With the help of the super smart cutie patooties at Beekeeper’s Naturals, I’m going to fill you in on all the bee-autifully nourishing gifts from our buzzing little buddies. From honey to propolis, organic and raw, I suggest you grab a biodegradable, re-usable baby wipe cause we’re getting sticky in the wonderful world of bee products.
Q- What’s the difference between Propolis, Pollen and Royal jelly?
Bee pollen is the result of the joint effort of bees and flowers. Bees visit flowers to gather pollen and bring it back to the hive to eat. It is the main source of protein for honeybees and is crucial for honeybee brood development.
Bee pollen is one of nature’s most nourishing foods. It contains most nutrients required by humans and is rich in proteins, free amino acids (easily absorbed by the body) and vitamins including B-complex and folic acid. It is richer in protein than any animal source. Like all other bee products, it has many benefits. To name a few: it can help with allergies, weight control and can increase strength and stamina.
The British Sports Council recorded increases in strength of as high as 40 to 50 percent in those who take bee pollen regularly!
Royal jelly is a special substance that is secreted by worker bees and fed to bee larvae to transform a female worker bee into a queen. All worker bees are fed royal jelly for the first few days of their lives but only the queen is fed royal jelly from thereon. Royal jelly is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes (it’s believed to contain nearly 5000 live enzymes!) and is responsible for the queen’s longevity (a queen can live for a few years as opposed to most bees living only a few weeks in summer and a number of months in winter).
Royal jelly is an adaptogen and has been used by humans for centuries to promote long life, stimulate the libido and restore vitality.
In animal studies, it has been shown to increase endurance, lower blood pressure, protect the liver, boost the growth of brain cells and improve memory, to name a few!
Propolis is a substance that bees produce by mixing tree and plant resins with enzymes and beeswax. The bees use this sweet mixture to protect and insulate their hive and keep it germ free. Propolis essentially acts as the hive’s immune system and bees will use the powerful antibacterial properties of propolis to embalm any hive intruders that the little bees can’t remove on their own. For example, if a mouse snuck into the hive, the bees would mummify it in propolis to ensure that it doesn’t spread its germs and stink up their home!
Bee propolis is one of the highest naturally occurring source of antioxidants and is full of flavonoids, polyphenols (acids and esters) vitamins and trace minerals. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. Often called “nature’s antibiotic”, propolis has powerful effects on the immune system and has been used for centuries to help fight colds, flus and sore throats. The active flavonoids in propolis work to promote cellular regeneration and support the immune system via its cell building compounds.
Studies have also shown propolis to have powerful effects on oral health. With its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, propolis makes a great breath freshener and can be effective for relieving canker sores and as a secondary treatment for gingivitis.
Q- Raw VS Unpasteurized honey?
Technically raw and unpasteurized honey are the same thing. Raw honey is honey that has not been filtered or pasteurized (i.e. it hasn’t been heated above a certain temperature – pasteurization requires temperatures of 161 °F or higher). However, when it comes to labelling, raw and unpasteurized honey can mean different things. Raw honey has not been filtered and contains all the other goodies brought to us by the bees like pollen, royal jelly, beeswax and propolis. A honey that is just labeled as unpasteurized is likely filtered to remove all of those goodies but hasn’t been heated so the honey still has all of its amazing benefits.
Q- Can honey and other bee products truly be certified organic?
How can they control whether the bees visit organic or conventional crops?
This is a difficult question. Many feel it can even though many beekeepers will argue that this is very difficult to control. To be certified organic, there must be no pesticides used within a 3km radius from the hive. However, bees can sometimes travel double this distance to forage for food. Often, organic beekeepers will have their neighbours sign something agreeing not to use pesticides on their lawns or crops. However, there are many areas where ditches beside roads and highways are sprayed with pesticides so it can be very difficult to control.
Q- You guys make an amazing propolis spray that helped mend my throat throughout the dreadful winter so:
A) Thank you & B)Why is propolis your favourite bee product?
So happy to hear our propolis spray helped! We love all bee products but living in a city, we all know how easy it is to get sick. We literally call over half the year “cold and flu season”! Propolis’ high levels of antioxidants and ability to support the immune system is a huge game changer for us. Nobody likes being slowed down by a cold or sore throat and for Daniel and I, propolis has completely changed the way our immune systems operate. We rarely catch whatever bug is going around and if we do catch that bug, we bounce back quickly!
We also love the versatility of propolis, from canker sores to fresh breath, propolis has so many wonderful effects on the body. As a long time cold medicine junkie, finding something that not only works but also helps your body function at its optimal levels is something you can’t let go of.
Big thanks again to Beekeeper’s Naturals for sharing their love and knowledge of bees with me!
For more bee loving articles & info on where to get their amazing propolis spray, check out www.beekeepersnaturals.ca