Healing from the hive

Photo: istockphoto.com/Leonid Nyshko

Honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, and venom. Bee products are abuzz with curative powers and nutrients -- just one more reason to save these furry insects. Honey
Honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, and venom. Bee products are abuzz with curative powers and nutrients -- just one more reason to save these furry insects.

Honey
Produced by bees from the nectar of blossoms and plants, honey is a good supplier of energy containing riboflavin, thiamine, and ascorbic acid.

Delicious and nutritious, it's also helps with calcium retention, prevents anaemia and is beneficial in kidney and liver disorders, colds, poor circulation and complexion problems.

Honey also heals wounds. After studying it's healing effects, medical experts from the University of Bonn are using honey as medicine, calling it medihoney. In one of their studies, patients with wounds not responding to antibiotics experienced dramatic relief after several topical applications of honey. Researchers believe that this is due to honey's acidity, drying power and a bacteria killing ingredient called inhibine.

Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly is a highly nutritious whitish food with the consistency of mayonnaise, produced by the worker bees to feed the queen bee. It is rich in vitamins A, C, E and the B-complex vitamins including thiamine, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, pantothenic acid, inositol and folic acid.

Much sought after as the fountain of youth, it contains gelatin, one of the predecessors of collagen, which helps preserve youthful looking skin. It's reported to boost the immune system, improve sexual prowess, help in cell regeneration and inhibit the aging process.

PollenBee pollen is a power packed food, collected by bees from the male element of a flower. It's abundant in amino acids and contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and folic acid. In tests, after the lipids (fats) were removed, pollen had about 30 percent protein. It's used to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma, hayfever, anaemia, flu, shock and bodily weakness. Clinical studies indicate it may also be beneficial in treating chronic prostatism (enlarged prostate gland). And, it has been used to alleviate the symptoms of radiation sickness in patients being treated for cancer.

Propolis
Propolis is a resinous material, gathered by bees from the buds of trees. It is used to seal up any cracks or holes in the hive. Propolis contains approximately 55 percent resins and balms, 30 percent wax, 10 percent etheric oils and 5 percent pollen. It has a high vitamin content, and trace amounts of iron, copper, manganese, zinc and antibiotics.

Propolis is considered a natural form of penicillin and has always been used to treat wounds. Thanks to propolis beehives contain less bacteria and are more sterile than hospitals!

When taken regularly, it actually creates an antibiotic disease-fighting reaction to almost any illness, without dangerous side effects.

Venom
Bee venom, which contains two powerful anti-inflammatory agents, melittin and adolapin, is beneficial in many forms of arthritis. One theory is that the venom makes the body produce a very effective natural cortisone. Stings are generally applied to the same trigger points used in acupuncture. In recent years, the immune-stimulating properties of bee venom has prompted its use in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), lupus, asthma and AIDS.

CAUTION: Bee stings can cause fatal allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Before beginning any program of Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) it is vital that a physician test you for this allergy.

Not only are bees important as pollinators, they offer us the key to health. Let's hope 2008 will see a rise in the bee population.