Saturday, September 24, 2011

Honey's healing power: Golden nectar can be more than just a taste treat

By Maryanne Kocis MacLeod
Daily Tribune Staff Writer

Back in 1996, the Harrington family of New York was not yet aware of the healing power of honey.

While medical doctors did an incredible job of repairing the severe heart defects Maty Harrington was born with that year, those same doctors were far less able to treat her related and often chronic side effects, such as whole-body psoriasis. There was also the debilitating, post-pregnancy surge of rheumatoid arthritis that attacked her mother, Carolyn.

“That’s when I started looking for another way,” said Carolyn Harrington of Pittsford, N.Y. “After just one month of working with a naturopath, Maty’s alopecia (hair loss) started going away. I knew I was on the right track.”

Carolyn ultimately uncovered a treasure trove of natural remedies to treat the whole family. For example, in light of her weakened heart, over-the-counter cough and cold medicines were particularly threatening to Maty, but using honey to treat childhood coughs and colds proved safe and effective.

Carolyn eventually earned her holistic health practitioner’s license, and in 2009 launched Maty’s Healthy Products ( The products, derived from buckwheat honey, include children’s cough syrup and two new vapor rubs for infants and adults.

“In 2007, a Penn State School of Medicine study came out indicating that buckwheat honey outperformed standard cough medicines and also gave children a better night’s sleep,” said Harrington. “Soon afterward, (children’s cough and cold medicines) starting coming off the market (due to safety concerns); it was divine intervention.”

Harrington is quick to point out that her buckwheat honey-based children’s cough syrup is not a medicine, a homeopathic remedy nor an herbal.

“You’ll recognize all the ingredients,” said Harrington, explaining that honey has been therapeutically utilized for 8,000 years, starting with the early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. “It’s homemade.”

Beyond the cough and cold arena, honey’s natural properties are also potentially beneficial to athletes.

“The glucose content provides an immediate physical boost and the fructose content provides a sustained boost -- win-win,” Harrington said. “Honey also fends off muscle fatigue during exercise.”

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