A shocking new study by Food Safety News (FSN) found that 75 percent of honey sold in major grocery stores doesn’t contain any honey at all.  Scientist and director of Palynology Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University, Vaughn Bryant, one of the leaders in identifying pollen types in honey, examined more than 60 “honey” products purchased from ten states and the District of Columbia.  He could not find even a trace of pollen in most of the so-called honey he examined.  Identifying pollen traces helps to ensure the integrity of honey. Worse than that, 100 percent of the honey examined from Walgreens, CVS, McDonald’s and KFC was not actually honey, according to FSN. (In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that’s been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn’t honey.) The FSN claims that the honey imposters were likely secretly imported from China and may be contaminated with antibiotic drugs and other foreign materials.  It also indicates that these products were likely heated to extremely high temperatures, forced through tiny filters, and possibly adulterated in some way. The study also found that the honey taken from farmers’ markets, whole foods stores, and food cooperatives was real and contained pollens and nutrients.  If you purchase honey, supporting local beekeepers and whole food stores is best.

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Ginger

This aromatic root has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Tibb-Unani (traditional Islamic) medicine to treat health problems including digestive ailments, arthritis, infectious diseases, fever, high blood pressure, pain and muscle aches. Today, researchers are zeroing in on the biochemical effects of ginger in the body, which may not only help explain its benefits but also begin to lay the groundwork for new and less toxic treatments for a host of illnesses.

Two key compounds in the spice are gingerols, which gives fresh ginger its pungency, and shogaols, which gives dried ginger its zip. Some of the most convincing findings on ginger’s health benefits in humans come from studies of morning sickness. A study of 70 women in the first trimester of pregnancy led by Teraporn Vutyavanich of Chiang Mai University in Thailand reported that women who received one gram of ginger per day had significantly less nausea and vomiting from morning sickness than a control group given a placebo.

In a 2008 review article in Food and Chemical Toxicology, the researchers highlight animal and test-tube studies that have found ginger can lower both blood sugar and cholesterol, contains pain-killing compounds that mimic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with fewer side effects, eases inflammation from arthritis and protects against ulcers.

Studies found that ginger has powerful antioxidant properties that protect against the toxic effects of radiation treatment and skin diseases caused by ultraviolet B radiation.

These studies lay the groundwork for possible ginger-based treatments for diabetes, arthritis and other inflammatory illness, protection against radiation sickness from cancer treatment and even cancer itself.

Even if ginger proves effective, these treatments are likely years away. What is known is that ginger has been used medicinally for centuries, underscoring its safety. Ginger is considered to be a safe herbal medicine with only few and insignificant adverse side effects, Badreldin notes. But he and his colleagues are also quick to say that large, rigorous clinical studies are needed to pinpoint ginger’s efficacy in various illnesses and uncover any side effects from long-term use.

If you want to try ginger, how much should you take? The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that no specific studies of doses have been conducted, but clinical studies on nausea generally use between 250 milligrams and 1 gram of powdered ginger root in a capsule, taken one to four times a day.

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