Royal jelly is a thick, milky mix of nutrients, which is produced from a combination of honey and pollen. All of the bees in a hive consume this substance, but larvae that consume it exclusively and in high doses grow larger than the other bees, thus enabling them to become queens of the hive. Queen bees live up to 4 or 5 years, compared to an average six weeks for worker bees, according to "Better Nutrition" magazine.
The use of bee products dates back to Paleolithic times, according to Alex Poplawsky of Emory University. The ancient Egyptians were master beekeepers who revered honey for its antibacterial and medicinal properties, and used royal jelly in skin treatments. The ancient Chinese used royal jelly as an aphrodisiac.
Royal jelly is often sold mixed with honey to keep its potency intact. This form of royal jelly should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling. Some natural food outlets offer royal jelly in capsules, powdered or freeze-dried. It also has been used as an ingredient in lip balm, shampoos and conditioners, and skin creams.
Royal jelly has been use to treat asthma, hepatic disease, insomnia and skin problems, among other conditions. Most of the reported benefits of royal jelly are provided by anecdotal evidence. More research is needed.
The "Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients" online magazine confirms the existence of evidence that royal jelly supports liver health.
Research has confirmed the antibacterial potential of a protein known as "royalisin," which is present in royal jelly. Royalisin was discovered to be effective in fighting gram-negative bacteria at low concentrations. The "Journal of Biological Chemistry" has theorized that an antibacterial protein found in royal jelly, called royalisin, helps the honeybee defend against bacteria.
The "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture" has reported that royal jelly appears promising as an aid to inhibiting the growth of tumors.
Poplawsky cites studies that indicate royal jelly's potential as a treatment for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Further research is needed to expand upon the implications of these initial studies...