We’ve long known the amazing power of bees and the substances they produce. Honey, propolis, wax, and royal jelly can be used in myriad ways. Apitherapy, the use of bee products as part of medicinal remedies, dates far back in history. The Ancient Greeks used propolis for treating abscesses, and bee venom for treating arthritis. The Egyptians used it in mummification. Charlemagne is also believed to have been treated with bee stings. Today bee products are being researched and used for their anti-inflammatory properties (bee venom), antibacterial properties (propolis), and to boost the immune system (royal jelly). Honey is used in many skin care products for its hydrating, anti-oxidant and antimicrobial properties. And of course, it simply tastes delicious!
One use that wouldn’t have occurred to me, but may have come in handy to our Neolithic ancestors, was to use wax as dental fillings. And boy did those fillings last. 6,500 years!
This New York Times article details the discovery of the filling in a jawbone embedded in a rock inside a cave in present day Slovenia.
The bees are truly amazing creatures. We are more dependent on them for our food supply than is reflected in our care for their wellbeing in recent decades. Backyard beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular and is a wonderful way to get to know these creatures first hand.
May your garden be filled with the buzz of happy bees. May your life be filled with sweetness. And may your fillings last as long as you need them!