Honey for All Seasons
Good health is an indication of all aspects of a person being balanced in all respect - physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Anyone of them going awry will manifest in some way or the other in the general health of a person. For example, if one is emotionally or mentally disturbed, it will result in either binge eating or loss of appetite. Binge eating is the over-consumption of carbs to give that much-needed spike in serotonin levels. Whereas loss of appetite occurs when the body goes in a fight-or-flight mode under stress to save on energy being vested in digestion Thus, to maintain overall health it is important to consume food more mindfully than how we are consuming now. Honey is one holistic and readily available ingredient that when used appropriately helps in battling general emotional, mental, and physical stress that might occur due to either the weather or situations one finds themselves in.
It may not be obvious as to why honey consumption should change based on seasons. Our body has a regulating mechanism to deal with external environmental stress. Every person has a different body and different nature and the way it deals with the environment. These natures are called ‘dosha’ in Ayurveda. During summers we tend to sweat more to relieve internal heat and avoiding spicy food will help in not increasing the heat within. Similarly, during winters we should be eating warm foods to compensate for the cold outside.
Where and how does honey come into the picture?
In today’s time, we get all ingredients almost throughout the year due to technological advances in agriculture, storage, and distribution. Earlier since one would eat only seasonal produce, that would take care of the body’s regulation of heat, cold and other factors. Since each vegetable, fruit, or grain that grows in a season will have grown by combating the challenges of that season, eating that item will also help a person in combating the negative effects of that season. Hence the adage, “Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables”. Now since we get everything during all seasons, differentiating and restricting certain food items is a difficult task. Hence, we need to do something to keep ourselves in the pink of health irrespective of what we eat. Obviously, this doesn’t imply that there is a magical alternative to eating right but occasionally giving into pleasures won’t put a negative impact!
And this is where honey comes into the picture!
This easily available ingredient when used in the appropriate way, can help us maintain good overall health no matter which season. Honey acts as a good base for most herbs and food items and when consumed in small amounts, helps in bringing out the best of inherent properties of the food it is consumed with. Though for each dosha or nature of the body, the solution will change. For example, if a person has a pitta-type body meaning a highly active digestive system, their body heat will be on the higher side. Thus, for such people eating even minimum spices can throw their bodies into a spin. Hence consuming more cooling natured food items will benefit them as compared to someone whose body is Vata-type i.e., cold in nature. Mentioned below are general ayurvedic remedies (mentioned in Sushrut Samhita) that can be used by all without any further thought. If one wants to go further based on the body type, one can increase or decrease the frequency of the remedy without overdoing it.
Autumn: Different food items made of milk and honey used as a sweetener.
Winter: Warm milk with turmeric and honey to combat the cold temperature.
Spring: Wood-apple (Bel) with honey. Preparations of barley, moong/green gram, and honey.
Summer- Seasonal fruit juices with little honey. Curd and honey make a great cooling agent.
Rainy Season: Water heated and subsequently cooled (Safe to drink without any germs and bacteria- Moderate RO water) along with honey.