Historically, the benefits of honey and other bee produced products have been documented clear back to as early as 2500 B.C. Documentation is found throughout history in numerous countries including Germany, England and Egypt. Nearly everyone knows that honey bees produce useful products in honey and beeswax as a source of food and among other things, candle making. However, not nearly as many people realize the full extent of the benefits that honey bees provide. They are our greatest contributor to pollinating crops with over $20 million dollars in value contributed annually. That benefit alone makes honey bees of extreme importance.
Famous historical women including Queen Anne and Cleopatra are known for having utilized honey during hair and skin therapies. Honey concoctions are said to delay and counteract the affects of aging on skin and to leave hair soft and shiny. Nutritionally, honey is known to be a great energy booster due to the quick energy provided by the glucose and the longer acting energy provided by the fructose that it contains. Depending on the flower sources from which the pollen was collected to produce the honey, it also contains vitamins, minerals and other beneficial substances. The Romans noted that honey is important to gastrointestinal health in that it provides relief as both a gentle laxative and relief for ailments such as diarrhea. It is likely in part due to the antibacterial substance, inhibine that honey contains interacting with sometimes troublesome bacteria like E. coli. Honey draws water out of bacterial cells causing the cells to dehydrate and die. This same antibiotic capability is the reasoning behind the use of honey in dressing wounds and burns. The honey also acts as a barrier to prevent further infection and aid in the healing process and is thought to reduce scarring. Other medical benefits include easing the pain of a sore throat and reducing cold and cough symptoms. Local honey has been shown to boost resistance to local pollens providing relief to hay-fever sufferers.
Aside from honey, the honey bees are also being utilized medically. While studies are still on-going and Apitherapy is not yet federally approved as a medical treatment, many are utilizing the venom from bee stings to treat symptoms associated with ailments including multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, gout, shingles and tendonitis. Bee venom therapy was practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece and China. Even Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine”, utilized bee venom for the treatment of arthritis and other joint ailments.
Today, growing scientific evidence is suggesting that various bee products promote healing through improved circulation, decreasing inflammation and stimulating a healthy immune response.
**This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consultation or treatment by your physician.**