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Apis melliferaApis mellifera

HONEYBEE

 

In Unani medicine, whole bee is given as a tonic and applied to stings. It is given homeopathically for similar complaints. Honey is universally applied to wounds and burns, and taken for lung complaints and constipation. Beeswax is used for similar purposes as honey in the East. Royal jelly is popular as a general tonic. Pollen is taken to build up resistance to hayfever.

 

The honeybee has always been recognized by man as one of his most valuable allies. By far its greatest contributions are the pollination of crops, followed by the provision of several intriguing substances that help human health.

 

PARTS USED

Bee venom and venom extract; whole body; honey; beeswax; propolis, the sticky resin collected by bees from plants to glue up holes in the hive; royal jelly, a bitter-tasting gel secreted to feed infant queen bees; bee pollen.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Mellitin in venom and whole body; inhibine in honey; beeswax; propolis; pantothenic acid (B vitamin) and acetylcholine in royal jelly; bee pollen.

 

ACTIONS

Counter-irritant (mellitin, whole body); antibiotic (mellitin, inhibine, propolis, royal jelly); tonic (whole body, royal jelly, bee pollen); laxative (honey); soothes internal body surfaces (honey); sedative (honey); anti-inflammatory (beeswax); stimulates the stomach (beeswax); relieves pain (beeswax); neutralizes toxic substances (beeswax).

 

MEDICINAL USE

Venom has been used traditionally for arthritis, and venom extract is prescribed as an antidote for bee stings in people dangerously allergic to them. Wingless dried bee is given in Unani medicine as a tonic or applied externally on stings and skin inflammation. Whole bee (Apis mel) is used homeopathically for painful inflammatory conditions and swellings. Honey is universally valued for wound, external ulcer and burn healing, is associated with longevity and vitality, is given for constipation where a gentle action is important, and is used for coughs and bronchitis. Beeswax is given by Chinese and Unani physicians for similar purposes. In the West, herbalists prescribe wax cappings, taken from the surface of honeycombs and containing some pollen, for hayfever sufferers to build up their immunity. Propolis dates back at least to the time of Aristotle as an application for bruises, wounds, skin inflammation, and burns. It is now taken for mouth and stomach ulcers. Royal jelly has been associated with hormonal effects, but these are unproven; its best-established effect is as a general tonic. Bee pollen is taken for a range of problems from impotence to depression, but its most general use is to build up the body's immunity to pollen.

 

PREPARATIONS

Whole bees: bee stings from live bees. Venom/mellitin: injections. Honey: with or without wax comb (honey in jars, which has been heated to enable debris to be filtered out, may have lost useful enzymes and other volatile ingredients). Wax cappings: in jars. Beeswax: raw or in hand and face creams. Propolis: tablets, lozenges, liquid extract. Royal jelly: tablets, ampoules of fresh chilled jelly. Bee pollen: grains, tablets.

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