We owe a lot to the bee: they pollenate our flowers and plants that we use for food, medicine and decoration. They also create some of the tastiest and most health-improving products in the world. Bee products, like honey, have been used for thousands of years to promote good health and taste.
For this week’s Friday Five, here are 5 bee products you might want to be adding in to your health regimen, especially for improving your immune system and having more energy! This is the perfect time of year to get educated and stocked up on medicines made from these amazing bee products–especially if you are prone to colds, flus, or other ailments. Of course, if you have a bee allergy or are under 1 year old, this doesn’t apply to you Thank you bees!!!
1. Raw Honey
Honey is the most popular and easily-recognized bee product around. The sweet, sticky liquid gold goes well in just about any food or medicine I could think of. It is perfect in herbal tea, drizzled on winter squash with butter, or as part of an oxymel (an herbal medicine made with apple cider vinegar and honey). It is very important that the honey you are buying is raw and local, and preferably unfiltered, for the most health benefits. Raw honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and it’s no wonder why! It has antibacterial/antimicrobial properties, as well as promoting wound healing, helps with sore throats and cough. Manuka honey is known for curing H. pylori, an infection in the GI tract. Local honey has been linked to prevention of allergies, as well as immune system improvement. It is full of enzymes, B vitamins and minerals that help improve health as well as add an amazing taste to any food or medicine it touches! My favorite is raw honey that still has the comb with it…so delicious!!
2. Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is clumps of pollen packed together with honey/nectar by bees; this is where part of the development of larvae occurs in the hive. Considered by many to be a “superfood,” bee pollen is rich in amino acids, B vitamins and enzymes. It is used for seasonal allergies as well as many health benefits like digestive health, increased energy, improved immune function, improvement in anemia, and even heart health. It has a very interesting flavor, and can be added to smoothies and other foods (should be kept raw), or taken in capsules and tincture form.
Propolis is the resin used to seal bee hives. It has been long used to fight infections and boost immune function, as well as help with sore throats and coughs. It is used frequently for fungal infections, like athlete’s foot and candida. It can be applied topically to burns and wounds to support wound-healing and is often found in salves for such a purpose. The use of propolis as an anti-inflammatory, including in the gums, throat and throughout the whole body, is widely known. Propolis is also used for improved energy and vitality, as it great for people who are aging, prone to illness or are feeling low energy. It is also commonly found as a supplement in tincture form to be used for it’s health-promoting purposes.
Beeswax is a pretty all-purpose ingredient, and a miracle for people who are into making things at home. Candles made from beeswax are natural air purifiers and can emit negative ions to protect against EMF’s in the home. They are also a great alternative to chemically-scented candles! Cosmetic products, lip balms, salves, lotions and ointments that use beeswax are very healing. Topical use of beeswax promotes healthy skin due to its fatty acid content as well as its vitamin A. It acts as a protective barrier for wound-healing, and has been shown to have anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties for topical use. Try to find products, including cosmetics and candles, that use beeswax instead of mineral oil, paraffin or other petroleum-based chemicals!
5. Royal Jelly
Secreted from worker bees, royal jelly is produced for the purpose of feeding the queen of the hive and the larvae. For this reason, it is extremely nutrient dense and has many medicinal properties. It has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, as well as improved blood pressure, blood lipids and circulation. Royal Jelly is also used to promote fertility in both men and women, as it promotes hormone balance, libido and sperm production. Athletes use it for energy and improved performance, as it can increase vitality and stamina. Royal Jelly is also used topically, as it is full of nutrients that are healing for the skin. It can be found in capsules and tinctures, as well as in cosmetics and salves.
What are some of your favorite uses for bee products? Do any of you keep bees or make your own medicine with honey or other bee creations?