© 2017 Honeyhunters Australia Pty Ltd

Apitherapy Congress 2017 - Passau, Germany

From March 25th to 28th, the Honeyhunters Team traveled to Passau, Germany to learn more about the wonderful bee products that can benefit human life. We would like to share what we have learned, and also talk more about some of these fascinating techniques!

Honey has long been used in ancient times to treat wounds, burns and diseases of the gut  . However, these ancient methods had little use in modern medicine, as it lacked support from scientific studies. Only in the last few decades has honey been regaining popularity as a medicinal product when research detailing its anti-microbial and bactericidal properties surfaced. It is shown that enzymatic activity in the honey will produce Hydrogen Peroxide, which is an anti-bacterial agent.  Despite this, many modern practitioners still regard honey as Alternative/Traditional Medicine.

After understanding more about honey, research has gone into other beehive products; such as Beeswax, Royal Jelly and Propolis. What was found that all these beehive products could be used to benefit humans, and it was just right under our noses! It is important to note that, although there have been numerous studies in Apitherapy, more research is still needed to determine the efficacy and mechanisms of these effects in humans.

Bee Venom Therapy (BVT)

You would think that bee stings cause pain and swelling, however the opposite is actually true! Pain and inflammation may be the initial reaction to a bee sting, but long-term effects suggest that it actually helps to relieve pain and inflammation    . The ancient Chinese has been using Bee Venom Therapy to treat multiple diseases, and is known to be one of the earliest stages of acupuncture (Apipuncture). In modern times, research has been done to see the efficacy of BVT for many diseases    : such as arthritis    , multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease    by relieving pain and inflammation, and letting the body heal itself. Studies done with rats with arthritis have shown to exhibit anti-inflammation properties.

Instead of direct bee stings, one can also receive multiple micro-stings. One practical demonstration in Passau showed a participant receiving micro-stings on his surgical scar. He said that frequent micro-sting treatments has helped him relieve muscle pain in his back and chest.

Antonio Couto, an expert on BVT, applying micro-stings on the patient

For people who do not like the sharp pain that comes with bee stings, there are creams and lotions that are made with bee venom to produce a slightly milder effect. Topical applications of these creams on painful muscles may help in relieving pain.

 

Before any treatment with BVT, you will have to make sure you are not allergic to bees! If you are allergic, you should not undergo this treatment.  

Bee Bread

What is Bee Bread    you may ask? Some people will tell you that it is only bee pollen, which would only be half correct. When the bees collect pollen from the flowers, they will store the pollen in honeycombs, mix it with digestive fluids and cap it off with a bit of honey. The bees digestive fluid contains a lactic acid bacteria, that will reduce the pH of the pollen to 4.1, below the pH level for microbial growth (pH 4.6). While the pollen is being stored, fermentation occurs, breaking down proteins in amino acids and starch into simple sugars, making it easily available to the body. The combination of all these ingredients create a highly nutritional and tasty substance, called bee bread. Regular bee pollen will not contain these ingredients as it is usually collected before the bees get the chance to store it.

While honey is known to be the energy source of bees, pollen is used by the bees to stay strong and healthy. Bee Bread is known to be a good source of unsaturated essential fatty acids and protein   . Because of it's high nutritional value, some consider it to be a valuable dietary supplement. It is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and also known to increase energy levels.

Honey Massage

Passau, Germany Apitherapy Congress 2013. Narrated by Dr. Stefan Stangaciu

Honey is well known to have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also be applied topically onto the skin for the body to absorb all the nutrients. Any type of massage can also be therapeutic to your muscles. So why not combine the two to create an even better treatment? Honey massage therapy uses the honey's hygroscopic property to draw out toxins and debris from your skin. Special techniques, such as 'cupping', will act like a pump to improve blood circulation, relax muscles and stimulate the lymph system.      During the massage, the honey will change colour and consistency as the body is cleansed of toxins. Although the massage can sometimes be painful, the afterglow of the massage will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

A honey massage is fairly easy to do. All you need is a blanket, some energy and a subject. We do not recommend eating the honey afterwards.

 

Propolis

 

Propolis is mother nature's way of fighting pathogens. It is made by the bees by mixing honey with resin collected from trees and plants. The trees use the resin to protect its bark from bacteria and fungus, and this anti-microbial and anti-fungal     property is transferred to the hive.     The bees will use it to seal any gaps, blocking intruders and pests from entering the hive. If a big pest enters and dies inside the hive, the bees will use propolis to mummify it so that it does not spread disease.     Without propolis, the hives immune system will be weaker and it will not be as strong and healthy.

Only recently has propolis been harvested to be used by humans. Preliminary research has shown that propolis can be used to fight infections     , help heal wounds and skin irritations   ,  reduce asthma symptoms    , and potentially decrease the number of tumour cells   .

You will be able to find propolis in a wide range of products. Cosmetic companies have been including propolis in their creams and lotions to help moisturize and reduce skin disorders. Respiratory diseases can be treated by inhaling propolis using a diffuser or nebuliser. Propolis can also be made into tinctures, for easy accessibility. New ways to use this amazing bee product are being realized every day.

 

Acknowledgements

[1] Eteraf-Oskouei, T., & Najafi, M. (2013). Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, 16(6), pp. 731–742.

[2] Chen, J., & Lariviere, W. (2010). The nociceptive and anti-nociceptive effects of bee venom injection and therapy: A double-edged sword. Progress In Neurobiology, 92(2), 151-183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pneurobio.2010.06.006

[3] Hoyt, J. (2015). Literature Review of Bee Venom Therapy: Mechanisms of Action and Selected Therapeutic Uses. European Journal of Oriental Medicine , 23(2).

[4] Lee, J., Park, H., Chae, Y., & Lim, S. (2005). An Overview of Bee Venom Acupuncture in the Treatment of Arthritis. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 2(1), 79-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/neh070

[5] Awad, K., Abushouk, A., AbdelKarim, A., Mohammed, M., Negida, A., & Shalash, A. (2017). Bee venom for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease: How far is it possible?. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 91, 295-302. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2017.04.065

[6] Lee SD, Kim KS. Effects of Achyranthes japonica and bee venom acupuncture on the cell immunity of LPS-induced arthritis in rats.  (1999) J Kor Acu Mox Soc.  16, 287–316.

[7] Bee Bread. (2017). Nordic Food Lab. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from http://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2015/9/4/bee-bread

[8] Kaplan M, Karaoglu Ö, Eroglu N, Silici S. (2016) Fatty Acid and Proximate Composition of Bee Bread. Food Technol Biotechnol. 54(4), 497-504. doi: 10.17113/ftb.54.04.16.4635

[9] Komosinska-Vassev, K., Olczyk, P., Kaźmierczak, J., Mencner, L., & Olczyk, K. (2015). Bee Pollen: Chemical Composition and Therapeutic Application. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 2015, 1-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/297425

[10] Honey Massage - Priya Therapy. (2017). Priyatherapy.com. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from http://www.priyatherapy.com/massage/detox-massage/

[11] Massaro, C., Simpson, J., Powell, D., & Brooks, P. (2015). Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of honeybee (Apis mellifera ligustica) propolis from subtropical eastern Australia. The Science Of Nature, 102(11-12). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-015-1318-z

[12] LESSON 112: The Sticky Subject Of Propolis (www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678). (2017). Basicbeekeeping.blogspot.com.au. Retrieved 13 May 2017, from http://basicbeekeeping.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/lesson-113-sticky-subject-of-propolis.html

[13] Borba, R., Klyczek, K., Mogen, K., & Spivak, M. (2015). Seasonal benefits of a natural propolis envelope to honey bee immunity and colony health. Journal Of Experimental Biology, 218(22), 3689-3699. http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.127324

[14] Sforcin, J. (2016). Biological Properties and Therapeutic Applications of Propolis. Phytotherapy Research, 30(6), 894-905. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ptr.5605

[15] Jacob, A., Parolia, A., Pau, A., & Davamani Amalraj, F. (2015). The effects of Malaysian propolis and Brazilian red propolis on connective tissue fibroblasts in the wound healing process. BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 15(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12906-015-0814-1

[16] Farias, J., Reis, A., Araújo, M., Araújo, M., Assunção, A., & Farias, J. et al. (2014). Effects of Stingless Bee Propolis on Experimental Asthma. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 2014, 1-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/951478

[17] de Mendonça, I., Porto, I., do Nascimento, T., de Souza, N., Oliveira, J., & Arruda, R. et al. (2015). Brazilian red propolis: phytochemical screening, antioxidant activity and effect against cancer cells. BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 15(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12906-015-0888-9