Bees travel daily for miles to collect pollen from hundreds of flowers. Bee pollen consists of vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, bioflavonoids like rutin, and many enzymes. In addition to pollen, bees provide propolis, royal jelly, and of course, honey.
Flower pollen seems to be antibiotic in nature and is implicated in increasing athletic performance, reducing alcohol cravings, and helping prostate symptoms. Bee pollen is also positively associated with cell health. Bee pollen and the honey and bee products that contain it have shown to treat allergies. Taken initially in small amounts, the allergy sufferer builds up a tolerance to the allergens in the pollen and thus increases their immunity to local pollen. This works if the bee product is local or regional in nature. In other words, if you live on the west coast of the United States, get wild honey or bee pollen produced by those hives, not from somewhere far away. You want exposure to the local pollens from the local hives since the local pollen is what is irritating your allergies and causing a reaction. The small exposure to the bee pollen, which is built on over time, works in the same way that allergy shots work. You can also take bee pollen capsules before meals about 4-6 weeks before hayfever season.
Propolis is a tar like substance created from leaf resin which the bees use to protect and seal their hives from bacteria and fungi. This substance is bioflavonoid rich and is also antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. It is in many ways nature’s universal antibiotic. This substance taken orally can help with a cold or throat irritation, or problems with your respiratory tract. It can also be soaked in alcohol and applied to periodontal pockets or cold sores.
Royal jelly is food for the queen bee. She grows huge and produces many thousands of eggs, and her lifespan is many times longer than the average bee. It also shores up her immune system with hormone like substances and immunity enhancers. It is also B vitamin rich and is great for your immune system.
Raw honey contains many of these substances previously mentioned, and is great for your overall health. Raw honey is a superior sweetener and seems to be okay for some type II diabetics to consume. You want raw rather than processed honey because it still contains the natural enzymes and is usually capped with propolis and pollen. Raw honey is available online and in many health food stores.
Natural bee products can be utilized for improved health in a variety of ways, and all while supporting bee keepers and their hives. Remember to use regional bee products if you are looking to treat hay fever and other allergies, and remember to never give honey to children under a year to a year and a half old, since their stomach acid is not strong enough to kill the botulinum spores that can cause botulism, which can be fatal.
Bees not only provide crucial pollination for much of the food supply, but they also provide a wealth of still little understood health enhancers that science is only recently beginning to discover and document. The bee is truly proving to be not only the master pollinator, but nature’s doctor.