Bees are important as they pollinate an estimated third of the food we consume each day. Of the thousands of species of bees, only the Apis mellifera (honey bee) has the ability to produce honey. Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses bee products and is becoming more popular in the health world, but what’s all the buzz about? Let’s find out with 7 Great Bee Products to Buzz About!
It seems only right to start with the most popular of bee products. Honey is a complex substance made when nectar, a highly sugary substance produced by plants and trees, is collect by bees. This, combined with an enzyme secreted by bees, creates the liquid gold we know and love. Honey is antibacterial, making it perfect for healing wounds and calming sore throats.
Honeycomb is made from the wax bees secrete after consuming honey. This is made in a distinctive structure to protect their larvae, honey and pollen. The honey stored within the honeycomb is the purest, rawest form of honey. Honeycomb contains long chain fatty acids which provide heart health benefits.
Bees collect pollen in structures on their back legs called pollen baskets. Once at their hive, the pollen serves as an essential source of protein to raise the number of bee eggs known as a ‘bee brood’. Pollen is considered one of nature’s most complete foods due to its comprehensive and balanced nutrient profile of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants.
4. Royal Jelly
This glorious substance is secreted from the glands in the heads of ‘worker’ bees (sterile females) and is fed to all bee larvae. After several days it is no longer given to the worker bee larvae or drones’ (males) larvae but only to the queens (fertile females) larvae. Royal jelly is full of B vitamins, essential for everything from metabolism to red blood cell production. If it’s good enough for the queen, it’s good enough for us!
Blended beeswax and saliva forms a glue used to seal cracks in bee hives. This sticky substance contains the compound ‘pinocembrin’ which is antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic – a triple combo of useful properties!
6. Bee Venom
I am sure most of you will be familiar with the feeling of a bee sting. When a worker bee stings, it injects bee venom known as apitoxin. This substance is suggested to help relieve arthritis pain via bee venom therapy…who would have guessed – you learn something new every day…!
7. Bee Bread
Despite its name, bee bread is actually made by bees, not of them. It consists of pollen, nectar and bee saliva, which is packed into comb cells which then begin to ferment. This process creates protein-dense pellets for the bees to consume and prolongs the shelf life of pollen, giving you more time to utilise the potency of its benefits.