Bees are one of the important parts of eco-diversity as we all are dependent on them for our survival. Bees provide us with high quality food items and other products such as honey, beeswax, bee venom, etc. Beekeeping also provides us an income source, especially for rural livelihoods. Bees are one the greatest pollinators that support food security because one-third of the food production depends upon the bees. There is a very famous therapy that is given to maintain the overall health of a person while using various honey bees products. The therapy is named as Apitherapy, let’s discuss this therapy, what are its benefits and how it is a part of Ayurveda.
Apitherapy – an alternate therapy for medicinal purposes using products obtained from honeybees. It is also known as bee therapy which has been playing a great role in ancient medicine for years. The ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Greek civilizations used this therapy for various illnesses and injuries. According to many researchers, these products are helpful in improving circulation, reducing inflammation as well as boosting the immune system. Further let’s discuss what are various products of honey and what are its benefits!!!!!
VARIOUS PRODUCTS OF HONEY BEE
Mostly the products we are commonly using are obtained from one species of honeybee – Apis mellifera. The products that we use for Apitherapy are as follows:
- Honey: Honey is one of the most known and used bee products. In Apitherapy, honey can be used in raw form which consists of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It has miraculous antiviral and antifungal properties.
- Bee Venom: The worker bees produce venom for their protection as well as the protection of their hives. Bees sting the attackers and inject their venom into them to save themselves. Bee venom is a great mixture of water, amino acids, proteins and volatile compounds that leads to a painful reaction if injected into one’s body.
- Royal Jelly: The bees produce royal jelly to feed larvae for a few days. Then the queen bees used to eat that jelly, worker bees live for 4-6 weeks and queen bees live up to 6 years. This jelly is rich in proteins, vitamin B complex and antioxidants. It prevents aging by reducing free radicals from the body.
- Bee Pollen: Pollen collected by the worker bees from plants are rich in vitamins, proteins, enzymes, minerals and amino acids. Bees transfer pollen from one flower to another flower and are responsible for their pollination.
- Beeswax: Beeswax is made by bees to build their honeycombs by plugging the honey cells and protects bees from various infections.
- Propolis: Propolis – a sticky substance made by bees from the plant resins. This sticky substance consists of properties such as antimicrobial and antiseptic. These properties prevent their hives from any kind of fungal and bacterial infections. Propolis along with beeswax helps in covering the cracks in the hives.
- Bee Bread: Bees produce pollen by mixing up different enzymes and honey. These pollen then ferments and forms bee bread, rich in nutrients and is easy to digest.
USES AND BENEFITS OF APITHERAPY
Apitherapy can be used in various health concerns that are mentioned below:
- Eases Arthritis Pain: For relieving pain in rheumatoid arthritis ancient Greece used bee venom therapy as it consists of miraculous anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Many researchers find out that it helps in decreasing pain, swelling and stiffness in case of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Heal Wounds: For healing wounds honey has been used since ancient times because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and pain relieving properties. Being an anti-infective, reduces the chance of infection as well.
- Treat neurological as well as autoimmune disorders: Bee Venom treatment can be used as a complementary management for diseases that are tied to the neurological system as well as immune system.
- Help in relieving allergies: Wildflower honey is one of the best remedies for allergies. It also soothes the throat allergies and helps in suppressing allergic cough. The conditions included are lupus, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s disease, etc. Bee venom helps in the management of these conditions by boosting the immune system and reducing the symptoms of mentioned conditions.
- Thyroid stimulation: BVT is found very effective in regulating thyroid functioning in those who have hyperthyroidism.
- Reduce plaque and gingivitis: Propolis when added to mouth rinse reduces plaque and gingivitis. Propolis is also found to be effective in healing aphthous ulcers.
- Serve as a great multivitamin: Propolis and royal jelly consists of a large number of nutrients and vitamins. Both these can be used as multivitamins for maintaining overall health.
IF ANY POTENTIAL RISKS OR SIDE EFFECTS OF APITHERAPY
Different methods of this procedure carry different risks. Some people are allergic to honey products, for them apitherapy is a dangerous procedure. Generally bee venom therapy is dangerous as bee venom can cause histamine response and lead to other irritations such as reddened, swollen skin, and can be life threatening. The following side effects are commonly seen with bee venom therapy:
- Severe body pain
- Uterine contractions
- Discoloration of sclera
- Muscular weakness
HOW APITHERAPY IS A PART OF AYURVEDA
Ayurveda is an ancient science that has been serving mankind for more than 3000 years. Ayurveda helps in management of various diseases with various different therapies. In Ayurveda there is no direct correlation of Apitherapy but there is an explanation of madhu varga which includes information about honey by Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Vaghbhata. So now we will give an explanation about Madhu Varga and how it is used in managing various kinds of health concerns.
General Qualities of Honey: Taste of honey is madhura (Sweet), qualities of honey includes laghu (light to digest), vishada (clarity), Ruksha (dry), vipaka (tasta after digestion) is madhura (sweet) and veerya (potency) of honey is ushna (hot). The Dosha impact of honey is Kapha shamaka.
Honey is one of the most useful ingredients in Ayurvedic medications. In these medications honey is used both internally as well as externally. Honey is mainly used in the treatment of cough, eye diseases, phlegm, thirst, blood in vomit, hiccups, diabetes, leprosy, asthma, obesity, diabetes, healing wounds, etc. Honey is also used as a sweetener and preservative in various Ayurvedic medicines. Honey improves efficacy of the other medications if used as an adjuvant.
Different types of Honey and its uses:
- Makshikam: Useful in treatment of hepatitis, eye diseases, asthma, piles, tuberculosis and cough.
- Bhramaram: Effective in blood vomiting.
- Kshoudram: Helps in reducing blood sugar levels and urinary infection.
- Chatram: Relieves worm infestations, blood vomiting and diabetes.
- Aaradhyam: Useful in cough, eye disorders and anemia.
- Ouddalakam: Helpful in relieving leprosy and in poisoning cases.
- Daalam: Improves digestion and helpful in managing vomiting, cough and diabetes.
Various uses of Honey in Ayurveda:
- Agni Deepan: Improves digestive fire
- Varnyam: Improves complexion of skin
- Svarya: Improves quality of voice
- Sukumara: Improves skin softness
- Vajikarna: A good aphrodisiac
- Sadhaniya: Helps in healing fractures and wounds
- Chakshushyam: Improves vision of eyes
- Medohara: Reduces obesity
- Chardihara: Relieves vomiting
Concept of Purana Madhu: One year old or more than one year old honey is known as Purana Madhu. It consists of lekhana properties which helps in balancing kapha by its scraping in various respiratory problems and also helps in scraping of cholesterol. This type of honey is basically advised in case of obesity.
How to use Purana Honey in weight loss – Due to the astringent property honey is effective in weight loss. Madhudka is one of the effective combinations useful in weight loss (mentioned in Bhaishajya Ratanavali).
Concept of Navam madhu (Bhavprakash): Navam madhu is nourishing in nature, not decreasing kapha dosha that effectively as purana madhu, promotes bowel movements.
Madhuchista: This term is used for the leftover material after the collection of honey. Various synonyms used for Madhuchista are siktaka, mathana, madanaka, madhukosh, madhushita, madhulita.
Uses of Madhuchista: It is mostly useful as a base for various Ayurvedic ointments. Madhuchista mixed with honey when applied over a wound helps in quick healing of wounds. Sikta taila is used to form Ayurvedic ointments, sikta taila is made up by 1 part of Madhuchista and 6 parts of Til Taila (Sesame oil). Various remedies such as Gandhaka Malahara, Pinda taila and Vranaropana Taila are prepared with the help of Sikta Taila.
So there are a lot of uses of honey in Ayurveda, thus Apitherapy can also be considered as a part of Ayurveda.
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Apitherapy – an alternate therapy for medicinal purposes using products obtained from honeybees. There are various products such as honey bee wax, bee venom, honey, royal jelly, etc. In this article we mentioned how all the honey products are useful in various health issues. As honey is mentioned in classical Ayurvedic texts so Apitherapy is also considered as a part of Ayurveda. So with the knowledge given in this article you can manage various health concerns by using honey products internally as well as externally.