Romania Keeps Ancient Tradition of Bee Medicine Alive
Isabelle Wesselingh, AFP News, 4/10/2014
Bee venom to combat multiple sclerosis, pollen for indigestion, honey to heal wounds -- the humble bee has been a key source of alternative medicines since ancient times, and Romania is working to keep the tradition of "apitherapy" alive.
The tradition goes back to ancient Greece when Hippocrates applied honey to treat wounds, and the Romans saw pollen as "life-giving".
In the past of India, China and Egypt, a resinous substance collected by bees from the buds of certain trees, known as "propolis", was popular as an antiseptic.
"The hive is the oldest and healthiest natural pharmacy," said Cristina Mateescu, director general of the Institute for Apicultural Research and Development in Bucharest.
Today in the wilderness of Romania's Carpathian mountains, honey bee products are still a familiar part of traditional medicine…
- Apitherapy pioneer -
Every town in Romania has its "plafar" -- natural pharmacies selling products made from plants, honey, beeswax and propolis.
"Romania is a pioneer of apitherapy, which it recognised very early as a component of scientific medicine," said US professor Theodor Charbuliez, head of the Apimondia Commission of Apitherapy, a group that brings together thousands of practitioners from around the world…