Doctor Bee

Credit: Terry Guscott

Many people are looking to preventative and alternative medicine as a way to fight disease, with focus on the beehive as a medicine cabinet as well as a source of honey. Apitherapy (api is Latin for bee), which has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, includes nutritional supplements and treatments for ailments ranging from ulcers to dyspepsia, autoimmune diseases and anorexia. The beehive also provides antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial treatments. The following are a few examples of beehive-derived therapies available at many alternative medicine outlets. (Source: Honeybee Centre.)


Bees create propolis from a mixture of leaf buds, resin, wax, honey and enzymes from saliva to sterilize the hive and seal cracks and openings. Propolis acts as an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and is used for colds, flu and infections. Honey The gluconic acid in honey acts like hydrogen peroxide and is now in use at some hospitals in England and New Zealand to clean wounds.

Bee Pollen

The pollen collected by bees is rich in B-complex vitamins and provides fatty acids and other nutrients. It provides energy and helps reduce the symptoms of hay fever.

Bee Venom

Venom is used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, gout, arthritis and fibromyalgia. It also kills warts.

Royal Jelly

Bees secrete this substance to feed queen larvae and queen bees. It increases mental clarity and is used as a multivitamin and to treat sexual dysfunction in women.