By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Oh honey, you look good!
For thousands of years, bee products, including honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen, bee venom, and royal jelly have been used in countless ways, such as offerings, medicinal purposes, as a preservative, and even for military defense! So how and when was it discovered to benefit the skin? It is said that bee products have been used century after century, but it was not until the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s that the use of bee products started to slow down because of the discovery of cheaper and more accessible alternatives. But it is making a comeback now, loved by Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton, with its natural benefits to both the skin and body.
Apitherapy has been around for thousands of years. It is the use of bee products to treat, prevent, or heal certain illnesses and infections. Bees are literally busy, as nature’s little hard workers are buzzing with benefits from their products that have beneficial uses one way or another. In the past, honey was used as sacrifices to the gods, for food or medicine, and as a preservative. Beeswax was used as ointments, added to cosmetics, and used as candles. Propolis was utilized as medicine or as an adhesive with its antibacterial properties. Pollen was used as an astringent and some as a supplement believed to be beneficial to the stomach, heart, and intestines. Bee venom was used as medicine and even for military defense. And royal jelly was used for medicinal purposes. Most bee products are brimming with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Some say that they can successfully treat various health conditions, from allergies, cardiovascular diseases, dental problems, and respiratory problems to digestive diseases, eye diseases, and more because of the excellent properties they offer. It is also due to these properties that apitherapy is great for the skin, most especially honey, royal jelly, and pollen that are great in wound healing and care, among other benefits. Right now, bee venom, specifically its compound mellitin, is slowly gaining traction for its positive effects on the skin, too! While the sting can be painful (it is done by placing a bee near the affected area to sting), it can treat scars and skin lesions, reduce inflammation, and promote circulation. It can also treat various skin conditions from bruises and wounds, hair loss, melanoma, and moles to eczema, psoriasis, and skin tumors. Who knew that the answer to so many skin problems could be found in the bee?
Apitherapy is a natural way to treat certain illnesses and infections on both the skin and body. But note that apitherapy is recommended as complementary or alternative medicine and not as the only treatment to your current health or skin condition. More studies are needed to support apitherapy in medicine, so before you let yourself get “stung,” discuss apitherapy with your dermatologist. Remember, some may develop skin reaction or even anaphylaxis with this type of treatment since the bee venom consists of chemical agents that might cause allergic reactions. Not everyone is suitable for apitherapy (most especially bee venom therapy), so it is important to check if your skin or body can tolerate it. Take note that not everyone can try bee venom therapy, most especially those who are diabetic, pregnant, have digestive ulcers, have other health insufficiencies, and children below 12 years of age. This is why clearance from a physician is needed before proceeding.
Once you are cleared, get yourself ready to look and feel BEE-autiful with apitherapy!