By Phoebe Taplin, Moscow News, 9/28/2009
The 21st international honey festival is already in full swing at Tsaritsyno. This is the third time the market has been held here - it used to be at Kolomenskoye - and the venue is working out well. Just five minutes on foot from Tsaritsyno metro station, the festival grounds are right outside the main gate to the old imperial park which means visitors can also stroll past the musical fountains when they come to buy their honey.
…There is also royal jelly, and propolis, the resinous "bee glue" that bees use to fix honeycombs in place. You can of course also buy sections of the honey comb itself. Perga or bee-bread is another medicinal product popular among visitors to the fair. You can even buy crushed dead bees and venom for their supposed health benefits.
There is an almost mystical reverence afforded to honey and its by-products in Russia. Honey has a long history in this country.
It is said to be able to cure almost anything. It's just a matter of finding out which type of honey to use. Yevgeny Kovergin from the Tambov region says his buckwheat honey with propolis mixed into it acts as a "natural antibiotic" and "boosts the immune system".
Yekaterina Kuzmetsova from Kuban, one of the relatively few women apiarists, stands proudly behind a large tub of bee-bread. In her immaculate white overalls, she looks more like a doctor than a farmer; she is eager to explain how it can cure all kinds of illnesses: cardio-vascular, gastric or bronchial. According to her, it can raise your blood pressure (if taken after meals) or lower it (if taken before), while smearing it on the skin can heal wounds or cure eczema, herpes and psoriasis. Many sellers stress the vitamin content of their honey, the amino acids, beneficial minerals and natural anti-bacterial agents…