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ALTERNATIVE MEDS UPDATE What you should know about the herbs and supplements patients use By Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP. Ms. Sego is a staff clinician at the Kansas City VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., where she practices adult medicine and women’s health. She also teaches at the nursing schools of the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas. Honey The product of some extremely determined and industrious insects, this golden, sweet, sticky wonder of nature is a staple in many kitchens. Given the severity of this country’s obesity and diabetes epidemics, most sweeteners have got- ten a fair amount of negative press attention in recent years. In contrast, honey’s beneﬁcial role in our culture has remained constant. In fact, its popularity appears to have increased. ISTOCKPHOTO Background by geographic region, but the variation has not been found to be statistically signiﬁcant. Perhaps the most amazing thing about honey is the proces- sion of events its production requires. One source claims Science that it takes more than 60,000 honeybees in a single beehive traveling some 55,000 miles and dipping into more than two Fresh from the hive, honey is free of microbial contamination million ﬂowers to collect enough nectar for one single pound of any kind.1 Because of this trait, it has been used for centu- of honey.1 Honey differs greatly in both color and content, ries to aid in food preservation. The perservative property is depending on the region of the country and types of ﬂowers attributable to the fact that as some of honey’s simple sugars involved in its production. enzymatically degrade, they produce a low level of hydrogen Technically, honey is composed of glucose, fructose, and peroxide along with its associated mild antibacterial effect.1 water.1 Honey produced in the United States has an aver- Medically, honey has been used for everything from age glycemic index rating in the low 70s, making it at least wound healing to gingivitis treatment. Medical-grade 10 points lower than reﬁned white sugar and high-fructose honeys are ﬁltered, g
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