Apitherapy is the medical use of bee products formed for medical purposes. Bee products have always been an important part of man's nutrition. The products involved are honey, propolis, beebread, royal jelly, pollen and bee venom. Although healing properties of these honey bee products have never been proven, they are included in many religious texts and have rich history in the Czech lands.
Bees collect nectar, honeydew and other sweet juices from blossoms, they process them in their own digestive systems and store them in honeycombs where young bees turn this substance (early honey) into actual honey. For ten thousands of years, honey was virtually the only source of sugar and a universal sweetener in many countries. Ancient civilizations regarded honey as a miracle and honey still remains a sort of mystery even today, after years of scientific research – we still do not know everything about its essence.
Honey and Honey Treatment
The main and basic raw material used in apitherapy is honey. It is suitable to buy honey from Czech beekeepers who only process their own honey. You will thus avoid allergic reactions sometimes induced by foreign honeys since foreign honeys contain types of pollen exotic to us and our bodies are not used to them. Czech honey is also renowned for its high quality. Quality honey bee products and propolis for the purposes of apitherapy are available in pharmacy networks.
One of the basic healing properties of honey is that it kills bacteria and has antibiotic effects – honey is anti-inflammatory. It generally supports digestions and mitigates symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. It strengthens human psyche, central nervous system and the immune system. Honey gets absorbed quickly and it increases detoxification abilities of the body. Using honey improves and deepens your sleep which consequently improves your fatigue and replenishes your energy during the day. Its healing and supportive properties also manifest in anemia, mainly in relation to pollen. It is an excellent supporting agent for treatment of radiation diseases, liver diseases and pancreatic diseases. You can also use it as a cosmetic agent, as it cleanses the complexion and prevents acne. Even burns hurt less and heal faster if we put honey poultices on them. In this case, only the young and biologically "active" true honey must be used. If you catch a cold, try chewing on a honeycomb and the unpleasant cold symptoms should vanish within several minutes. Apitherapy also recommends chewing a honeycomb once or twice a day; this will provide great prevention against allergic hay fever.
Honey makes our hearts stronger. In cases when it is necessary to boost this organ fast, honey is recommended because glucose gets absorbed the fastest, it strengthens the heart muscle and increases its performance.
Honey is used in apitherapy as a prophylactic agent in various occupational diseases. E.g. in Germany, honey is supplied to workers in uranium mines as it helps against adverse influence of x-ray radiation to a certain extent. Honey is extremely useful for recovering patients as it shortens the time of healing.
Using honey reduces toxic effects of everyday "delicacies" such as coffee, strong tea, alcohol or tobacco.
Honey mobilizes mental strength, helps against diseases to the nervous system, and mitigates influences of stress, tension and exhaustion. In Spain, Belgium and Sweden, honey is used to treat conditions of apathy and exhaustion.
Types of Honey
Blossom honey or nectar honey is prepared by bees from nectar-producing plants and trees. The honey is usually a lighter colour. It contains simple sugars, glucose and fructose and it is therefore easily digestible. It is a great source of energy and vitality – it drives away the spring fatigue.
Forest honey or honeydew honey is darker colour. It contains a larger amount of minerals and fewer proteins. Its use is suitable mainly in winter. It is also recommended of the respiratory tract and kidneys.
The crystallization process is common in all types of honey with high contents of glucose or dextrose. After some time, all types of honey crystallize, e.g. linden honey, honeydew honey, briar honey, rape honey and others. A single-species honey with a higher content of fruit sugar – fructose – never crystallizes. This is for example the locust honey.
The higher the glucose contents in the honey, the faster the crystallization gets. That is why blossom honeys crystallize faster than the forest ones. However, even a crystallized honey preserves all the nutritious substances. If we want to turn crystallized honey into liquid again, all we need to do is place it into a a warm water bath.
Propolis is another honey bee product used for healing treatment in apitherapy. It is complex mixture of many natural substances. Bees use propolis to glue their hive together. It contains resin, essential oils, waxes, pollen and many antioxidants.
Apitherapy applies propolis mainly for its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects. It is used mainly in the form of tinctures or ointments. We use propolis tinctures to treat acne, small ulcers, aphthas, festering wounds, feet mould, inflamed fingernail beds, etc. We can also use a diluted tincture for gargling and to get rid of mucus, to rinse our mouth in periodontitis.
Propolis ointment helps against eczemas, skin defects, psoriasis, in atopic eczemas; it also treats cracking skin, bed sores and burns.
Propolis may also have antibiotic effects, anaesthetic effects, it stimulates the immune system, neutralizes certain venoms, stops moulds from growing and destroys them, it supports healing of wounds, it has disinfectant effects and it mitigates adverse effects of radiation on the body. Theoretically, it may act against tumours, depressions and fatigue and it beneficially influences blood vessels.
Beebread is another apitherapeutic agent. It is a product of pharyngeal glands of bee workers and drones. The queen bee is supplied with beebread for life. Beebread contains minerals, fats, fatty acids, sugars and vitamins. It is not suitable for pregnant women or small children.
Beebread has the following healing properties: it acts antibiotically against microbes, viruses, it greatly enhances blood, it improves heart activity and deepens the breathing, it improves digestion and activity of stomach and intestines, it slows down arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis. It is excellent for people in recovery and in the elderly. Beebread is good for female fertility, in combination with pollen also for male fertility, it also helps regulate women's menstrual cycle and it is also an aphrodisiac. It also makes our complexion look younger.
Bee venom is colourless, it tastes sour-bitter and it has a faint smell. It is also suitable for apitherapy purposes because it contains about 40 healing elements. Beekeepers use it in rheumatic troubles in the form of exactly counted stings. Bee venom is strongly unsuitable for amateur use as there is a great risk of allergic reaction. Everyone responds differently to a bee sting.
Apitherapy uses bee venom to mitigate serious diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis or lupus. There are even opinions that it may help treat the Lyme disease.
Bees use their venom as a defensive tool against intruders. A bee usually defends itself against a much larger enemy and that is why its venom has very unpleasant effects. The venom sack contains 3 - 4 mg of liquid venom; after the sting, this venom acts mainly on the blood vessels and on the nervous system.
Pharmaceutically enhanced bee venom is applied in various application forms in joint inflammation treatment. It is also used in complications with gout. Melittin, the substance contained in apitoxin - the bee venom – has strong anti-microbial effects and it supports production of the hormone cortisol. It is the cortisol hormone that has the ability to supress growth of the Borrelia type bacteria that causes the Lyme disease. Together with propolis, bee venom has great effects when treating psoriasis. Bee venom also has its place in cosmetics. It supports production of elastin and collagen, the basic components of skin, which maintain the skin young and fresh. In this case, it is applied onto the face in the form of a facemask.
Bee venom is unacceptable for people with diabetes who use insulin and people with severe heart problems.
Honey is suitable not only for internal use but also in the form of massages. Honey massage used to be very popular in the East, and at present, it has also found its place in our lands. Honey massage revitalizes and awakens the entire body, it is suitable against fatigue, stress and exhaustion as it releases tension and angst. Honey massage rids the body of toxins that weaken it. Honey used for massages is always natural and non-crystallized, without chemical additives and starches. The masseuse mixes the honey in the right way and spreads it on various parts of the body. After a massage, taking a little rest is advisable.
Healing Honey Recipes
Honey Drink against Liver Disease
In liver disease, it is recommended to drink a cup of tea with honey in the morning and in the evening. If you suffer from aches, you can sip a beverage made of lemon juice, olive oil and honey; drink it and lie on your right side for half an hour after you finish it.
Honey Drink to Mitigate Cold and Cough
Even ancient healers recommended tea from red clover with honey. In Czech folk healing, linden tea with honey is the most renowned. In case of tuberculosis, everyday drinking of coltsfoot with honey is recommended. All these recipes facilitate mucus discharge, they mitigate cough and improve the overall condition of the body which they also help keep warm.
Honey Drinks in Kidney Diseases
Drinking radish juice sweetened with honey once a day helps in case of kidney problems. Drinking hip tea with honey also helps. If you suffer from sand in your kidneys, prepare lemon juice with olive oil and honey and take one teaspoon three times a day. If you have trouble holding your urine and need to improve your weakened bladder, consume honey.
Honey Drink for Mental Regeneration
Mix one tablespoon of honey with 500 ml of kefir, two teaspoons of oatmeal and one egg-yellow. Add juice from one lemon and keep stirring the mixture until the oatmeal dissolves in the drink. Drink this beverage anytime you feel exhausted and weak, whether after mental strain or physical recovery or after stress.
Milk and Honey against the Flu and Cold
Add two teaspoons of honey and a pinch of butter into a glass of warm milk. Sip it several times a day if you have the flu or the cold.
Honey and Lemon for Healthy Liver and Skin
Fill half a glass with water, squeeze out one lemon into it and add two teaspoons of honey. It is a perfect drink to support your metabolism, improve your skin colour and texture and makes your liver stronger.
Honey and Garlic to Boost Your Immune System
Mix two or three cloves of fresh pressed garlic with two teaspoons of linden honey. Digest once a day.
Healing Onion Variation with Honey
Grate one medium-sized onion, add a tablespoon of honey and let them strain into a glass. Consume the resulting juice in teaspoons.
Onion Syrup with Honey against Cough
Slice three onions and put them in layers into a bowl. Then sprinkle brown sugar on the onions, cover the bowl and let them rest. Within a couple of hours, the onions will have started to let out juice; put this juice into a glass and add a bit of honey. Use this cough syrup several times a day.
Horseradish with Honey for Better Coughing
Grate ca 2 tablespoons of horseradish finely and mix it with a tablespoon of honey. Use two or three times a day in teaspoons. The drink takes effect shortly after use.
Linden Tea with Milk, Honey and Ginger
Linden tea helps against the cold. Pour hot water over one teaspoon of linden blossom, let it steep for 15 minutes and sweeten with honey. Drink two or three times a day. You can also improve and enhance effects of this drink with ginger. Grate fresh ginger or slice it thinly, pour boiling water over it and finish it with lemon or add it into the linden tea with honey. Make sure you sip it while it is still hot.
A known and popular recipe of our grandmothers helps with the first symptoms of the cold. Mix 200 ml of warm milk, a shot of rum and two tablespoons of honey. Drink two glasses of bearmilk in the evening and you will feel fine the next morning.