Be Healthy with Bee Products

BeeMost of us think only of honey when it comes to bees, but this article will also discuss other different bee products like bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Bee products have been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes, and that knowledge has provided research into the value of these substances

Let’s begin with honey. It is a natural sugar source that many of you put into teas, on toast, or include in recipes. It is considered the nectar of the Gods, and it consists mainly of glucose and fructose. It contains Vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, K, and Beta Carotene as well as minerals and enzymes. The medicinal properties of honey include the ability to heal wounds; fight inflections; suppress dry cough; and treat ulcers, canker sores, high blood pressure, and constipation; and it has antibiotic and antiviral properties. It also helps to break up excessive mucus. According to C. Leigh Broadhurst, Ph.D. there are four mechanisms proposed for honey’s healing properties:

  • Honey’s sugars are strongly attracted to water, forming a type of syrup. When spread onto a burn or wound, honey absorbs water and bodily fluids, thus inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth.
  • Raw honey contains an enzyme “glucose oxidase”; and when in the presence of water, it produces hydrogen peroxide (a mild antiseptic). This enzyme is heat and light sensitive; thus, cooked honey does not work in this application.
  • Raw honey contains bee pollen and propolis that stimulate tissue growth.
  • Additional constituents like essential oils, flavanoids, and polyphenols give honey some of its healing properties.

The only cautions with the use of honey involve infants and diabetics. Otherwise, it is very agreeable for most people. We prefer to use uncooked local honey for best results. Remember to cherish this nectar as it takes the lifework of 12 bees to make one teaspoon of honey!

The next bee product is bee pollen. Pollen is the primary food of bees and is rich in nutrients. It is considered a complete protein, contains numerous vitamins including B vitamins, minerals and numerous phytochemicals. Of course, the make-up of pollen is dependent on the plant life in the vicinity of the hives. Bee pollen is considered an energy and nutritive tonic and is used for longevity, endurance, recovery from illness, aiding in addictions, reducing the craving for sugars, building blood, alleviating hay fever and allergies, and stimulating immunity. The optimal dose of pollen is based on individual need. It is recommended for airborne allergies if it is local pollen, but one caution is to try very small amounts at first to see how one will react. Higher amounts are needed once you know that it can be consumed.

Anywhere from 6-15 grams can be consumed at a time. When eating bee pollen, consider that it takes one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather a 6-gram dose. Each bee pollen pellet contains over 2 million flower pollen grains. I use pollen from an organic source and love to put it into an energy shake once a day.

 Bee propolis is mainly made up of tree resins that the bees use like putty to seal cracks and openings in the hive, strengthen the comb, and seal brood cells. Propolis also sterilizes the hive and helps protect the bees from infections. More than 180 compounds have been identified and many are considered biologically active. Propolis has exhibited anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-allergenic, and antimutagenic properties. Propolis contains organic acids that give it antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties as well. In cultures it has inhibited the growth of viruses and fungi including herpes, influenza, candida and aspergillus, bacteria including E coli, staph and strep. It is also known to enhance the effectiveness of certain antibiotics, and it can be taken in conjunction with other prescribed medications. Propolis has been used in the following conditions: Wounds, ulcers, upper respiratory inflections, and for tissue growth.

The final bee product we will discuss is royal jelly. Royal jelly is a thick creamy fluid made by nurse bees’ bodies during the digestion of bee pollen and secreted by glands located in their heads. Royal jelly is the exclusive food for the queen bee, and it is fed to new bee larvae for just three days. Royal jelly contains a substance called HDA, a hydroxyl fatty acid, collagen, lecithin, Vitamins A, C, D, E, pantothenic acid, acetylcholine, estradiol, testosterone and live enzymes. Royal jelly has been shown to strengthen the bodies glandular system. It has been used effectively to treat malnutrition in children, arthritis, leukemia, skin disorders, high cholesterol and obesity.

As you can see, bee products have many benefits for us. You can consider bee products as valuable sources of nutrients for many preventive purposes as well when we have certain conditions. These substances come in many shapes and sizes from powders, liquids, and capsules. Remember the bee when using these substances and be mindful of the work involved. As with any substance, it is advisable to consult with your health care practitioner when considering them for therapeutic benefits.

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