Food & Wine Photo Credit: Joann Pai

Bee-lieve it: Health Benefits from the Beehive

It’s not all about the honey. Think of the hive as nature’s medicine cabinet.

Pollen

What is it? Bees collect pollen from flowers and pack it tightly into little yellow pellets that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Add it to yogurt, granola or smoothies, or eat it straight from the spoon. Take it for: Some people take local pollen to treat hay fever—it teaches your body to build up an immunity to airborne pollen come springtime—while others use it as a protein-rich, vitamin-B-packed nutritional supplement.

Propolis

What is it? Honeybees use propolis—made from tree sap and beeswax—to keep the hive germ-free: it’s antifungal and antibacterial. Take it for: Mixed into a tincture, you can take propolis as an immune-system booster daily, or by the dropperful to fight a cold.

Royal Jelly

What is it? Worker bees produce this milky enzyme to feed the queen bee. She’s the only adult bee in the hive to consume this nutritional powerhouse—and the only one to live up to seven years. Take it for: The lightly creamy, slightly sour substance works as a cell regenerator and multivitamin, so take it as a general health tonic for mental clarity, fighting signs of aging and boosting the immune system.

Bee Venom

What is it? Honeybees release a dose of venom when they sting—and yes, it hurts. But the itching and swelling that occur after a sting can kick your immune system into action.
Take it for: Arthritis, multiple sclerosis and even warts can be treated with bee venom therapy (BVT), but consult a doctor first (and have an EpiPen at the ready).

 

honeyed banana dutch baby
The Honeyed Banana Dutch Baby by Julie Van Rosendaal. Photo by Joann Pai, styling by Juno Kim.

The Best Honey Recipes

Looking for more ways to enjoy the fruits of bees’ labour? Check out our top honey recipes including Honeyed Banana Dutch Baby and Buckwheat Honey Ice Cream.

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