Apitherapy: Medicine Made by Bees
Did you know that bees, those quiet, buzzing, diligent workers that gather nectar and pollinate plants, help to provide us with about one third of our food supply by pollinating crops? And that’s not all they do. Bee products can be used as medicine.
Raw honey is not only wonderfully tasty and loaded with B vitamins, it can also be used as a topical salve to treat burns and wounds, due to its antibacterial qualities.
Recent studies have shown that a beeswax and olive oil mixture can help ease dermatitis or psoriasis.
Ingesting bee pollen is thought to increase energy levels and stamina. It has been used to ease back pain as well as seasonal allergies.
Since it is believed to have anti-inflammatory qualities, the venom from bee stings has been used to treat arthritis and other joint ailments. Bee venom therapy (sometimes called Apipuncture) has also been reported to successfully ease multiple sclerosis symptoms, such as fatigue, vision problems and numbness.
Royal jelly is produced in the salivary glands of bees. It is used to feed all bee larvae and, if a queen bee is needed, the queen hatchling will continue to receive royal jelly for the first four days of its growth. It’s a milky white substance, and medicinally has been used to treat chronic fatigue problems and to increase appetite. Studies have indicated that royal jelly can lower cholesterol. Some practitioners consider royal jelly to be effective in bolstering the immune system, increasing energy levels, easing menopausal related headaches and vaginal dryness, preventing osteoporosis and, even, improving skin tone.
Bee propolis is a sort of bee glue that bees make from tree sap and beeswax. They use it to stick their hives together and repair hive walls. Propolis is considered an antioxidant and can be used to make lip balm. It’s also thought to be able to break down and soften scar tissue and help ease spasms in people with MS. If you have asthma, don’t use propolis because it can worsen your condition.
For some great ideas on how to add honey to your pampering routine, read Honey Do: Kitchen Cupboard Beauty Tips.
A word of caution
Bee products can, in some instances, cause severe allergic reactions, so be an informed consumer and consult with an experienced apitherapist or a doctor who uses apitherapy.
By Lynn Behrendt, contributing writer for Green Living at Care2.com