Age related illnesses, Immune | June 28, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Our honey bees have provided us with delicious, nutritious and immune supporting honey for hundreds of years. But did you know that propolis, royal jelly and bees wax are also used by us for such things as immunity, longevity and helping us to be environmentally-friendly? It is important for us to take care of our bees!
Let’s look at some of the amazing gifts they give us.
Apiculture is the science and art of prolonging, sustaining, and retaining health by using products obtained from honeybee hives. This includes such products as honey, bee pollen, propolis, honey comb and royal jelly amongst other things.
The honey we get from our bees is considered to be one of the most valued and appreciated substance obtained from nature since ancient time. Honey is being produced all over the world and is well recognized as a medicine as well as a functional and nutritional food, an antioxidant against aging and in its use in skin care.
Honey is composed of a mixture of water and complex sugars and is produced from the sweet nectar of plants
The nectar is swallowed by the bees, partially digested and regurgitated many times until it is at the desired quality and it is then placed into the honeycomb cells where it is stored to dry. At this stage the raw honey still contains water and also yeast. The worker bees use their wings to ‘fan’ the cells evaporating the water. Once dried, the cells of the honeycomb are sealed (capped) with wax to preserve the honey.
Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by a beekeeper, has a long shelf life and will not ferment if properly sealed.
Honey is a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other compounds, and contains a number of enzymes which include invertase, glucose oxidase, catalase, and acid phosphorylase.
It is this nutritional mixture that makes honey so good for us.
Studies have confirmed that honey is antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory. It helps us with rehydration and is easily digestible, can stimulate immunity, and is beneficial for all types of diseases of the skin.
Propolis is a term for plant resins that honey bees collect and deposit throughout the hive. This resin plays many roles within the hive such as waterproofing, temperature regulation and protecting from fungal and microbial invasion. This supports the health, well-being and lifespan of the bees.
Studies have supported beneficial use of propolis on humans in treating various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimycotic, antifungal, antiulcer, anticancer, and immunomodulatory properties.
Royal jelly is a watery mixture of proteins, sugars and lipids, secretion from the worker bees as a “superfood” for the queen bee. The majority of the protein content is made up of a group of proteins, known as the 'major royal jelly proteins' (MRJPs), which have five main members, and are rich in essential amino acids which cannot be biosynthesized. The lipid content is unusual, being highly acidic, giving it very good antimicrobial properties.
This superfood is the main reason for the longevity of the queen bee compared to the lifespan of other bees. Royal jelly is used by humans as a dietary nutritional complex to help combat various health conditions. Many pharmacological activities such as antibacterial, antitumor, antiallergy, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects have also been attributed to it.
Bee pollen is a raw material collected from the antlers of plants and mixed with a small amount of nectar or secretion from the salivary gland of the bee. This is referred to as bee bread.
This bread is placed in specific baskets (corbiculae) situated on the tibia of their hind legs. These are called pollen loads. The pollen is placed into the honeycomb along with a small amount of honey and sealed with wax. In here it ferments and becomes the basic protein source for the bee colony and the source of nutritional and mineral substances for royal jelly.
Bee pollen has been found to have potential medical and nutritional application due to its antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anticancer immunostimulating actions.
Bees wax is a natural wax produced by honey bees from wax-producing glands of the worker bees. This wax is used to use it to form cells for honey-storage and larval and pupal protection within the beehive. Chemically, beeswax consists mainly of esters of fatty acids and various long-chain alcohols.
The antibacterial properties make bees wax useful for many things such as:
Caution advise for people suffering allergies associated with bee products
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The residence in a beehive castle include the queen, the workers and the drones, each with their own life cycle.
The queen, worker and drone are known as castes and they all start their life cycle as an egg.
The queen lays around 2000 eggs a day singly in cells of the comb. Larvae hatch from eggs in three to four days. They are then fed by worker bees and develop through several stages in the cells. Cells are capped by worker bees when the larva pupates. A colony may typically consist of tens of thousands of individuals.
Development from egg to emerging bee type varies from queens, workers and drones. If the eggs are fertilized they become queen bees or workers. The drones are male.
The queen and worker castes are fed royal jelly in the first few days after they have turned into larvae, and then only the queen larvae receive the royal treatment to prevent them from turning into workers.
Worker bees then cap the cell containing the larvae with wax where it remains transforming to pupa and emerging to adult bees.
The role of the queen is to lay eggs, if she fails to do her job she is replaced, but she could live up to 7 years.
The drone lives for the chance to mate with the queen. Unfortunately, once this has happened they will die. And even if they don’t mate, they will only survive 5-7 weeks.
The worker bees, as the name implies, are the workers of the hive. In summer they are foraging for food and in winter they keep busy taking care of the queen. Their life may be shorter during summer as they virtually could work themselves to death. Generally, they live around 6 weeks.
Honey bees are major pollinators of native flowering plants and play an essential role in agriculture, not only producing honey and beeswax but also pollinating a vast number of food crops.
Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/
Medicinal and cosmetic uses of Bee’s Honey – A review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3611628/#ref9
Propolis Counteracts Some Threats to Honey Bee Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492060/
Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549483/
Bee Pollen: Chemical Composition and Therapeutic Application https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377380/