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By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: July 23, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Honey, a sticky, sweet substance manufactured by bees, has long been cherished as a priceless beauty secret by some of history's most infamous women. From Cleopatra’s legendary milk and honey baths taken to maintain youthfulness to Queen Anne of England’s honey and oil mixture for lustrous, shiny hair, honey has been making women beautiful for centuries.
In the kitchen
Along with being a beauty staple, the sticky substance also is a natural sweetener primarily composed of fructose, glucose and water. More than 300 unique kinds of honey are available, with the color and flavor depending on the bee’s nectar source, and including such diverse types as Clover, Eucalyptus and Orange Blossom. Generally, the lighter the color, the milder the flavor.
Honey also contains a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids that act as antioxidants to scavenge free radicals; darker honey types usually contain a higher antioxidant content. Available in many forms, including comb, cut comb, liquid, naturally crystallized, and whipped or cremed, this sweet concoction can be used in multiple ways on a spa cuisine menu.1
Sundara Inn + Spa in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, features a honey balsamic vinaigrette in its Grilled Portabella Mushroom Wrap and a honey horseradish vinaigrette on its Tenderloin Salad. For a main course, the Honey Dijon Chicken can be enjoyed at Tennessee Fitness Spa in Waynesboro, Tennessee, and the Honey and Sage Baked Peaches With Honey, Pistachio and Blue Cheese is a treat served at Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. A delightful addition to any indulgence, the Yogurt Granola Parfait at Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida, includes Greek yogurt layered with natural honey, berries and granola, and the Zinfandel Parfait with Toasted Almonds from Green Mountain at Fox Run in Ludlow, Vermont, combines wine, honey and yogurt. As a tempting dessert, the Bath House Spa in New Forest, Hampshire, England, offers Grilled Figs with Honey and Toasted Almonds, and for a play on a classic favorite, see Honey Banana Bread from head chef Jimmy LeSage at New Life Hiking Spa at The Inn of the Six Mountains in Killington, Vermont.
In the spa
Although honey is often used for its all-natural appeal, it actually has many skin care benefits to offer. The substance is a humectant, meaning that it attracts and retains moisture, making it an obvious choice for cleansers and creams. Honey is also an anti-irritant, which is useful for sensitive and baby skin care, and research is currently underway to develop a process using honey to create alpha hydroxy acids, which help exfoliate skin for cell renewal.1