reduces the proliferation of a variety of microbes.
Of course, honey is also loaded with microbial components and helps increase our friendly gut bacteria, which, when combined with lemon, further enhance its ability to keep the digestive tract healthy. The Prescription for Natural Healing suggests using warm water only (not boiling) to make a tonic containing 1 teaspoon of raw honey, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 8 ounces of water. For best results, consume before meals.
Relieve insect bites
Mixing some lemon juice with honey makes a natural antiseptic solution; the natural sugar in honey kills the microorganisms while the lemon partners with it to prevent bacteria from taking over. The combination will also reduce the swelling associated with insect bites, and decrease itchiness. For best results, squeeze the juice of one lemon into 2 tablespoons of raw honey and spread on infected area. Allow the mixture to remain on the skin until the swelling goes down and you notice a decrease in itchiness.
Soothe respiratory conditions
Bronchitis, asthma and coughs can be annoying and hard to get rid of. One natural way to move phlegm through the respiratory tract is to drink a tonic made with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and 2 teaspoons of lemon water. Drink several times a day to help reduce nasal and chest congestion, as well as to soothe sore throat and inhibit infection-causing bacteria.
Improve skin health
With so many unhealthy, synthetic ingredients in today’s commercial products, knowing there is an effective and natural way to keep your face blemish-free and glowing is a relief. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in honey penetrate the skin and soak up bacteria from pores.
It is also a great anti-aging tool to keep wrinkles at bay and will help to keep your skin fresh and smooth. Lemon is a powerful exfoliator and free radical eliminator that has been used to treat blemishes and revive tired skin.
Make a skin mask by mixing equal parts of honey and lemon juice and applying to your face. Wash off with warm water. To remove blackheads, cut a lemon in half and drop some honey on it. Rub the lemon on the affected area in a circular motion for about ten minutes and let the mixture sit on your face for about fifteen minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
-The Alternative Daily
Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis Balch
Biochemistry of Human Nutrition; George Gropper