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Did you know that World Bee Day is celebrated every May 20? These industrious creatures are so vital to the ecosystem that a holiday was proposed for them by the government of Slovenia and approved by the UN General Assembly.
Bees, along with other pollinators, help maintain biological balance by carrying pollen from one flower to another. This enables the production of numerous fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – crops that feed humans and other animals.
Bees put food on our tables. But they don’t stop at pollination. Honeybees provide an assortment of products that can provide not just sustenance but also healing.
Honey is a sweet liquid that has been around for thousands of years. It’s delicious and rich in beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Honeybees produce honey by collecting nectar from flowers. It returns to the hive, delivering nectar to one of the “indoor” bees, passing it mouth to mouth, partially digesting and dehydrating the honey. Then they fan the honey with their wings, further removing the moisture. The bees seal the honeycomb by secreting a liquid that hardens into beeswax. This protects the honey from air and water and helps preserve it.
While it contains high fructose levels, honey has a lower glycemic index, making it a great sugar alternative. It also has antiseptic and anti-allergy properties. It’s also great for relieving cough and throat irritation and boosting immunity.
However, it’s important to choose raw honey to get the benefits of this bee product. Regular honey undergoes pasteurization, which kills many of the enzymes and nutrients. Raw honey like Larry’s Honey only goes through light straining to remove physical impurities without destroying the nutrients.
A lesser-known product of bees is propolis. Bees make it by mixing resin or tree sap with beeswax. They use this sticky, brown mixture to coat small gaps in their hives.
Like honey, propolis is replete with antioxidants that fight disease, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It also has anti-inflammatory, probiotic, and skin healing properties. Hence, it has been used to treat wounds, burns, cold sores, genital herpes, and may even help cancer patients.
ECHOstore carries Ilog Maria’s Bottled Propolis. Propolis is also present in other Ilog Maria products like Propolis Throat Spray, Propolis & Cider Liniment, Propolis Bath Salts, and Honey Propolis Liquid Soap.
Young worker bees between 12 and 17 days old are the best wax producers. They secrete wax from their abdominal glands, dumping it in the hive. This beeswax is used to form the walls and caps of the honeycomb.
This versatile bee product has been used since prehistoric times as the first plastic. It is also used as a lubricant and waterproofing agent, a polish for wood and leather, and for making candles.
Because it’s a fantastic humectant, it seals water in, making it an ideal ingredient for products like lip balms, creams, conditioners, and more.
The aptly named royal jelly is a powerful, milky substance made of digested pollen and honey or nectar mixed with secretion from the glands in the heads of nurse bees. It is fed to all bee larvae up to three days old. The queen larvae, however, continue to be fed with it and lives exclusively on it.
Royal jelly is full of protein, vitamins B5 and B6, and antioxidants. It is frequently sold as a dietary supplement and relief for hay fever, kidney diseases, menopausal symptoms, and high cholesterol. It is also known to improve brain function and boost immunity.
Royal jelly may also be taken topically to treat wounds and skin disorders. You can enjoy its soothing and rejuvenating benefits with Ilog Maria’s Royal Jelly Honeymilk Lotion, Royal Jelly Hair Oil, and Royal Jelly Face Oil.
The legs and bodies of bees get covered with pollen as they collect nectar from plants. They deposit these into the honeycomb, enriching them with enzymes and antibiotic substances, and becoming food for the colony.
These balls of pollen are also called bee bread and can be extracted from honeycomb cells. Considered a superfood by some, it’s rich in protein, essential amino acids, various fatty acids, vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.
Ilog Maria’s Bee Pollen can be used as topping on cereals, yogurt, or salad, or in juices and smoothies.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the beehive’s bounty. The next time you indulge in any of these products whisper a little thanks to the fascinating and hardworking bees that are so important to us and the environment.