It is said that the word "medicine" derives from "mead" (honey wine). Whether or not this is true, honey and the products of bees have long been used as medicine. Countries in Asia and eastern Europe have a wealth of traditional knowledge of apitherapy - the healing properties of bee products. In recent years, there has been a worldwide revival of interest. Honey, beeswax, propolis and bee venom, used in bee-sting therapy, are the main bee products used in apitherapy.
Honey has antibiotic properties: it is a sterile solution with a high sugar concentration that prevents the growth of micro-organisms. It is highly acid. It contains enzymes which produce hydrogen peroxide that kills bacteria. Honey is good for healing wounds and for skin treatment: its hygroscopic property is good for drying out wounds, and its permeability allows oxygen to pass through it.
FIGURE 19 Propolis for sale in Brazil.
Propolis also has medicinal properties: the gums and resins that bees gather from plants for propolis are the very substances exuded by plants for their own protection and healing.
FIGURE 20 Wide range of bee products for sale.