Honey, I nourish the soul!

How many times have you seen your grandmother frown at your tube of cosmetics? The packs, the peels, and the scrubs you ordered diligently so you don't miss out on your self-care routine! Do you remember rolling your eyes at the fact that she wanted to replace those tubes with simple ingredients from her kitchen? 

From the pulps and peels of vegetables and fruits to spices, condiments, and dairy products, the list of ingredients found in a desi kitchen with magical healing, strengthening and rejuvenating properties, are endless.

One such go-to/must-have ingredient in our household was honey. While growing up I remember my mother treating my dry cough attacks with chopped ginger, mixed with crushed Tulsi leaves and a spoonful of honey. I always thought my mom used the honey to camouflage the zing of the ginger. While that was partially true, I realized much later that the soothing calm my throat felt was the nurturing effect of the honey. 

Over the years I've seen friends, family and colleagues use this magic ingredient in different ways. From immunity boosters to skincare rituals, honey is almost part of their daily routines and most of them are particular about where their honey comes from. Purity is sacrosanct. Honey from the hills has always been a favourite and for good reason. Apart from the pollution-free environment of the hills, it’s the traditional techniques and wisdom of beekeeping in the hills that ensure the quality of the honey we receive. For example, when the bee colony collects nectar in their comb the honey is cooked with wind inside the comb. Then the honey is sealed. When mountain beekeepers extract this sealed honey it is considered the purest form of honey. Often large-scale producers aren’t patient enough for the honey to cook adequately in the comb and the sealing process to happen. They extract the honey too early and don't take the quality of this extracted honey into consideration. The water percentage in this honey is more and fermentation happens quickly. Then to reduce this fermentation some companies use chemicals. You need to make sure you avoid this and check the source of where your honey comes from.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying - ‘If you’re strong on the inside, you’ll be beautiful on the outside too.’ Honey is one of those rare ingredients that can help in achieving both. A few beautiful women agreed to share the sweet secret of their golden inner and outer glow!

Kill the cough, boost the immunity
Honey is a common fixture in Indian households for the common cold and to get rid of a cough. Rachna Lulla, an interior designer and a mom who lives in Dubai, prescribes honey as a daily fix for immunity, particularly during the winters. "It's a great remedy for a cold and cough," she tells us.
3/4th tsp ginger juice
A pinch of black pepper powder
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp honey
Mix together and have every day

Coimbatore-based, copywriter, Zankhna Shah prides herself on her homemade healthy and delicious concoction which includes - Lemongrass + tulsi + mint + ginger + haldi + honey + water. "It's delightfully refreshing in the summers and good for you too," she says.

Morning ritual
Over the years honey has become an essential part of a daily ritual for many. An advocate for all things healthy, Mumbai-based Yoga instructor, Nupur Biswas, needs honey right at the start of her day. Her morning ritual of drinking lukewarm water with a squeeze of lime and some honey helps flush out toxins in the body. “While I start my day with honey, I also use it occasionally to drive away a cold. Turmeric + honey + ghee helps soothe a sore throat and provides much needed relief, she explains.

Healing touch
Tushita Dabir, a hands-on mom to two kids, uses honey as part of her first aid kit. "We always have honey at home. You can use honey on low-grade burns. Its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties quicken the healing process," she tells us. 

The healing properties of honey nourish our skin too. Media professional Trupti Kanade has amla and ginger puree with honey every morning because “It helps to keep allergies away.” Journalist Dhara Vora prefers to apply the honey to her skin rather than consume it. “Massage your face with honey. You can apply it directly. Follow it up with an ice rub because honey is a natural moisturizer. It has humectant qualities that help in both attracting water and retaining it within the skin.

Skin deep
Honey can also work miracles on your skin when mixed with some other basic ingredients from your kitchen. Here are 7 packs you can easily whip up at home.

Pack 1 - courtesy Shraddha Singh, Bhopal
To moisturise and cleanse the skin - mix curd, honey, and a few drops of lemon. 

Pack 2 - courtesy Shraddha Singh, Bhopal
For a quick fix way to rejuvenate your skin - mix besan, turmeric powder, honey, milk, and coffee.

Pack 3 - courtesy Shraddha Singh, Bhopal
To nourish tired skin, mix sandalwood powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice, rose water and honey.
Note: Leave the pack on for 15-20 minutes and rinse. You can use this pack once a week)

Pack 4 - courtesy Smitha Menon, Mumbai
To clear blemishes over time  - mix 1/2 tsp kasturi manjal  (wild turmeric)+ rose water + honey + dried orange peel powder and apply it for 10 mins at the least  (can keep it on for upto an hour at the max)

Pack 5- courtesy Zankhna Shah, Coimbatore 
A simple two-ingredient pack with honey and lime can be very effective.  Honey moisturizes and stops new acne from forming, and lemon juice kills the acne-causing bacteria.
Note: Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse

Pack 6 - courtesy Nupur Biswas, Mumbai 
Honey + besan + curd + lime juice is an easy and effective face pack to help with brightening, toning, and glow.
Note: Leave it on for 15- 20 minutes and rinse

Pack 7 - courtesy Team Little Local
Honey also makes for excellent scrubs to exfoliate your skin when mixed with either sugar or coffee powder.

Make sure you get only the purest honey and then indulge yourself set off on a happy and fulfilling journey of guilt-free self-care. 

To buy pure honey, directly from a community of 600 beekeepers, who live in the pristine mountains of Uttarakhand, please click here!

About the Author: Suprita Mitter is a storyteller at heart and luckily one by the virtue of her work as well. She truly believes that we are who we are because of our stories and that's what people remember us for. Her favourite way to find stories that she wants to tell is discovering them accidentally on her travels - through people, folklore, food, and art.

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