I know I haven’t been around for a while. I have had some medical problems and we are just getting to the end of our busy season at work. So, things have been a little crazy, not leaving much time to blog.
Well, actually, all of my posts are “new” again. I changed my hosting plan and, unfortunately, my blog wouldn’t migrate the way it was supposed to. Oh, well, at least I have them up, again. I’m just glad I kept copies of my posts and pictures!
For several months I suffered from digestive problems. It started out mild and progressively worsened. Anyone who has read my previous health entries knows I prefer herbal and natural remedies over mainstream medicine. While still mild, I tried numerous remedies, some of which provided temporary relief, but that’s the best I could do. As the problem continued and worsened, I decided to go to the medical clinic. On different visits I was diagnosed with different intestinal problems. I discussed treatment options and decided to opt for just dietary changes. Well, that didn’t help, even with more restrictive changes after subsequent visits.
I was just about ready to give up and go with standard medical treatment when I received an email concerning a case of granola bars I had purchased four months earlier. In a previous post, I discussed how, often, foods that are advertised as being healthy really aren’t. Well, most granola bars aren’t particularly healthy, but there are worse choices for snacks.
I had run across a deal on granola bars; just $1.00 per box of five, of a brand name granola bar, so I purchased a case. I had been eating them as snacks, at work, regularly, since I purchased them. The email I mentioned was an advisory stating the granola bars I’d purchase may be contaminated and included a link to the FDA announcement.
The announcement began:
” The XXX Company, a subsidiary of XXX, Inc., today announced a voluntary recall of a small quantity of XXX Granola Bars after an ingredient supplier was found to have distributed sunflower kernels that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L.mono)…
Listeria monocytogenes (L.mono) is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea…”
Just in case you are curious, this is what listeria looks like. I had purchased the granola bars with the UPC code in the recall. I quit eating the granola bars and tossed what were left, then went back to natural remedies. Within a couple of weeks, the symptoms were completely gone and haven’t returned.The main remedy I used is honey ginger syrup. It’s easy to make and offers relief for digestive problems, as well as having antibacterial properties. It’s also especially good for colds, sore throats, and coughs. Here’s how I make this wonderful syrup.
Honey Ginger Syrup
Combine the ginger, water, and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Cover the saucepan and allow to steep for about an hour. Strain and return to the pot. Reheat just until you see tiny bubbles form around the edge of the saucepan. You want the liquid to be warm enough to melt the honey, but not hot enough to destroy the healthy components of the honey. Remove from heat and add honey. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bottle and keep refrigerated. (I reuse my honey bottles for storing.)
Although you could make this in larger quantities, I don’t recommend it. Most sources advise this type of syrup should be used within two weeks.
I took a tablespoon when I got up, after each meal, and at bedtime until the listeria was under control.
For treating colds, sore throats, and coughs:
Adult dosage: take one tablespoon four to six times a day.
Children’s dosage: between ages one and four, one teaspoon, and between ages five and 12, two teaspoons four to six times a day.
Take the syrup more often if symptoms are severe and lower the frequency as the symptoms begin to subside. Whether for an adult or a child, make sure one of the doses is at bedtime.
Caution: Most sources advise not to give honey to infants or children under one year old! Some sources say not to give honey to children under two years old.
Why is this syrup so effective?
Ginger – There have been numerous recent studies evaluating the antibacterial qualities of garlic and ginger. The results have shown both have been effective on drug resistant microbial diseases.
One study concluded:
“Natural spices of garlic and ginger possess effective anti-bacterial activity against multi-drug clinical pathogens and can be used for prevention of drug resistant microbial diseases and further evaluation is necessary.”
Dr. Josh Axe has this to say about ginger:
“The Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobials published a study in 2011 that tested just how effective ginger is in enhancing immune function. Comparing the ability of ginger to kill Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes with conventional antibiotics, Nigerian researchers discovered that the natural solution won every time!
The drugs – chloramphenicol, ampicillin and tetracycline — just couldn’t stand up to the antibacterial prowess of the ginger extract. This is important because these two bacteria are extremely common in hospitals and oftentimes cause complications to an already immune-compromised patient.”
Garlic generally scores a bit higher in effectiveness as an antibacterial agent, but ginger runs a close second. Although I’m a big fan of garlic, ginger just tastes better in a syrup!
You can purchase ginger in the produce section of most grocery stores.
Cinnamon – Another medicinally valuable spice is cinnamon. According to WebMD:
“Cinnamon bark is used for gastrointestinal (GI) upset, diarrhea, and gas. It is also used for stimulating appetite; for infections caused by bacteria and parasitic worms; and for menstrual cramps, the common cold, and the flu (influenza).”
The conclusion of one Malaysian university medical study was:
“Cinnamon has been used as a spice in daily life without any side effects. Several reports have dealt with the numerous properties of cinnamon in the forms of bark, essential oils, bark powder, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and isolated components. Each of these properties plays a key role in the advancement of human health. The antioxidant and antimicrobial activities may occur through the direct action on oxidants or microbes, whereas the anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antidiabetic activities occur indirectly via receptor-mediated mechanisms. The significant health benefits of numerous types of cinnamon have been explored. Further investigations are necessary to provide additional clinical evidence for the traditional uses of this spice against cancer and inflammatory, cardioprotective, and neurological disorders.”
Cinnamon sticks are widely available, but I suggest looking for Cassia cinnamon. If you can’t find it locally, you can purchase it here. Most of the cinnamon you find at the grocery store is Ceylon cinnamon. Although both types of cinnamon have been shown to have some medicinal qualities, Cassia cinnamon reportedly is the better of the two, when it comes to health benefits.
Honey – Natural raw honey is more than just a sweet treat. It has numerous health benefits including being studied as a viable alternative for antibiotic resistance bacteria.
Dr. Susan Meshwitz, Ph. D. says:
“The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols — all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.”
According to an Ethiopian study, Medicinal Uses of Honey:
“Honey’s use as medicine has been limited due to lack of scientific report. In recent days, however, there is resurgence. Its greatest medicinal potential is its application as topical agent to wounds and skin infections. Honey has anti-inflammatory, immune boosting property, and exhibits broad spectrum antibacterial activity, which are attributed both to physical factors: acidity and osmolarity, and chemical factors: hydrogen peroxide, volatiles, beeswax, nectar, pollen and propolis. Its antioxidant activity is attributed to: glucose oxidase, catalase, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, carotenoid derivatives, organic acids, Maillard reaction products, amino acids, and proteins. Honey prevents and treats gastrointestinal disorders such as peptic ulcers, gastritis and gastroenteritis. It also poses prebiotic effects and promotes health of gastrointestinal tract.”
When purchasing honey, always look for raw natural honey. If you have a source for local honey, let that be your first choice. Not only are you supporting a local small business, but local honey is said to be highly effective for seasonal allergies, if that is a problem for you. Unfortunately, there are no apiarists in my area, so I purchase my honey from Cox’s Honey.
Be wary of supermarket honey. Most of them are highly processed, over heated (this causes loss of natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals), many have additional ingredients and/or additives, and some actually contain little or no actual honey. The latter are honey flavored corn syrup!