Your Guide To Discovering More Healthy Hive Products
We all know about honey and its many health benefits. But, did you know bees produce a lot more than just honey? Here are a few products below, how they are produced and their significant health benefits:
Beeswax and Honeycomb
Honeybees make honeycomb for the Queen Bee to lay her eggs (or larvae) to develop and where worker bees store the honey they make. Honeycomb is combined by many hexagonal prismatic cells and made of beeswax. The worker bees make this beeswax, by secreting wax from their own bodies and chewing it with a mix of honey and pollen. They need to consume a lot of honey as it takes so much energy to make this wax. That explains why the clever little bees use the honeycomb shape – to ensure maximum coverage with as little effort. You’ll notice using hexagons that you won’t get any gaps as you would with circle shapes, for example.
Honeycomb is the rawest form of honey. As it hasn’t been filtered out as such, it contains raw honey as well as small particles of beeswax, nectar, propolis, royal jelly and pollen. It is rich in carbohydrates, antioxidants and vitamin A. The wax is completely edible and contains long-chain fatty acids and alcohols, which could help lower bad cholesterol. Some people chew it at the end, which can improve oral health hygiene. We have a Honeycomb-Infused Honey, or you can browse our Honeycomb selection here.
Royal Jelly is made by the female worker bees to feed the new bee larvae. It is a thick, milky, jelly-like substance that the nurse bees secrete from their hypopharynx gland, located on the top of their head. Depending on the region and climate, it typically contains 60-70% water, 12-15% protein, 10-16% natural sugar, 3-6% fats and 2-3% vitamins, salts and amino acids. Around 20 young Queens that have been chosen at random will be fed purely royal jelly, helping them mature sexually, unlike the female worker bees who are sterile.
Royal jelly is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has been proven to support overall health, ease menstrual and menopausal symptoms, lower blood pressure and much more. It is commonly used in many skin creams to enhance collagen production, heal wounds and soothe burns.
Propolis is a compound produced by honeybees primarily to seal any gaps in the hive. They mix saliva and beeswax with sap from trees or other plant substances to create this resin-like “bee glue”. It is rich in flavonoids (antioxidants) and contains anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It is often used in toothpaste, mouthwash, nasal and throat sprays for these very qualities.
Depending on the area in which the bees have collected the sap, it can either have a sweet, resinous flavour or it can be quite woody or floral. You can try our Pollen, Propolis, Royal Jelly & Ginseng Infusion here or the supplement here.
Bee Pollen & Bee Bread
When honeybees attract pollen to their little hairy bodies from plant anthers, they brush it off and mix it with nectar or honey secretion from their salivary glands, or honey stomach. They then store this on their hind legs on their “corbiculae”, aka “pollen baskets” and bring it back to the hive to feed their young. Once back in the hive, they will fill most of a cell with this pollen, top it up with honey and then cap it with wax to preserve it. This is known as “bee bread”, and it is where honeybees get most of their vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins. For humans to get hold of bee pollen, contraptions are put on hive entrances by beekeepers to brush some of the pollen off the bees’ legs as they return with full loads.
You’ll sometimes notice a variety of colours in the pollen. This shows the many different flowers that the bees have collected from. Some of the minerals found in pollen include calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E. It tastes slightly bitter and powdery but goes well with breakfast items to start your day full of goodness! For example, in smoothies, with smashed avo on toast, acai bowls, fruit, yogurt and granola. Try it for yourself here.
If you are interested to hear more about any of the products mentioned, please speak to our knowledgable team at Times Square Center