Friends And Gifts From The Hive
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live”. This quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, who despite not being an expert on beekeeping clearly realized the importance of this noble insect to ecology and agriculture. The honey bee and a relative the bumble bee are directly responsible for the pollination of over 90 fruit and vegetable crops globally. The loss of the bee would spell disaster for crops which are not self-pollinating, and thus for our agricultural food supply. The health of bee colonies worldwide may be seen as an indicator of global ecological balance. For nearly a decade, “colony collapse disorder", the phenomenon describing the disappearance of bees and their failure to return to their hives, has been linked to everything from global warming to cell phone towers. One indisputable threat to bees, however, is the use of certain insecticides which are highly toxic to honey bees and bumble bees.
We here in Eugene are fortunate to be the first city in the nation to ban the use of these neonicotinoid pesticides on all city property. We may be proud of our part in helping to save the bees. Remember the next time you savor an Oregon blueberry that a hard-working bee had something vital to do with it. For information on this topic go to saveoregonbees.org. As if pollinating crops weren’t enough, we may thank bees as well for their hive gifts of raw honey, pollen and propolis, all three valuable superfoods/herbal substances in their own right.
In addition to being a sweet treat, raw honey is also an effective anti-microbial both internally and topically, helpful in healing wounds and burns since it stimulates blood flow assisting in new tissue growth as well as preventing infection. Manuka honey from New Zealand is particularly revered for this. These regenerating, soothing and purifying properties made honey one of the Pharoahs’ cosmetic facial masks. Add oil of frankincense to revive one of Cleopatra’s beauty secrets!
Since ancient Greek and Roman times, bee pollen has been touted as the so-called “nectar of the gods", used by athletes and warriors for stamina and endurance. A powerhouse of nutrients including high protein content, B vitamins and antioxidant carotenoids, some refer to bee pollen as nature’s multivitamin. Locally-sourced pollen may alleviate seasonal allergies, but be sure you do not have a bee product allergy first. Propolis is the bees’ antiseptic, composed of resins and saps gathered by workers and used to sterilize the hive, repelling germs and parasites. The highly appreciable amounts of bioflavonoids having anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and anti-microbial activity make propolis valuable in oral hygiene products among other uses.
Evergreen Nutrition is proud to carry raw honey, bee pollen and propolis from YS Organic Bee Farms, the first certified-organic honey producer in the country. Try tupelo, manuka or buckwheat for some tasty variety. Pollen is available fresh in the cooler or in capsules, while propolis can be found in herbal extracts, simply mixed with honey or in supplement form as well. YS Organics adheres to ethical and humane beekeeping practices and do not maintain colonies with the use of chemicals.
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