Contributions of honeybees to mankind are so overwhelming that we often forget to recognize how valuable and important they actually are. We remember that hive products offer food and practical medical support but we may forget that the major contribution to the global ecology is the sustaining by pollination of most of the wild and cultivated flora. No other insect species furnishes any useful products as do the bees.
Let’s review the many products that we can harvest from the honeybee hive.
Honey — Concentrated from the sweet nectar collected from blossoms, composed of 82 percent sugars packed with minerals, vitamins and enzymes. It is prized for cooking, and a multitude of important medical properties such as antiseptic and burn treatment. We enjoy its sweet, natural floral essence but need to remember that it is not just for tea!
Propolis — Amorphous, resinous material gathered from plant buds and bark to strengthen the hive comb structure, varnish the inner surface of the hive, with its antiseptic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Widely used in topical and internal medications for its healing properties. Used in fine varnishes and in ancient embalming.
Royal Jelly — Special nutritious food produced by nurse bees to feed young larva, converting the ordinary worker larva to a fertile, female queen. Rich in lipids, amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, widely used as food supplement and in dermatological cosmetics.
Bees Wax — Secreted by young bees, molded into strong hexagonal shaped comb cells to furnish support for brood and honey storage. Honey sealed n wax comb provides long (3,000 years) shelf life. Unique properties provide wide usage for candles, waterproofing, dentistry, polishes, and many healthy products.
Compared to petroleum-based paraffin, beeswax candles burn longer, give less smoke, less dripping, and fill the room with fragrant floral essence.
Bee Venom — Toxic liquid injected during a bee sting. Several proteins and enzymes cause painful inflammation during defensive stinging. Used by dermatologists test for allergy sensitivity. Bee sting therapy treats the symptoms of arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other auto immune conditions. For more information, visit American Apitherapy Society at www.apitherapy.org.
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