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    The Buzz

    You know when you start hearing about the same thing from different people at around the same time? This has been happening to me lately in regard to, well, bees. I was recently given "bee venom therapy" for an old injury and it disappeared. I was recommended bee pollen, raw honey and propolis for various purposes. So far, these recommendations have worked for me. I started to research and found some very interesting facts, products and recipes, which I thought I would share with you.

    Love,
    gp

    The Beehive Glossary:

    Beyond producing honey, honey bees, or apis mellifera, in the course of building and maintaining a hive, produce a variety of products including propolis, bee pollen, bee venom and royal jelly.

    Raw Honey

    It’s a vector for royal jelly, bee venom, propolis and pollen. Raw Honey specifically is obtained by beekeepers without heating the honey above 120°F.

    Manuka Honey

    A honey produced in New Zealand that is monofloral and must be produced with manuka pollen in order to be considered a proper manuka honey.

    Propolis

    Bees collect resin from trees and plants and combine it to seal and sterilize their hive. Propolis is rich in vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidant phytonutrients and flavonoids.

    Bee Pollen

    Bees are selective about the pollen that they collect from flowers to take back to their hive. They collect pollen on their legs and take it back to the hive where it is mixed with honey and traces of propolis, and then fed to larvae for their growth and development. This substance contains amino acids, vitamins B, C, D, E and anti-oxidants.

    Royal Jelly

    This is what only the queen bee eats. It’s produced by a gland on the worker bee and is packed full of Vitamins A, B and E and anti-oxidants.

    Bee Venom

    This is the substance that is contained in a bee’s sting. Frederique Keller, an acupuncturist and owner of BeePharm, Apitherapy for Health & Beauty says, "It’s a complex substance with over sixty components, mainly proteins, enzymes and peptides."

    Bee-Sting Therapy

    A little known therapy practiced by “apitherapists” that has been used for centuries uses real bee stings for ailments.

    Apipuncture

    A form of acupuncture that combines bee venom with acupuncture. Bee venom is injected in select acupuncture points.

    Products from the hive:

    Miele Mario Bianco

    This honey was recommended to us by Edward Behr of The Art of Eating for being one of the world’s best honeys with amazing flavor. The Bianco family has been producing honey for generations. Today, Mario Bianco’s son, Andrea, runs the business and keeps bees in the Alps near Turin and also in Sicily. They cultivate hives in the places they’ve found to provide the purest single varietal honey - these are honeys that have very pure, very distinct flavors because the bees are placed near certain kinds of plants from Acacia, to Thyme, to Rhododendron, etc. In the US, Mario Bianco’s honey can be found here.

    Bee Raw Honey

    This is a great and slightly extravagant gift for honey lovers. Bee Raw Honey gathers distinctive single-varietal honey from beekeepers across the United States. This “flight” of nine honeys includes Raspberry, Blueberry, Orange Blossom, Cranberry, Buckwheat, Sage, Sweet Yellow Clover, Basswood, Sourwood and Star Thistle. This is a great set for pairing with different cheeses or for adding a very special touch to breakfast yogurt and granola dishes. They also have smaller “flights” and honey by the jar.

    Here are some examples of their suggested honey and cheese pairings from their “flight” of 4 raw honeys:

    • Blueberry Honey from Maine:
      "Sweet buttery finish pairs with drier, earthy blue cheeses, such as Stilton."
    • Buckwheat Honey from Washington State:
      "Strong, spicy, molasses-like sweetness that complements the tang of a fresh goat cheese."
    • Sourwood Honey from North Carolina:
      "Very floral honey with a distinctive tartness that balances the strong flavors of bloomy rind cheeses like Camembert."
    • Sweet Yellow Clover from Colorado:
      "Delicate taste and warm undertones of cinnamon and honey mellow pungent or astringent flavors making it a match for washed rind cheese like Epoisses or Taleggio."

    Unbeelievable Health

    Unbeelievable Health makes BeePrepared immune support capsules that combine propolis with elderberry, olive leaf and beta-glucan vitamins. According to Unbeelievable Health, the MaxStrength is for when you feel like you’re coming down with something and DailyDefence works as a daily supplement especially during flu and allergy season.

    Abe’s Market

    This site is a true resource for natural and organic products for the home, and among them, there's a considerable selection of natural bee-based products, including raw honeys from different parts of the US, and plenty of propolis, pollen and royal jelly goods.

    A Few “Unbeelievably” Easy Recipes:
    Oat, Pecan & Manuka Honey Breakfast/Snack Bars

    Here’s a honey-packed snack bar recipe from Sarah Orecchia of Unbeelievable Health.

    • 1 cup porridge oats
    • 1 cup pecan halves
    • 10 dates chopped finely
    • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 2 tablespoons manuka honey (or regular honey)
    • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter

    Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Blend ingredients together in a bowl with a fork and mash until well mixed. Spread in the bottom of a non-stick or foil lined small baking tray (approx 6 x 8 inches or smaller). Bars should be about 1 1⁄2 cm thick. Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool and slice.

    Yogurt & Berries with Bee Pollen

    Vicky Vlachonis recommends it for a yummy mid-morning snack. Add 4 teaspoons of Bee Pollen to a bowl of Probiotic Natural Goat’s yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon, blueberries, raspberries and walnuts.

    Shake

    Add one and a half tablespoons of ground bee pollen granules to a fruit and berry shake of your choice for an energy kick. Our friends at Crussh make a “Love Juice” with one banana, 1 juicy peach, 8 – 10 strawberries, and 5 – 6 oranges. Blend in the bee pollen.

    At Raoul's in Maida Vale in London, they serve up a “Breakfast in a Cup” which has a blend of Orange Juice, Yogurt, Mueslie, Honey, Banana and Melon. Blend it to your taste.

    Bee Propolis Balm

    This home-made balm was recommended to us by the Unbeelievable gang.

    • 5 tablespoons melted beeswax
    • 5 tablespoons macerated calendula oil
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon lavender oil
    • 15 ml bee propolis liquid extract (NOT homeopathic tincture)

    Melt the beeswax in a small ramekin inside a small pot filled with boiling water that goes half way up the side of the ramekin (make sure water does not get in the wax). (You can also use a double boiler.) Add the calendula oil and continue stirring with a wooden stick or similar, until blended and melted. Carefully remove the ramekin and add lavender and propolis. Let cool a bit but keep stirring so it doesn’t harden unevenly. Once it starts to harden a bit, replace the ramekin in water and melt the mixture again, stirring all the while. Remove again and keep mixing until cooled a bit, blended and paste-like and then add to jar(s). Wipe out ramekin while still warm with a paper towel to remove balm before washing.

    Note: Ingredients, including small jars, may be bought in Neal’s Yard stores (in the UK) or online & in health food stores.

    Raw Chocolate Truffles with Honey & Bee Pollen

    For a mid-afternoon snack, some ridiculously easy to make chocolate no-bake truffles from Sarah Orecchia, of Unbeelievable Health.

    Makes approximately 16 truffles

    • 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
    • 1 cup medjool dates chopped finely
    • 5 tablespoons honey (manuka honey may be used if desired)
    • 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon bee pollen granules (soak in 1 teaspoon of water for 10 min)
    • extra cocoa powder & or powdered sugar for dusting.

    Blend all ingredients together in a bowl and mash well with a fork. Roll into balls of approximately an inch in diameter and roll in cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

    DIY Honey Skincare

    Here are a couple of super-easy, all-natural, honey-based skin treatments made using ingredients you probably already have stocked in your cupboard.

    Honey-Oat Facial Scrub

    The oats are a gentle way to scrub away dead skin cells while the honey coats and protects skin. Lemon serves as a natural astringent.

    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tbsp ground almonds
    • 2 tbsps dry, raw oats
    • squeeze of lemon

    Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Sample if you’d like (it’s delish). Massage onto face in circular motion. Rinse with warm water.

    Honey-Apple Toner

    The honey soothes and nourishes, while the acid in the apple gently tones skin.

    • 1 apple, cored and peeled
    • 1 tablespoon raw honey
    • squeeze of lemon

    Combine apple and honey in a blender and pulse until it reaches the consistency of apple sauce. Spread mixture over face and allow it to stay for 15 minutes, then rinse.

    Colony Collapse Disorder

    Entire bee populations have been mysteriously disappearing for the past few years, which presents a serious concern as, according to our friends at Bee Raw Honey, “commercial beekeeping operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.” What can you do? Support beekeeping by continuing to buy regional raw honey and natural bee products. To learn more, there’s also a documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder called The Vanishing of the Bees.

    A very special thanks to Sarah Orecchia and Erin McCann of Unbeelievable Health, Frederique Keller, and Zeke Freeman of Bee Raw Honey for providing all sorts of helpful information on bees for this newsletter.

    The goop collection

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