There are five popular honeybee products used in apitherapy. These include bee venom, bee pollen, raw honey, royal jelly, and propolis. Each of these bee products works differently for various ailments.
Bee venom is most popular for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and many forms of arthritis. Bee venom is administered to patients either through direct bee sting or by injections. Various studies have shown that bee venom contains various substances including, adolapin and melttin. These compounds are very potent chemicals with anti0inflammatory activity exceeding those of the steroids. Melttin also stimulate the production of cortisol in the body, which is a natural steroid compound possessing anti-inflammatory property. Because of its anti-inflammatory property, bee venom is used in various conditions that has inherent inflammatory process, like tendenitis, bursitis, and arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The only condition that has actual scientific data supporting the use of Apitherapy for treatment is post-herpetic neuralgia. There are some reports that suggest that it may be useful in the treatment of infectious, auto-immune, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, neuropathic pain and other chronic pain conditions.
This is collected by the worker bees from flowers and is used as the protein part of their diet Bee pollen is an energy stimulating nutritional supplement. Bee pollen contains, various vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein. But the quantity of these nutrients is not more than that is seen in many food items. Some apitherapy practitioners use bee pollen to treat seasonal allergy, because ingestion of small amounts of pollen may desensitize the patient. There are various claims about benefits of bee pollen. Many of these claims including its potential to improve performance of athletes, and anti-aging activities are not yet supported by scientific evidence.
Honey is made from the nectar collected by bees from many different flowers. The bees store the nectar in their hive, in the concentrated form of honey, mainly for their own food. Honey is a good source of energy, because of its carbohydrate content. It is a
good source of vitamins and various minerals. It has a mild anti-bacterial and antimicrobial activity. Honey is shown to sooth soar throat. Apitherapist uses raw honey which has not been filtered, heated or processed in any form. Raw honey is shown to be better than the processed honey in some studies. Raw honey is used in apitherapy to suppress bacterial and microbial infections, especially those associated with skin wounds.
Royal jelly is the milky white waxy substance produced by the salivary glands of the worker bees. This is the food for the larval bees in the colony. The queen bees are fed this during the whole of their larval period, but worker bees are fed this for the first three days of their larval period only. This encourages correct development and the secret of bee queen’s long life is believed to be related to consumption of royal jelly. It is also believed to cause increased fertility in the queen bee. Royal jelly has been used in variety of medical conditions, including fatigue, infertility, lack of appetite and asthma. There are many clinical report of the benefits of royal jelly in variety of other medical conditions, but these claims are not largely supported by clinical studies. Animal and human studies have shown that royal jelly is capable of lowering cholesterol levels. Royal jelly is often used in women’s cosmetics including wrinkle creams. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that royal jelly retards aging process in human beings
This is a sticky resin that seeps form the buds of certain trees and is also called bee glue. Worker bees collect this glue and mix with their salivary secretions to create the glue that is used to coat the inside of the hive. The material is shown to have antibacterial activities and may be effective in the treatment of cuts and bruises. Propolis also serves as a source of flavonoids, which is a potent anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants are shown to heal the injury to damaged cells.
Bee wax is secreted by the worker bees from their glands on the underside of her body and used to build the home in which the bees live. This wax is created from the honey that these bees consume. Bee wax is used in face and hand creams, ointments, lipsticks and lip salves, coating tablets and capsules in the pharmaceutical industry.