Honey, honey

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"It is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar," goes the well-known Vietnamese proverb.

It's not only flies that are drawn to the sticky and sweet viscous liquid, though. People have used honey as a natural sweetener in food and drink for centuries. And, as well as being a tasty treat, honey has nutritional value and is a powerful medicinal tool.

Those who practice traditional medicine have recognized that honey can help get rid of a cough, heartburn, stomachache, insomnia and constipation. It can aid the immune system and boost energy levels.

However, according to doctors Le Thuy Tuoi and Tran Dinh Hoang and herbalist Bang Cam, honey can be harmful if it is not stored properly. Moreover, people with diarrhea or dyspepsia should not consume it.

Read below for some pointers about how and when to use honey:

* For a glowing complexion and healthy body: Cream honey and one egg yolk and eat every day

* To get rid of flu: Drink a glass of hot lemon water mixed with two spoons of honey

* To strengthen your immune system: Mix two spoons of honey with a quarter of a spoon of fresh lemon juice in a glass of water. You should drink three glasses of the mixture a day.

NOTE OF CAUTION

Don't keep honey in metal containers. Honey contains organic acid and sugar which corrodes the metal. Elements of the metal may leach into the honey causing those who eat to suffer from nausea and vomitting.

If honey starts to show air bubbles, you should throw it away.

* To overcome exhaustion: Eat one spoonful of honey which is rich in fructose and glucose, easily absorbed into the blood.

* To treat a cough: Make several slashes in a whole lemon. In each slash, pour honey. Leave for two hours. Cut the lemon into pieces and suck each one.

A natural beautifier

As well as the above, honey is also good for your hair and skin.

* For smooth locks: Put four cups of warm water in a jug, then add one teaspoon of honey and stir.

After shampooing, towel dry your hair. Spread the mixture of honey and warm water over your hair and leave to dry.

Another beauty tip is to mix two soup spoons of honey with two soup spoons of olive oil. Spread the mixture from the root to the tip of the hair. Cover your hair with a hat or turban for 30 minutes. Then, shampoo your hair and rinse. Let your hair dry naturally.

* For soft skin: Put a quarter of a soup spoon of honey in a sink filled with warm water and rinse your face

* Face mask: Mix two soup spoons of honey with two teaspoons of fresh milk. Apply the mixture to the face and massage lightly for ten minutes. Rinse your face with warm water. Alternatively, mix two spoons of honey, one egg white and one spoon of glycerin together. Apply the mixture to your face, leave for ten minutes, and then wash off with warm water.

* Lotion: Mix together one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of vegetable oil and one quarter teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply the mixture to the back of the hand, instep, elbow, heel or areas with rough skin and rub for ten minutes. Wash with warm water to soften the skin.

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