Bee Products and Their Health Benefits

Three bee products and how to use them.
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Three bee products and how to use them.
Three bee products and how to use them.

1. Royal Jelly

What it is. High in protein and rich in nutrients, royal jelly is secreted by young worker bees, and is the main source of food for a colony’s queen.

What it does. Royal jelly has traditionally been used to treat infertility and ease menopausal symptoms, and research validates these benefits. In one study, it was more effective than prescription estrogen in reducing menopausal symptoms. Other studies show that it improves sperm count and testosterone levels, enhancing male fertility. Royal jelly also supports immune function, enhances collagen production, and reduces diabetes risk. And it may also help protect against Alzheimer’s.

How to use it. Royal jelly is available in powders and capsules, combined with other ingredients in tinctures, or frozen in its whole, fresh state. It’s traditionally held in the mouth before swallowing to increase bioavailability. Because it’s bitter, mix it with a spoonful of honey or jam, then let it dissolve under your tongue. 

2. Manuka Honey

What it is. This potent, healing honey is made by bees from the pollen of the Manuka plant in New Zealand.

What it does. Manuka honey is traditionally used to treat digestive conditions. Topically, it can speed healing of burns and wounds. It also supports immune function, and helps stop the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria that causes strep throat.

How to use it. Look for a UMF rating of 10 or higher, or a K Factor of 16–22 to ensure a high percentage of Manuka pollen. It’s best not to use Manuka honey in hot beverages, to avoid damaging the enzymes. Take it by the spoonful, or stir it into yogurt, drizzle it over berries, or add it to smoothies.

3. Bee Pollen

What it is. Used by bees to feed their young, bee pollen is about 40 percent protein, and rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fatty acids.

What it does. Bee pollen has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Studies show it can treat chronic and acute inflammatory conditions, speed the healing of wounds and burns, and relieve pain. Studies also suggest bee pollen can relieves stress, treat allergies, ease symptoms of menopause, and boost immunity.

How to use it. Add bee pollen powder or tinctures to smoothies. Whole granules can be sprinkled over oatmeal, salad, or peanut butter toast.

Bee Safe

While bee products are generally considered safe to use, they may not be appropriate for anyone with a bee or pollen allergy.

While bee products are generally considered safe to use, they may not be appropriate for anyone with a bee or pollen allergy. Check with your doctor first. Even if you have no history of allergies, it’s best to start small; some companies advise taking one raw bee pollen kernel or a drop of royal jelly under your tongue to start, then slowly increasing your dose every day. And be sure your honey, pollen, and royal jelly are free from pesticides and chemicals, and are sustainably harvested.

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