Get Buzzed: 3 Amazing Bee Medicines Explained
Get Buzzed: 3 Amazing Bee Medicines Explained
Did you know that honey has antibacterial properties, soothes coughs, and promotes wound healing?
Beauty is in the Hive of the Bee Holder
As a healing and delicious superfood, raw natural honey is a remarkable gem that humans across cultures and millennia have rightfully revered. But make no mistake; honey is not the only delightful golden treasure bees produce. Propolis, pollen, and royal jelly are each quickly making names for themselves as standalone healing remedies and functional foods.
It’s incredible that all four fascinating medicines - honey, propolis, pollen and royal jelly - come from the same fuzzy little pollinators. In assessing the power of each, we can only walk away with a heightened respect for those busy bees.
What is it? Bees collect this aromatic wax from various plants encountered on their daily journey. From the Greek pro and polis, meaning defense and city, respectively, propolis almost functions like drywall putty for the hive. Its thick, gummy resin is perfect for patching cracks and renovation projects. This ‘bee glue,’ as it is affectionately known, offers protection against the weather and even predators. The result of liberally using this antifungal and antibacterial hive sealant to bolster the structural integrity of the hive is a safe, hygienic internal space with a consistent internal temperature of 35 degrees Celsius.
What is it? Pollen is a crafted mixture of various plant pollen collected by worker bees, combined with their own enzymatic secretions and packed into honeycomb cells. This collaborative project, therefore, varies from region to region based on available flowers.
Ancient Greek, Chinese and Egyptian societies all revered the manifold medicines of the bee. So it should come as no surprise that bee pollen has even been singled out in the medical lore of antiquity. The Ancient Egyptians referred to bee pollen as nothing less than life-giving dust.
What is it? Possibly the single most bizarre thing eaten by humans, there is no question that royal jelly is a superfood - a superfood for bees. A one-of-a-kind compound in the jelly called royalactin alters the expression of a bee’s genes to stimulate the metamorphosis that creates the queen bee.
Royal jelly is secreted by the specialized glands of nurse bees. Except for the little hatchlings, who get it for up to three days, the queen is the only one with access to the off-white creamy acidic delicacy she will enjoy for her entire life.
The superpowers conferred by imbibing this gelatinous cocktail of vitamins, minerals, hormone-stimulating fatty acids, volatile aromatic compounds, and a whole class of “major royal jelly proteins” (MRJP) allow the queen to lay thousands of eggs a day and live up to five years instead of the worker bee’s typical 45 days.
It’s genuinely humbling to think of how much bees give us and how hard they work to deliver everything. We know that these cooperative, hardworking insects are critical for the sustainability of our ecosystem. And as if that wasn’t enough, they produce a rainbow of delicious and healing functional foods.
Honey, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly have all earned a place, alone or in combination, in a healthy lifestyle.
These four medicines belong to a category called apitherapy that stands wholly apart from herbal medicine or conventional nutrition. Each one is brimming with fascinating beneficial potential for increasing human vitality that blends the phytochemistry of flowers with the bee’s physiology and ingenuity, resulting in a chemically sophisticated melange of necessary core nutrients and wonderfully unique extras.
It might be easy to overlook the world of bee medicine, but incorporating some of what it has to offer may surprise you with just how real the effects are.
Perhaps it’s time to see what all the buzz is about!
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