Bees are the givers of health and life in more ways than one. In fact, a good deal of planetary life depends upon these small creatures.
For example, bees are responsible for 80% of the pollination needed for the existence of fruits and vegetables.
The most commonly known bee product is, of course, honey, which has been consumed by humans for thousands of years.
But royal jelly deserves an equal amount of attention. Here’s why.
Royal jelly, created within worker bee glands and fed to the hive queen, results in a life span that is up to forty times that of the worker and enables the queen to lay thousands of eggs each day.
Traditional Chinese medicine recommends royal jelly to prevent premature aging, promote longevity and improve sexual vigor.
Due to challenges involved in extracting the substance, royal jelly was once available only to royalty. Improvements in beekeeping have made it widely available.
Like many beneficial natural foods, royal jelly contains flavonoids —antioxidants that may be responsible for many of their benefits.
Flavonoids have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-allergic effects. They have also been shown to combat oxidative stress, enhance circulation, and decrease capillary fragility.
Research has confirmed a number of benefits associated with royal jelly. A study involving rats found that royal jelly reduced fibrinogen (a blood clotting protein), total cholesterol, and increased HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
In a meta-analysis of human trials, royal jelly was shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL.
In a study of ovariectomized rats (the ovaries were removed to simulate the effects of osteoporosis) royal jelly was almost as effective as estrogen (a known bone-builder) in preventing bone loss.
Like honey, royal jelly has an antibacterial effect. In a study that tested royal jelly and honey against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a disease-causing bacterium), a combination of the two substances demonstrated a greater antibacterial effect than either one alone.
Not surprisingly, royal jelly has been found to extend the average life span. In one study, mice that received royal jelly survived an average of 112 weeks, compared to 88 weeks among controls that did not receive it.
And in a different study it was shown to extend the life span of the roundworm,Caenorhabditis elegans.
Royal jelly can be purchased in a raw, spreadable “jelly” form but, due to its distinctive taste, many people prefer to consume it in capsules.
Note that people with an allergy to bee venom may experience an allergic reaction to royal jelly, and are therefore advised to avoid it.
Related Article: Royal Jelly: A Superfood Fit for a Queen (or King!)