Apitherapy: Bees as Medicinal Midwives


| 3/28/2017 1:26:00 PM


Tags: beekeeping, apitherapy, pollinators, home remedies, natural medicine, Melanie M Kirby, New Mexico,

 

Pharmacology is the branch of medicine dealing with the actions of drugs in the body — their therapeutic and toxic effects. Our ancestors were the original pharmacologists; developing drugs from plant and animal sources. The word pharmacy originated from an Egyptian word, pharmaki, and the Greek, pharmakon. It is also related to the Egyptian word pharagia, which means “the art of making magic”. The ability of organisms to make medicine and to self-medicate play key roles in the development of pharmacology and in the making of magic.

Making magic with plants and flowers has its roots deeply entwined in the interspatial relationships over millennia with insects as pollinators. Pollinators procured the sweet and tangy nectars and the rich and robust pollens for their own nutrition and self-medication. In so doing, they have helped to fertilize flowering plants and thus, have served as midwives to blooms across the globe producing food and medicine for varied species for millennia.

The foraged food from flowers that bees collect is indeed magical in that it not only feeds them and their developing young directly, as well as other critters and humans, but also serves as medicine to their super-organismal health network. This ability to transform flower power into sweet elixirs and other potent hive products provides medicine for the one — and the many.

What is it that the bees have been eating and sharing with other organisms that lend to health? Bees visit numerous flower blooms and the mixtures through biological processes of chemistry and physiology keeps them healthy and provides healthy products which they share with humans as pharmaceutical (plant-derived) medicines. As super-organisms, honeybees have evolved as an efficient and productive species. More recently, they, along with other pollinators have been experiencing increasing challenges from climate fluctuations, habitat encroachment and industrial agricultural development.

Yet, there are pockets here and there around the globe, where the natural landscape and topography is helping to nurture stronger and healthier species, whose subsequent generations — like seeds, carry their genetic story to unfold over time while providing pollination for growing food, feeding life, and making medicine, magic, near and far. And, when bounties are plentiful, their products can be shared.




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