Its chemical composition makes it easier to digest than regular sugar, and its metabolism does not stimulate insulin secretion to the same degree as does sugar. Thus honey can be used in small amounts as a healthy substitute for regular sugar and artificial sweeteners. It also contains small amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Common indications for oral ingestion of honey include: insomnia, anorexia, stomach and intestinal ulcers, constipation, osteoporosis, and laryngitis. A clinical trial in Saudi Arabia found honey to relieve dyspepsia (chronic indigestion). It was also found to help heal bleeding ulcers and GI inflammation. Manuka honey from New Zealand was found to inhibit the growth of H. pylori, the bacteria that is sometimes responsible for the development of ulcers. Research has confirmed honey’s ability to act as a broad-spectrum antibiotic, as well as its antifungal and antiviral properties.
Indications for the external application of honey include treatment of athlete’s foot, eczema, lip sores, and both sterile and infected wounds resulting from accidents, surgery, bed sores, or burns. In many countries, including France and Germany, physicians recommend using honey as a first line of defense against burns, superficial wounds, and in some cases, even deep lesions such as abscesses. Wounds treated with raw honey generally heal faster and with less scarring than with conventional treatments. Raw honey is a natural and painless antiseptic. It kills germs because it is hydrophilic, meaning it absorbs or attaches to water in its environment thus dehydrating any bacteria it comes in contact with. In addition, honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme is converted to hydrogen peroxide, which is another powerful anti-microbial agent. In a 1991 study, honey was compared with silver sulfadiazine, the standard treatment for burn patients, and the results were astounding. Only 8% of patients treated with honey developed infections, compared to 92% of those treated with the silver sulfadiazine.
In addition to the previously mentioned medicinal uses for honey, it has also been shown to reduce the average size of postoperative scars significantly, treat cataracts and conjunctivitis, normalize the digestive microflora, calm the nerves, and facilitate sleep. These are just a few of the many uses for honey.
(from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)
Propolis contains flavonoid compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity as well as tissue strengthening and regenerative effects. A 1994 Polish study found that mice given propolis lived longer than the mice in the control group. Antioxidants are thought to have anti-aging properties in humans as well.
In many countries where antibiotics are not widely available, it is a common to use propolis to heal a wide variety of wounds. Used as an antiseptic wash or salve, propolis is able to prevent the growth of bacteria in cuts and burns and it can also promote the healing process in lesions of the skin that have not healed. Used as a mouthwash, propolis is able to prevent bad breath, gingivitis, tooth decay and gum disease and it is commonly taken as a remedy for sore throats. Propolis is capable of acting as an anti-inflammatory as well. It can help with symptoms of arthritis, boils, acne, asthma, dermatitis, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Propolis has also been found to have antimutagenic effects, which may aid in the prevention of cancer. In conjunction with royal jelly it can ameliorate the side effects of chemo and radiation therapies.
(taken from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)
There is a rapidly increasing body of scientific evidence which shows that pollen has a variety of anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-arthritic properties. Its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic properties, as well as its immune system normalizing phytochemicals, allows bee pollen to be used therapeutically to decrease symptoms in people who have hay fever and pollen sensitivities. This is done through oral administration and is analogous to the way allergists treat people with desensitization injections. The therapy consists of giving a patient tiny amounts of a substance that a person is allergic to, and slowly increasing the amount over time.
Pollen has been reported to be useful in many other medical conditions including: varicose veins, high cholesterol and triglycerides, fatigue, infertility, impotence, anorexia, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, hypertension, prostatitis, depression, scar formation, and recovery from illness and surgery. Pollen is compatible with other therapies, it can be used long term, has no toxicity even at high doses for those who are not sensitive or allergic, and is safe to take as a supplement during pregnancy.
(from material provided by Andrew Kochan, MD, 6-08)
When a bee stings, it does not normally inject all of the 0.15 to 0.3 mg of venom held in a full venom sac (Schumacher et al., 1989 and Crane 1990, respectively). Only when it stings an animal with skin as tough as ours will it lose its sting – and with it the whole sting apparatus, including the venom sac, muscles and the nerve center. These nerves and muscles however keep injecting venom for a while, or until the venom sac is empty. The loss of such a considerable portion of its body is almost always fatal to the bee.
Used in small doses however, bee venom can be of benefit in treating a large number of ailments. This therapeutic value was already known to many ancient civilizations.
Honeybee venom is a clear, odorless, watery liquid. When coming into contact with mucous membranes or eyes, it causes considerable burning and irritation. Dried venom takes on a light yellow color and some commercial preparations are brown, thought to be due to oxidation of some of the venom proteins. Venom contains a number of very volatile compounds which are easily lost during collection.
88% of venom is water. The glucose, fructose and phospholipid contents of venom are similar to those in bee’s blood (Crane, 1990). At least 18 pharmacologically active components have been described, including various enzymes, peptides and amines. Detailed information on the components is available in the Krell document noted below.
(taken from Krell, R.,“Value-Added Products from Bee-Keeping,”
FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin #124, 1996)