Seven Health Secrets from the Hive

By Ol’ Drone

Contributions of honeybees to mankind are so overwhelming that we often forget to recognize their complete value and importance. We remember that hive products offer food and practical medical support but we may forget that the major contribution to the global economy and ecology is the sustaining, by pollination, of most of the wild and cultivated flora. In addition, no other insect species furnishes as many useful products as do the bees.

Let’s review these products that we can harvest from the honeybee hive:

HONEY: Concentrated from the sweet nectar collected from blossoms, it is composed of 82% sugars and packed with minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. It is prized for cooking and a multitude of important medical properties such as antiseptic and burn treatment. We enjoy its sweet, natural floral essence but need to remember that it is not JUST FOR TEA!

POLLEN: An important medium for cross-fertilizing flowers, worldwide food crops, and many natural foods that sustain wildlife of all kinds. Collected by bees to feed their young, it is 35% protein, mineral rich, and contains many enzymes. It also furnishes for us, a nutritious food supplement and is widely used to alleviate symptoms of hay fever, asthma and other allergies.

PROPOLIS: An amorphous, resinous material gathered from plant buds and bark to strengthen the hive comb structure and varnish the inner surface of the hive, with its antiseptic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It is an effective treatment for ulcers and bed sores and widely used in topical and internal medications for its healing properties. Also used in fine varnishes and in ancient embalming.

ROYAL JELLY: The special nutritious food produced by nurse bees to feed young larva; converting the ordinary worker larva into a fertile, female queen. It is rich in lipids, amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, and is widely used as food supplement and in dermatological cosmetics.

BEES WAX: Secreted by young bees, it is molded into strong hexagonal shaped comb cells to furnish support for brood and honey storage. Honey sealed in wax comb provides long (3000 years) shelf life. Unique properties provide wide usage for candles, waterproofing, dentistry, polishes, and many health products. Compared to petroleum-based paraffin, beeswax candles burn longer, give less smoke, less dripping, and fill the room with fragrant floral essence.

BEE VENOM: Toxic liquid injected during a bee sting. Several proteins and enzymes cause painful inflammation during defensive stinging. Used by dermatologists to test for allergy sensitivity. Bee sting therapy reported to treat the symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto immune conditions. For more info visit American Apitherapy Society at www.apitherapy.org.

BEE BROOD: In certain cultures and different parts of the world, (mainly Asia), the larva and pupal stages of honeybees are consumed as food. They are rich in protein and fat. In Japan brood is sold in cans labeled “baby bees”.

That is quite a list! No wonder we use the phrase “busy as a bee”!

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