The honey bee as therapeutist

The ancient Egyptians used to diagnose diabetes the honey bee in a special way. The patient was given extra drink. The urine was caught and poured on loam. Excess sugar was diagnosed, when bees were attracted to the urine.

In ancient Greece lots of stories were told about babies, that were hidden for family or other riff raff. Children of gods - like Zeus on the mountain Ida - were fed by bees and therefore lived.

Herzliyya, 080.3.1983,
International Conference on Apitherapy 

An Apimondia theme Conference.

The mysticism of the old stories is lost, but nowadays bee products are still used for all kinds of bodily discomforts. The popular healing art with honey, pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, propolis and bees venom is caught under the conception 'Apitherapy'. 

In the official Western medical science we find of all these products for sure bees venom. At this moment there are serious investigations regarding the use of honey for burns.


Today bees products are different from industrial products. Bees products are natural, healthy, nourishing and harmless.

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On all sides honey is recommended as a healthy remedy:

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Moreover honey is a remedy for throat-, lung- and respiration complaints. An irritated throat is softened by melting honey in the mouth. Honey, worked up in mixtures, is recommended in the case of a cough.

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For allergies like hay fever honey from your own region is adviced. The pollen in honey builds up resistance against hay fever. Honey in lotions, soaps, creams is healty and feeds and cares the skin. Especially recommended for men with a dry skin, because honey attract moisture.


Pollen is seen as a nutricious substance. Especially applicable in diets. The booklet "Bees pollen for your heahh" (Carlson Wade) describes it as:

"All over the world pollen is accredited by scientists as a matter, which help you feel young; which build resistance against illnesses; which flither healing and which give you dynamical energy."

This Statement can hardly be contested !(?) Dr. Chauvin of the Institute for Apiculture (Bures-sur-Yvette, France) reports in 1956 that laboratory animals after two years of feeding with pollen "were full of life" and "they propagate quicker". 

It would carry me too for to mention, that pollen are suited to restrain very serious illnesses like cancer. I restrict myself to the opinion that pollen - especially in diets - are healthy.

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Belgium Publibel 2764F says that pollen
regulate the working of the intestines

Royal jelly

A bee larva, fed with royal jelly, grows in five days to relatively ernormous proportions. And "a (summer) bee, fed with honey, lives six weeks; a queen, fed with royal jelly, lives five years" the French giro check cover tells us. For some people the growing power of royal jelly is enough to believe in its beneficial power. But: it's never proved.

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French giro check cover

"It's commerce, which imputes important qualities to royal jelly. As long as no fraudulent quackery is tried or no empty expectations are created, which can be medically fetal, then it's allowed to accent the good qualities". Written by Maurice de Waele in 'Koninginnebrij, een bron van levenskracht' (royal jelly, source of vital strenght).


Presently cosmetic finns advertise emphatically with the fect, that they don't use paraffin but beeswax in their lotions, creams or salves. According to the meter below: "beeswax cares and protects the skin".

E. Segers writes in his booklet 'Bijenwas' (beeswax): "Beeswax is a valuable component to harden salves, creams, etc.". And: "beeswax heightens the capacity to contain water". Protecting and caring the skin ?????

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Worked up in tinctures propolis is known as a desinfectant. The only propolis item, I have found, is this Zimbabwe stamp 1998: the bottle with the cross. Not much. I still am looking for better items.


It's clear, that I criticize some ideas about the healing properties of bee products.

The books have a leaning to cry out the absolute qualities with great certainty and with a bombardment of scientific names and quotations. A favourable exception is Maurice de Waele (see royal jelly).

For all that: apitherapy belongs to the topic honey bees. And I think it's possible to make a nice chapter for your exhibit.

by Jan de Crom  
taken from "The Postal Bee" 1/2000 
Contact Group Bee Philately

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