Bees, Honey and the Liver

Dear Friends,

bee zzzzzzz Sunday
CC2 credit: linh.ngân

In this Spring newsletter, I’m going to talk about bees, honey and the liver. We will start with bees, then honey and then the liver.

Before we go into the medicinal and spiritual properties of honey, let’s first start with the bees. Our bees are in deep trouble. Due to pesticides, urbanization, mites and the retiring of commercial beekeepers, bees are struggling to survive. They are now contending with a phenomena called “Colony Collapse Disorder”. Sadly, this is happening all over the world. The whole hive collapses and dies. There is lots of information out there to be found if you want to read about it in detail.

Here are a few good websites that give information either about the plight of the bees or about what we can do to help them through our gardening practices:

For those of us who are looking for Eco-activist, home-based, fun, family oriented activities, planting bee friendly gardens can bring us great satisfaction and give benefit for generations to come!

Now, on a sweeter note, let’s talk about honey.

Honey collection is an ancient activity. Humans began hunting for honey at least 10,000 years ago. There are Mesolithic cave paintings in Valencia, Spain showing two female honey-hunters collecting honey and honeycomb from a wild bee nest. The two women are depicted in the nude, carrying baskets, and using a long wobbly ladder in order to reach the wild nest. So much for all our bee keepers gear!

The Egyptian God of fertility Min, was given offerings of honey. People were embalmed in honey and many old world cultures viewed bees as sacred. Some ancient Chinese texts on bee keeping pointed to the importance of the quality of the wooden box used for bee keeping which can affect the quality of its honey.

Jews all over the world dip apples in honey on Rosh Hashona ( New Year) to call in the sweetness of life for the coming year.

Here in Sebastopol we have a store called “Bee Kind”. Not only do they have fantastic honeys and candles, but they also have bee keeping supplies and candle making supplies. They are a wealth of information if you want to go talk with someone local about bees. Their website address is:

Buying local honey and bee pollen is a great way to support our bee keepers.  Eating local pollen and honey together helps us make peace with our local plants, decrease allergies, strengthen our immune system and benefit from all their medicinal properties.

Last year when everyone was very ill with the Sonoma County version of H1N1, the ONLY medicine I prescribed to people which seemed to help was: ½ Meyer lemon in hot water with 1 very large TBPS of honey, 2-4x per day. If you have honey stories, I’d love to hear them!

In the Jan. 17th, 1995 edition of Western World Magazine, scientific research on honey revealed that, combined with cinnamon, it can be used to treat many common acute and chronic conditions including: heart conditions, high cholesterol, upset stomach, flus, colds and arthritis. We have a handout at Harmony Healing Center if you would like a complete list of theses conditions and the suggested dosage of honey and cinnamon for each of them.

In Chinese Medicine, honey is neutral in temperature and has a sweet, nourishing property. Honey works to harmonize the liver system, neutralize toxins, and relieve pain. Cooked honey or pasteurized honey is good for moistening dryness in cases of dry throat, hoarseness and cough. Both raw and heated honey are good for the stomach, treating canker sores, stomach ulcers and constipation. Honey can also be used topically on light burns. Manuka honey from New Zealand has been used successfully on third degree burns.

A spoonful of honey can be used to counteract overeating salty, rich foods, hangovers and exhaustion.

For those with arthritis that is worsened by damp cold days, raw honey is great for attacking the dampness that has accumulated in the body.

Due to the potential of Botulism in raw honey , it is not recommended for babies younger than one.

Now on to the Liver

Understanding the Liver and its properties:

  • Season: Springtime (Spring Equinox to Summer Solstice -March 20 to June 21)
  • Color: Green
  • Flavor: Sour
  • Body: ligaments, tendons, eyes
  • The boss of all organs (Keep it happy!)
  • Negative emotions: anger, irritability, depression
  • Qualities: Yin, hollow

It is partnered with the Gall Bladder, the organ that rules decision making. Control issues are all within the domain of the Liver.

Liver imbalances often cause headaches, allergies and menstrual, fertility and menopausal problems. Ligament and tendon pain and eyes problems fall under the Liver’s domain as well. Living here in Sonoma County where we share our residence with agricultural activities, we are often at the mercy of the spraying of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. We also have a county that has one of the highest pollen counts in the country. Not to mention the fact that many of us living here have grown to love our local wines and like to indulge on a regular basis!

So, what can you do to help your liver?

  • Put lemons in your water
  • Eat your greens daily.  Bitter greens are the best!
  • Get acupuncture
  • Use digestive bitters
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do twisting postures. Twisting will squeeze your rib cage against your liver and help it function more efficiently.
  • Tell the truth
  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Try to avoid situations that you know make you irritable or change your relationship to that situation or person.
  • For menstruating women, don’t expect the same level of activity from yourself when your on your period as you do the rest of the month. Train your family to respect this time and act accordingly.
  • Keep your drug, alcohol, caffine and cannabis use to a minimum as well.

Here is a simple, tasty cooked greens recipe :

Wash your greens ( kale, chard, spinach, mizuna, arugala, tat soi, bak choi, mustard, collards, tree collards are some examples). If they have a woody stem, strip them off the stem. Set aside. Now heat up your pan and when it is hot, add olive oil. toss in chopped garlic and brown a bit. Add your greens with some coarsely ground sea salt. Saute until cooked. Remember, greens are full of cellulose as well as vitamins and minerals; they are easier to digest when well cooked. ENJOY!

Sadly, since I started writing this letter, the Tsunami/Earthquake/Nuclear Disaster in Japan has occurred. Our hearts and prayers are with all the people who have been effected. We have gathered anti-radiation supplements to help you and yours during this tenuous time. Please contact the clinic if you like some, but we cannot always guarantee the availability of all supplements due to the high demand. In the mean time: eat miso soup with seaweed in it every day, lots of greens, stay away from dairy, eat brown rice, sesame seeds in all forms ( tahini, humus, halva) and winter squash.

A more comprehensive list of what to take as supplements and important protective food to eat can be found at:

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter and that you find our new website useful.

During the month of April, let us know what you thought of our website when you come in for your spring tune up and we’ll give you $5 off your visit!  Have a wonderful Spring!

Wishing you great health and happiness,

Laurel Brody L.Ac.