Honey is the best-known and most widely-used of the beehive products, with each variety offering its own appeal in terms of taste and texture. Its sweetening effect makes it a popular alternative to refined white sugar. Perhaps its most notable advantage, however, is the plethora of health benefits it offers! These properties are used in many traditional medicines, particularly in India where it features in the famous Ayurvedic remedy
Everyone’s familiar with the benefits of honey for a sore throat: indeed it’s recognised as having an anti-bacterial effect. It’s also thought to be a source of prebiotics, carbohydrates which improve the gut flora, which is itself beneficial for the body’s defences. Honey’s protective effect is also enhanced by its content in antioxidants, compounds that combat free radical attack and prevent significant cellular damage.
Alongside the benefits of honey, those of royal jelly are equally significant. Royal jelly is often credited as being the secret to the longevity of the queen bee. Unlike her worker bees which have a lifespan of just a few weeks, the queen bee can live for several years! Given that royal jelly is her sole source of nutrition, it could indeed account for this surprising longevity.
Royal jelly has consequently attracted considerable interest. Even in ancient times, it was believed to have the power to invigorate the body and extend life expectancy. As a result of scientific progress, it is now recognised as having an excellent nutritional profile and numerous benefits. It provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals and active principles. Studies show that these compounds can help restore energy, combat fatigue, boost the immune system, improve performance and delay the signs of ageing. Supplementing with royal jelly therefore offers numerous benefits, particularly as we prepare ourselves for the ailments and lower energy levels that winter brings!
Propolis may not as well-known as honey and royal jelly but it has much to offer. A resinous substance produced by bees in order to protect their hive, bee propolis is often described as nature’s antibiotic, as it has a powerful antiseptic effect. Widely-studied, research shows its protective effects extend beyond anti-microbial and anti-parasitic activity.
Propolis is also able to boost the body’s immune system and antioxidant defences. In addition, it may help reduce inflammation, with an anti-inflammatory mechanism similar to that of aspirin. Last but not least, studies suggest that propolis has an anti-tumour effect. It therefore seems we could yet see even more benefits from this beehive product. But a word of caution: there are several forms of propolis available which differ according to the location and environment of the source beehive. Research suggests that to date, green propolis from Brazil has shown the greatest therapeutic potential.
BONUS: did you know that pollen also offers health benefits? Collected from flowers by bees, pollen contains a number of nutrients and active principles. A unique combination of pollen fractions beneficial for prostate health can, for example, be found in the product Prostaphil™.
We’re often told to expose our skin to the sun for 20-30 minutes a day to ensure we get enough vitamin D, but can this be done from behind a window?
Neem, or margosa, is a renowned Indian tree, the Sanskrit name of which - ‘nimba’ - means ‘to give good health’. Does it genuinely benefit the immune system and how can you get the most out of it?
Can you name 5 plants that help support the body’s defences? If the answer is no, get up to speed now with our list of plants known to benefit the immune system.
Zinc is known to be excellent for the immune system. Discover the ten best dietary sources of this trace-element. Can you guess which food takes the top spot?
Produced by bees to protect the hive from the cold and diseases, propolis is a veritable treasure trove of beneficial compounds. Discover its secrets and how to get the most out of it.
We’ve all heard of ginseng, the no. 1 ingredient in the Asian pharmacopoeia. But how is the word pronounced, what are the many health benefits associated with this plant and what accounts for them?