Apitherapy is an art and a branch of alternative medicines in which honey along with other honey bee and hive products are used for medicinal purpose.
Honeybee – The Most Popular Bee
The honey bee is one of the member of class insect. It is a social creature that lives by making colonies that may survive for several years. The main character that makes it different from other members is the art of producing and storing liquefying sugar called Honey.
The honey bee is an oval-shaped creature. There are gold and brown color striations on its body. There is a bit different in color from light to darker. The bees with lighter body color are supposed to have more strong stinging powers and their body color is a warning to their predators. These are vegetarian bees that collect pollen and nectar from different flowers as their food and at the same time plays a vital role in the pollination process. Their body is densely covered with hairs that promote the pollen capturing ability.
Honey bees body consist of a stinger, antennae, three segments of thorax and six segments of abdomen. The face has eyes, antennae, and feeding organs. The eye consists of a simple as well as compound eye. The compound eye gives color distinguishing and directional information. The thorax portion of the bee consists of the wings, legs and the muscles that are responsible for their movement. The last segment, the abdomen’s six segments include female reproductive organs in the queen, male reproductive organs in the drone and the presence of stinger in both workers and queen.
Interesting Facts About Honey Bee
Honey bee gather nectar from minimum 2 million flowers for the production of only 1 pound of honey.
A honey bee visit 50 to 100 flowers during one collection trip.
A Honeybeecommunicate with other honey bees by Dancing.
The brain of the honey bee is oval in shape and about the size of a sesame seed. It has a remarkable ability to learn and remember things.
The male honey bees are larger in size than the worker honey bees, they are called as Drones. They have no stinger and do no work.
Their colony consist of 20,000 to 60,000 worker honey bees and 1 Queen. The worker honey bees live for 6 weeks and do all the tasks of the colony.
The Queen is the ruler of the colony. She lives up to 5 years and is responsible for producing 2500 eggs per day. The summer season is the busiest time for the queen.
Each community has its different odor for the sake of its member identification.
Honey bee’s wings produce a bee’s buzz sound on beating. The intensity of beating wings is 11400 times per minute.
.There are 170 odorant receptors in honey bee whereas fruit flies have 62 and mosquitoes have 79 odorant receptors. These receptors have exceptional olfactory abilities like signal recognition and social communication within the hive and also the odor recognition for the search of food.
Only the worker bee can sting. When it find some threat it dies once its sting.
During winter season these honey bees huddle together for the maintenance of hive temperature and when it is hot, the bees flutter their wings to fan the hive.
An average honey bee produce honey 1\12th part of a teaspoon during its whole life span
The only food that carries all the substances which are necessary to sustain a life, is Honey. It contains minerals, vitamins, water, enzymes and an important antioxidant “Pinocembrin”.
Honey seems to reduce odors and pus, help clean the wound, reduce infection, reduce pain, and decrease time to healing. In some reports, wounds healed with honey after other treatments failed to work.
This use of honey and other honey bee products for purpose of treatment is known as “Apitherapy”.
Honey is a by-product extracted from the nectar of flowers and the upper aero-digestive tract of the honey bee, which is concentrated by the dehydration process inside the beehive. Honey has a very complex chemical composition that varies depending on the botanical source. It has been used both as food and medicine since ancient times.
Honey has been used as a traditional Ayurveda medicine for over 4000 years ago, at that time honey, was supposed the only best treatment for more than half of the diseases.
Not only honey but other products of hive are also use extensively in Apitherapy.
Components of Apitherapy
Honey is a sweet fluid that is produced by the enzymatic and digestive activity of bees using nectar harvested from different flowers. Honey may be different on the basis of its composition, as the bees collect the nectar from the same type of flowers or from different types. Honey may use as raw or can be in pasteurized form. Raw honey is directly collected from the hive that may contain some trace amount of pollens or waxes . It is extensively used as a faster wound healing agent. Honey is used for a variety of diseases and conditions that include burns, seasonal allergies, inflammation. It provides a great antimicrobial activity, prevent acid reflux reduces the diarrhea duration, relief from cold and cough.
The ayurvedic effect of honey is well known for many conditions, such as
Pollen is the male part of the flower. The scientific evidence shows that the pollen has a great antimicrobial, anti-cancer, anti-arthritic, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory activities. Pollen has great antioxidant properties, it contains many enzymes and immune system normalizing phytochemicals. Bee pollen has 50% more protein than present in meat. Pollen has no toxic effect for its overdose even if it is used for the long term. Pollen has extensively been used for a variety of medical conditions such as anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, obesity, high cholesterol, fatigue, reproductive issues, hypertension, prostatitis, depression and fast recovery from illness and surgery.
Propolis is an important component of apitherapy. It acts as the Cement of the hive that holds it with a great strength. Chemically, this propolis is composed of resins collected from different trees and plants so its composition will be different on the basis of season, climate and the availability of plants and trees at that time. Propolis consists of waxes, essential oils, minerals and vitamins. Propolis has a great antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, anticancer activities. It has a vital therapeutic effect against
Chronic gum erosion
Acute gum erosion
Royal jelly is also known as “Bee Milk” as it seems like mucous. It is secreted by the hypopharyngeal and mandibular glands of the worker bees. Worker honey bees fed this royal jelly to the Queen larva. It is used extensively as Chinese Traditional Medicine. It is used Royal jelly is composed of proteins, sugars, carbohydrates, fats, free amino acids, minerals, vitamins and consists of more than 50% of water. It has great pharmacological properties. It protects the skin from UVB- Induced Photo aging by increasing the production of collagen. It is seen to have a great effect against:
it is a toxin, produced by the honey bee that makes it sting more painful. Bee venom is also known as “Apitoxin”. Bee venom also acts as a neuroprotective agent. It also destroys HIV by making holes in the envelope that surrounds the virus, abolishing its virulence. A bee sting is different from the insects as well as from other species of the bees. Bees sting is acidic in nature. The bee sting is relatively harmless. In people, it provokes a dangerous anaphylactic reaction. On stinging, bee also releases some pheromones that act as signals for other nearby honey bees. The worker honey bees sting only once in their life and the male drones are without a stinger. Bee venom is extensively used for therapeutic purposes.
Bee Venom Therapy (BVT)
BVT has a long history. The use of BVT for Rheumatoid Arthritis is well known. Firstly it was used as a fresh sting but nowadays it may also be used in injections forms. There are 60 known components that have been identified in the bee venom. BVT includes up to 40 stings that have to be received in one session. By keeping in view the severity of the disease, there may be more than 1 sessions within a week. Ice can be used for pain reduction and to make the skin numb. The basic aim of the BVT is the activation of an inflammatory response by the immune system. People that are allergic to the sting should avoid BVT. For the therapeutic purpose, bee venom is also available as “Bee Venom Pills”, and “Bee Venom Ointment”.
A great number of disease that can be cured by the use of bee venom. These include
Limitations of BVT
With the great benefits of bee venom, there are some limitations side by side. People that are allergic to the venom can get serious prophylactic reactions and an increased immune response that may be life-threatening.
Loss of consciousness