Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Role of Apitherapy in Human Health

By Dr. Seema Rathour1 and Dr. D.C. Karnatak

[Editor’s Note: This poster is part of the Second National Apitherapy Congress, Expo and Workshops with International Participation held November 21-24, 2008, in Iasi, Romania.]

Apitherapy is the use of bee hive products such as bee venom, bee-collected pollen, royal jelly, propolis, beeswax, and honey to maintain good health and in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions.

Honey – Honey is the pre-digested food made by bees from nectar. The bees collect the nectar from flowers and store it in their primary or honey stomach. There it is partially digested and converted into the substance we call honey. In past societies, honey was of great importance, particularly for its medicinal purposes. It was believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac and a valuable antibacterial wound dressing.

Health Benefits of Honey - Taking raw honey is a healthy way to get an energy boost. Its carbohydrates supply us with energy and strength. It can boost your endurance and reduce muscle fatigue. Honey is a great aid in relieving morning sickness, reportedly even more effective than traditional soda crackers. It's also good for sore throats including laryngitis and pharyngitis.

Honey and cinnamon can help in many areas including relief from bladder infections, arthritis, upset stomach and bad breath. It's even supposed to be able to slow down hair loss. Honey can be used as a medication for men with problems of impotence and women with problems related to infertility. Warm raw goat milk and raw honey is believed to increase sperm count considerably.

A salve made of honey has been proven effective for diabetic ulcers when other topical antibiotics are not well tolerated. It can be applied to eczema, canker sores or bleeding gums. Honey and lemon goes to work in the body shifting the extra fat stores, thus making it usable energy for regular body functions. And, honey is cholesterol-free. It reportedly can even help to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Honey has a viscous texture due to its low water content. It also establishes a poor environment for bad bacteria to grow, and is a good natural preservative. Doctors have combined sterile honey from Australian bees with seaweed to clean wounds infected after heart surgery.

Royal Jelly - Royal Jelly is derived from a combination of honey and bee pollen, combined with enzymes that nurse bees produce in their salivary glands and feed to the larvae. Royal jelly has traditionally been used through the centuries to improve skin tone, to bolster the immune system, and to increase energy levels. Recent human studies using royal jelly have looked at its ability to lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that royal jelly may stimulate the reproductive system. Some studies have indicated that fresh royal jelly can stimulate the immune system and help fight off viral infection.

Propolis – Propolis is a resinous substance gathered by bees from trees. It is used to fill holes and varnish and strengthen the hive. Bees also use it as a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal agent. It is used as a medicine and food supplement. The antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal activities of propolis offer scope for applications in food technology. Propolis is a bee product used in some cultures as treatment for mouth ulcers.

Propolis Decreases Cancer Cell Division - The in vitro anticarcinogenic and antimitotic effects of propolis and mitomycin-C (MMC) on transitional carcinoma cell cultures were investigated. Tissue samples were obtained from 22 patients with bladder carcinomas, which were exposed to propolis (0.1 mL) and MMC (1.6 µL). The differences between the control and exposed cells were significant. We conclude that exposure to propolis can decrease cell division and it may be used as an antimitotic and anticarcinogenic agent.

Bee Pollen - Collected from flowers and brought back to the hive as a load on the hind legs. It is a food source for the bee and is stored in the hive. Bee pollen is used as a food supplement. Bee pollen rejuvenates your body, stimulates organs and glands, enhances vitality, and brings about a longer life span.

Principal Project Manager, Biotech Park, Sector G, Jankipuram, Lucknow-226021
E-mail: seemarathour@gmail.com
Senior Research Fellow, G.B.P.U.A & T, Pantnagar-263145, Uttarakhand
E-mail: dineshkarnatak@gmail.com

1 comment:

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