The mere site of a bee may throw you into a tizzy, but these industrious little insects are responsible for a lot of good in the world. Bees pollinate most of our crops, and they lend many potential health benefits to humans.
From royal jelly to bee pollen, here are five bee products that deserve all the buzz they’re getting.
Raw honey is, essentially, honey that has not been processed or pasteurized. It’s straight from the hive—and that’s one reason why it has such a variance in color, from white to pink to dark yellow. Raw honey is not strained or filtered, so it often has ground-up parts of honeycomb, pollen, and other bee products in it (don’t be alarmed—this is totally normal and good).
Raw honey is a go-to for people during the colder seasons because of its health-boosting properties, according to a study by Biotechnology Research International. To reap the benefits, swallow raw honey straight from a teaspoon or mix it into a cup of warm tea for a daily health-boosting regimen.
Manuka honey, which is derived from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush in New Zealand, is getting a lot of attention right now—and that’s because this honey is packed with a powerful compound called methylglyoxal (MGO).
MGO is key because it supports skin health, moisture, and clarity, according to Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
Manuka honey is found in many beauty products to promote beautiful skin and hair. It’s also taken by mouth to promote intestinal health, according to Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. Most products recommend 1/2 tablespoon twice a day (or more as needed) to reap the intestinal health benefits. You can take this raw or mixed into a beverage.
This bee secretion is a substance used by bees to feed baby bee larvae. It’s kind of like bee breastmilk—which is what makes it so powerful.
Royal jelly has been shown to have powerful cleansing and purifying properties when used topically, according to Microbiological Research. But most commonly, royal jelly—like this one from YS Organic Bee Farms—is used in skin-care, as it is very moisturizing.
You can take royal jelly on its own as a supplement, or you can drink one or two teaspoons twice a day, with or without honey, in warm tea.
Just as it sounds, bee pollen is pollen that’s been collected from inside the hives of bees. It is a nutritionally-diverse substance, containing protein, fat, B-vitamins and folic acid.
A recent study in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that bee pollen offers potential uses in promoting skin health and repair, but most pollen devotees also take it as a supplement due to its nutritional content. Bee pollen has been reported to boast antioxidant properties, in addition to be being immune-supporting.
If you’re interested in trying bee pollen, you can find it in tablets or granules. Take the tablets once per day or add the granules to smoothies or yogurt. You can also whip up a bee pollen smoothie using a teaspoon of this potent powder.
Bee propolis is made when bees combine the sap they pick up from plants with their own wax and secretions. Bee propolis packs a punch because it’s full of polyphenols, which are powerful health-supporting antioxidants.
According to Phytotherapy Research, it may promote skin-healing and health, while a study in Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology suggests plenty of other immunity-boosting properties. You can find bee propolis in capsules, but it’s also available in liquid form, or even as a lozenge.
A word of caution: If you’re allergic to bee stings, consult your doctor or a The Vitamin Shoppe Health Enthusiast before using bee products.