The History and Present of the Use of Bee Products

The History and Present of the Use of Bee Products

How and what did Cleopatra, Hippocrates, twelve-time Olympic medallist Nurmi, or your great-great-grandfather use bee products for? And how do we use them today? Our ancestors have been keeping bees since the 4th millennium BC. At first, they just wildly robbed bees of their supplies, then brought the logs with nest cavities closer to their dwelling. And so, thanks to the laziness of brown bears, beekeeping came into being. Our distant ancestors were able to use a surprisingly large number of bee products - some of which we still use thousands of years later in the same way; elsewhere we can only laugh at the ideas of beekeepers.

Beekeeping has gone through the same evolution as mankind itself

The first evidence of the life of bees and humans together is provided by wall paintings - just like our evolution, the evolution of bees has gone through many different periods. Bees evolved about eighty million years ago from ancestors similar to today's wasps. They gradually adapted to nectar and pollen collection and overwintered in a clump, just as they do at present. Bees gradually evolved along with flowering plants, so that different species of bees evolved according to different conditions. Bees spread to our area from the Mediterranean and our ancestors became interested in them even earlier than in animal husbandry.

Beekeeping came into being thanks to the laziness of Eurasian brown bears

At first, people robbed randomly found wild bee colonies of supplies. Over time, they began to mark the trees where bees nested, and even later they brought the logs with nest cavities near to their dwellings. They were too lazy to trudge through the woods following bees, so they started keeping them close to their own homes. First, they placed swarms of bees in pieces of hollow tree trunks, later they made hives from pieces of wood, sometimes they knitted bee dwellings from straw or wicker, which they smeared with clay.

historické proutěné včelí úly
Photo:, CC BY 4.0;

The first records of bee breeding among Slavs date back to the 9th century; beeswax was one of the goods exported from Bohemia at that time. The first dwellings of bees in hollow tree trunks were called bee trees (“brtě”), and bee breeding in beehives was called garden beekeeping. Honeybees were kept in logs, stands or lying beehives called “ležan”. Harvesting was carried out in the spring by cutting out part of the bee work; even then the rule was applied that only half of the work was cut out and the other half was left for the bees. Fees were then paid to the authorities from the bee breeding - usually in honey or wax.

historické proutěné včelí úly
Photo: Wikimedia Commons author: Laslovarga, CC BY-SA 3.0;

From 1335 we have had the first mentions of the production and sale of honey gingerbread. A few years later, gingerbread makers (“celetníci”) had their own street in Prague, which still bears the name Celetná. Mead, a favourite drink for festive occasions and welcoming guests, which was discovered by chance, gained in importance during the 16th century. At that time, beekeepers started to form guilds and the beekeeping rules were supervised by the authorities. In the second half of the 18th century, the last remnants of “brtnictví” (keeping bees in hollow tree trunks in the forest) disappeared for good. Gradually, beekeeping with fixed bee work began to be abandoned and the use of dismountable hives began. The real boom in beekeeping took place in the 20th century, when the construction of apiaries and hives in rows behind each other, as we know them today, developed abundantly. The production of honey and all bee products has also been increasing.

The effects of bee products have been noticed since the time immemorial

Man has been trying to use bee products to his advantage ever since he got to know bees. At first, it was rather unconsciously, but with the passage of time, bee products have been used in traditional medicine based on the experience proven by generations. And only a relatively short time ago, scientists, biologists, chemists, and physicians became interested in bee products, and have been trying to unravel their secrets and the essence of their effects on the human body.

Our ancestors were aware of the power of nature and that honeybees are a valuable part of it. Bee products are purely natural and unique; therefore, they can often cope with conditions that medical science only shakes its head at. And because each of us is different, individual products will affect us differently - in some people they will work right away, in others partially, others will have a longer therapy. However, many bee products have been used in the same way for thousands of years.

včelí produkty historie a současnost

It is just necessary to consider that allergies to bee products, as well as to almost everything around us, can occur, although they are not very common. Therefore, if you are not sure, it is advisable to do a small test before using any bee product for the first time, for example, by applying a little of the product on the inside of your forearm and after a few hours to see if it provokes any reaction.

And now let's look at how the history of the use of individual bee products (and mead :-) has written itself.




Květový pyl
Včelí jed

Mateří kašička

Včelí vosk

An important sweetener and an age-old helper of physicians and healers: honey

The fact that man has been harvesting honey since the ancient times is evidenced by the findings of cave paintings. For example, a drawing of a man gathering honey from wild bees found in the Araña Caves near Valencia, Spain, dates from around 12,000 BC. Similar motifs have been found in other caves too, e.g., Zombepata Cave or Eland Cave in Africa. One of the earliest records of beekeeping is a relief dating back to 2,400 BC, found in one of the sun temples at Abu Ghurab in Egypt, which depicts the process of gathering honey to its keeping in storage vessels. Beekeeping in ancient Egypt is also evidenced by a bas-relief on a tomb in Thebes from the 1st millennium BC, which shows a kneeling figure collecting honey from clay tubes used as a beehive. In the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, jars with honey have been found that are estimated to be 4,000 years old or more. They were airtight sealed with wax and the honey was still usable after this incredibly long time! The importance of honey to man since the Stone Age is evidenced by the fact that they often undertook difficult and dangerous climbs up cliffs or into the crowns of tall trees to obtain it.

med a jeho využití historie a současnost

Historically, honey was considered an important sweetener because cane sugar was still rare at the time and beet sugar began to be produced only at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the healers and physicians of the period could not chemically analyse the composition of honey, its effects certainly did not escape them.

The ancient physician Hippocrates, who is still known as the "father" of medicine, recommended honey as a miraculous general cure for diseases and as a universal antidote. He said that honey and wine work best for both the sick and the healthy when taken in the right amount and at the right time. Honey was dosed to the sick as a separate medicine, some physicians prescribed it blended with milk. It was used in mixtures with various medicines, especially for liver and kidney diseases and for stomach and intestinal disorders. Pythagoras and Hippocrates praised the properties of honey and believed that they owed their longevity to its regular use. The effects of honey were described in the works of the Roman scientist Pliny the Elder or the famous medieval Persian physician Avicenna.

historie využití medu

An Egyptian medical text on papyrus recommends honey as a remedy for bodily weaknesses. It states that this "miracle remedy" heals wounds, ulcers, rashes, and burns due to its antibacterial effects. For the sick, the weak, and the exhausted, it was a restorative. They also claimed that there is a substance in honey that makes a person beautiful and young. Cleopatra is said to have used it to maintain her legendary beauty. It is said that she used honey as a facial mask to rejuvenate her skin and added it to her milk baths. Poppaea, the wife of the Roman Emperor Nero, is also known to have used warm milk with honey on her skin. The ancient Romans considered honey to be the food of the gods, which was supposed to guarantee immortality, so they kept their strength up with it before war expeditions.

Our ancestors also liked to strengthen themselves with home-made honey and used it as a home medicine, especially for liver and gallbladder diseases or digestive problems. Honey has also been used for inflammations of the upper respiratory tract since the time immemorial, and tea with honey and lemon is still a common first aid for symptoms of cold. Its antiseptic effect has been used for burns, ulcers, and bedsores. Our ancestors also noticed that honey absorbs water excellently and can flush out pus and foreign substances from wounds, while also limiting the growth of bacteria and having disinfectant effects.1

med na lžičce

Nowadays, honey is the best known and most used bee product. First and foremost, it is a great option for healthy sweetening because it is easily digestible and barely burdens the body. In addition, it positively affects all the activities of organs in the body and gradually replenishes missing vitamins and other substances. It is a great supplement in liver diseases, overall recovery of the body, favourably affects the bladder and its pathways, kidneys, in which it accelerates filtration and reduces the deposition of heavy metals, the formation of stones, and swelling. It also serves as a powerful natural antibiotic.2 It also has a beneficial effect on the oral cavity and, unlike sugar, honey does not decay the teeth, but instead helps against the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Honey has been partially forgotten in the field of wound healing, but in recent decades it has made a comeback. The pioneer of the so-called moist wound healing therapy is considered to be the British professor George D. Winter, who in 1962-1963 conducted a series of experiments with dressing techniques and moist wounds, which are now considered to be the basis for the development of dressing and covering materials. In his research, professor Winter concluded that new epidermis forms up by 40% faster in a moist environment than in a dry one.

med v kosmetice

Honey has been used for cosmetic purposes since the time immemorial and is suitable for all skin types. Honey has a moisturising effect on the skin, which means that it absorbs and retains moisture. It softens, regenerates, brightens the skin, and protects it against external environmental influences. For its beneficial effects on the skin, it is added to many cosmetic products for skin, body, and hair. Besides products for smoothing wrinkles, treating skin inflammation, and rejuvenation, it is also used against various eczema or psoriasis.3,4 You can also try honey massage.

More about honey, how it originates, how it crystallizes, its effects and possible uses can be found in the article What actually is honey?

The history of dining of the peoples of Europe is associated with mead

From the earliest times, mead, the oldest heady drink born from honey, has been considered a source of life, wisdom, courage, and strength, which has preferentially gotten her to the tables of kings and heroes. It has also been referred to as the drink of the gods. In the past, people also noticed its aphrodisiac effects, therefore they referred to it as a love potion. In many countries, it has even given rise to the tradition of the so-called honeymoon. It was believed that mead had an effect on the birth of male offspring. However, this now slightly ridiculous idea may not be as far from the truth as it would seem at first sight. Researches show that the acidity and sweetness of mead affects the pH value of the female body, which in turn can affect the sex of the offspring born.5

historie medoviny

A number of Greek and Roman authors, including Plato, Plutarch, and Theocritus, mention mead in their works, and state that it enjoyed great popularity and esteem. Romans, however, did not drink the classic mead as we know it today, but mixed fresh honey in wine. So, it was not a classic fermented mead, but a honey-sweetened wine that was drunk in abundance and inspired many artistic performances and literary works.

During the Middle Ages, honey wine was widespread throughout Europe and was often considered a gift from the gods. In the Scandinavian countries, mead was the only wine-based drink until the discovery of the first maritime trade routes. For the Celts, it was a drink with magical powers, inducing a sacred intoxication, and the mead jar was one of the symbols of Celtic faith. Mead reigned, inter alia, among the ancient Germans, and is probably most associated with the Vikings, who gave it to drink to the newcomers they accepted among themselves, because they believed it would give them strength in battle. But it certainly was not their everyday drink, it was too expensive for that. The Vikings' cooking of mead was wild, but they still considered the whole ceremony sacred and magical, like a real ritual. Mead was drunk both by the lowest classes as well as by the high-ranking and wealthy Vikings - the social status therefore had no influence on mead consumption. However, the lower classes probably consumed mead of lower quality or mead diluted with water.

přípitek medovinou

In our region mead appears in old Czech legends, for example, mead was used to toast to Bivoj for his brave deeds. As a mythical drink it was popular at the times of the ancient Slavs and because of its uniqueness it was also used as a sacrificial gift to the gods. In the Middle Ages, it was the most widespread intoxicating drink in our country, it was drunk on various occasions and it was not to be missed in the cellars of lords or clergymen. However, its healing effects were already talked about at the time, in connection with the fact that it was made from honey - the basic ingredient of every physician.

How did mead come into being?

And who had the brilliant idea? Nature itself - in times of the greatest droughts, honeybees occupied holes in baobab trees, and when heavy rains came, honey mixed with water and natural yeasts. The mixture then fermented, creating the world's first yeast (and alcoholic) drink - mead, which was later discovered and loved by man.

Find out more about mead in the article Mead – Wine Made from Honey, Older than Mankind itself, where we also disclose to you our tips on how to savour mead, what types of mead you can find on the market, or how mead affects our body.

Propolis was used for treatment of diseases and injuries

Propolis, or also bees´ putty, has been known and used by mankind for centuries. Already at the beginning of its more than 5,000-year-old history, propolis has proven its effects in destroying microorganisms that negatively affect human health. As a medicinal substance it was used by the Egyptian pharaohs, the Assyrians used it to heal wounds and tumours. The Greeks added to their knowledge the treatment of purulent inflammation.26 The Celts attributed protective effects to propolis, burning it to ward off evil spells and magic, believing it could drive away evil spirits and bewitchment. It was also added to mixtures that were supposed to help establish contact with natural forces and good spirits and aid in healing.

využití propolisu historie a současnost

Propolis, the so-called third natural product of bees (next to honey and wax), was the subject of more than 15 Greek and Roman authors. In his Historia Animalium, the Greek philosopher Aristotle describes propolis as a dark substance with pungent odour that bees use to protect their hives, and which helps to heal bruises and ulcers. Hippocrates is said to have used propolis to heal wounds and ulcers. A Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro writes about propolis as a protection for the hive and a substance used by physicians for poultices, and later a Roman scholar Pliny the Elder mentions propolis as a healing agent in his work Naturalis Historia. The famous medieval Persian physician Avicenna mentions in his work black wax with a strong, sneeze-inducing odour that can draw out arrowheads or thorns.

In the Middle Ages, the use of propolis in classical medicine began to disappear. References to the healing power of propolis can be found in Georgian medical writings from the 12th - 15th century. For example, in a late 15th century medical treatise called Karabadini, its author Zaza Panaskerteli-Tsitsishvili suggests that propolis is good against tooth decay. Fortunately, the knowledge of the healing properties of propolis has been preserved in folk medicine, especially in Eastern Europe; propolis was called "Russian penicillin".

propolis v úlu

Interest in propolis returned to Europe thanks to humanistic physicians, who were interested in ancient teaching, and therefore some old and forgotten medicines and treatments were rediscovered and used again. Propolis, for example, was included in pharmacopoeias in England in the 17th century as the main ingredient of medicinal ointments. Propolis was also used to treat wounds during the Napoleonic Wars or the Boer War at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Only in the last century scientists have been able to prove that propolis is as effective and important as our ancestors thought. Research into the chemical composition of propolis began in the early 20th century and continued after World War II, although penicillin began to compete with it and with the discovery of antibiotics, the use of propolis began to decline.

A Danish biologist Dr. Karl Lund Aagaard was a major contributor to propolis research. Between 1967 and 1973, he conducted a series of studies involving 50,000 patients that proved the effectiveness of propolis in the treatment of various diseases and the fact that it causes almost no side effects. His work earned him the name "Dr. Propolis”: In many, many other studies and research around the world, propolis has already been confirmed for its antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anaesthetic, and healing properties. It is used in the treatment of dermatological, laryngological, and gynaecological problems, neurodegenerative diseases, healing of wounds, treatment of burns and ulcers.6 See other proven effects of propolis on immunity and antiviral activity.


In folk medicine, propolis has been used for a long time in the form of ointments or solutions - tinctures (look at the Experience with the Use of Propolis Tincture).

Propolis can destroy and kill bacteria, but it does not develop resistance as with antibiotics; stops bacterial growth, reduces sensitivity and pain, has stimulating effects and can cope with the effects of certain poisons. It also counteracts the growth of viruses and kills fungi. In addition, it also helps with periodontitis, toothache, cold sores, cough, stomach pain, gall bladder pain, inflammation of the urinary tract, inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, burns, and injuries. In the form of an ointment, it is then used for skin eczema, fungus, scars, cracked skin, or bedsores.7

Propolis has a regenerative effect on tissues and an antibacterial effect. Other properties include antioxidant effect and reduction of skin sensitivity. Propolis is added to various after-shaves, bath, skin and oral care products, as well as shampoos, creams, and soaps. Propolis contained in shampoos and hair lotions reduces the formation of dandruff and excessive sebum. It has antibacterial and healing effects in aftershave and anti-acne products. In cleansing creams and lotions, it shows a purifying effect.8

You can learn more about propolis, its properties, effects, and possible uses in the article What is propolis?

Flower pollen as the most perfect food

For a long time, beekeeping technology did not allow humans to collect fresh pollen or perga (honeycomb pollen or beebread) bee pollen, but when we finally figured out how to do it, we were able to make good use of it. Ancient Greek Olympians used pollen to improve performance in arena matches, and it is perhaps from them that modern athletes have been inspired. Paavo Johannes Nurmi, a Finnish athlete, used pollen as a nutrient and stimulant. He worked his way up to the position of the world's best athlete of the 20th century - middle- and long-distance runner; in total, he won 9 gold and 3 silver medals in 12 disciplines at the Olympic Games between 1920 and 1928. It was only later discovered that he was using bee pollen as "doping".

využití včelího pylu historie a současnost

According to Dipl. Eng. Štefan Demeter, Csc., a bee product expert, pollen is considered a natural multivitamin. In his book Apitherapy, he describes pollen as the best and most perfect food, acting as an extraordinary killer of diseases in their early stages, hence the properties of pollen are proven to restore health. It is the richest natural source of amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins), vitamins, and minerals yet discovered.9

For man, pollen is excellent in exhaustion to restore mental and physical strength, in recovery after illnesses, surgeries (heart attack, stroke, duodenal ulcers, atherosclerosis), etc. It restores mental balance, induces contentment, because it has a great influence on the central nervous system. For women, it is excellent to use it in menopausal problems. Men aged 50 and over should take it regularly as it counteracts prostate enlargement or prostatitis.10 Pollen is also well and infamously known for causing allergic reactions. However, it is less well known that its use in small amounts during the winter months reduces the symptoms of pollen allergy over time, sometimes they even disappear completely.

včela s pylovými rousky

The pollen also finds use in cosmetics, promoting hair and nail growth and is recommended for fragile and cracking skin.11 It is added to dry shampoos, skin treatment creams, toning alcohol solutions and is also used in facial masks.

You can learn more about flower pollen, its origin, properties, effects, uses, and how to prevent pollen allergies in the article What is pollen?

Healing "acupuncture" with bee venom

Bee venom (apisin or apitoxin) is a medicine in small doses, in large doses it becomes a poison. Thanks to the gradual acquisition of knowledge about its effects, bee venom became a medicine in ancient times. It has been used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Indians, and Arabs, and it is also known from history that Charlemagne and Ivan the Terrible treated their gout with bee stings.

Through long experience and observation of healthy and long-lived beekeepers, it is generally accepted that bee venom is also involved in it. The truth is, however, that beekeepers also consume significantly more honey, royal jelly, pollen, and propolis, which creates a synergistic effect of action of all bee products on health, or the prevention of diseases.12 All this personal experience gradually led to the emergence of apitherapy - a very old and recently rediscovered prevention and treatment of humans with the help of bees and bee products. The most well-known and most discussed part of this field is probably the use of bee venom.

včela s vysunutým žihadlem

A Czech physician Filip Terč M.D. (1844 – 1917), who is also being referred to as Philipp Tertsch or Filip Tertsch, because his father was a German and his mother a Czech, is considered the founder of apitherapy. Terč was rheumatic and suffered from severe joint pain. One day in 1868, several bees stung him, and to his surprise, from that moment on, his pains gradually began to fade, and his muscles began to move again. He was very impressed by this personal experience.

Afterwards, he performed a similar experiment on his 650 patients; 593 of whom showed changes for the better. And apitherapy was born! After that he began to focus on apitherapy and published his experience in many articles about the good effect of bee venom on rheumatic diseases. He also pointed out that each patient should be treated individually, bee venom should not be used to treat patients suffering from allergies, severe heart defects or kidney inflammation, and diabetics - all of this is still true today. After that, he published his experience in the book “Über merkwürdige Beziehung des Bienenstiches zum Rheumatismus” (On the relationship of bee sting to rheumatism).

aplikace včelího jedu žihadlem

Advances in bee venom research were made in the 20th century. In 1925, a German A. Forster created an injectable preparation and also succeeded in applying bee venom in the form of ointment.13 Health effects of bee venom were also noted by a Vermont beekeeper Charles Mraz (1905-1999), who reported that symptoms of cancer disappeared after an exposure to bee stings. However, it was probably Dr. Anil Sain from Canada, who stood at the beginning of modern apitherapy. He built the first apitherapy clinic in Montreal around 1960. He carried out the treatment with bee venom from ampoules by intracutaneous injections, which he mostly applied in the area around the spine. He made extensive use of the knowledge from acupuncture to apply bee venom, and he also emphasized to his patients a diet excluding certain foods (such as white flour) and supplemented the treatment with exercise and physical therapy. Until recently, bee venom injections were also produced in this country and used to treat muscular rheumatism, neuralgia (nerve pain), intercostal nerves and trigeminal nerve pain, neuritis, chronic rheumatic joint diseases, all forms of extra-articular rheumatism and other.14

However, experience has also shown that treatment with bee venom should always be approached individually, and its direct application should only be carried out by a specialist. A painless and simpler solution are ointments containing bee venom, but they have a slightly lower effect.

včelí jed

Currently, bee venom is known to act on joint and muscle rheumatism, arthritis, trigeminal nerve, sciatica, dissolves urinary stones, etc. It also has a strong anti-inflammatory and local anaesthetic effect, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is excellent for diseases of muscles and joints, inflammations, leg ulcers, skin diseases. It stimulates blood flow and boosts metabolism. It is also used in the treatment of sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome.15

Bee venom is also successfully used for cosmetic purposes as a component of skin creams, especially those designed to treat wrinkles or acne.16

You can learn more about bee venom, its effects, uses, as well as how it is produced in the article What is apisin?

Royal jelly for longevity and vitality of the queen bee

It is known that the Incas, the original inhabitants of South America, already knew the effects of royal jelly. The Egyptians and Romans also used it for healing and cosmetic purposes. However, with royal jelly, more than with other bee products, there had to be a "rediscovery". The level of apiculture knowledge and technology did not allow the use of royal jelly for a long time. Therefore, royal jelly became known to serious medical science only in more modern times and was subjected to scientific research even later.

It became an object of interest and research again around the 17th century. Later in the 18th century, a French naturalist Reaumur referred to it as a kind of "superfood". Huber, a Swiss, found that this nutrition enabled any bee larva to develop into a sexually mature female, the "queen", and called her "gelée royale". The period of the greatest glory of royal jelly dates to the 1960s. In 1953, B. De Belvefer obtained a patent to produce a preparation from royal jelly, which made him famous all over the world. In the second half of the last century, royal jelly was tremendously popular with the public, but also with physicians. Already at that time, prof. E. Malý promoted its recognition as a cure.17

využití mateří kašičky historie a současnost
Photo: Wikimedia Commons author: L. Rusert, CC BY-SA 4.0;

Royal jelly does not have a specific effect on only certain organs, but interferes with the overall metabolism, affects the whole body, and helps in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and health problems.18 It is used as a natural source of stimulants with a wide range of effects, especially in the liver, heart, central nervous system and haematopoiesis. It supports the entire immune system, has an effect on protein metabolism, supports healing tissue repair, lowers cholesterol, stimulates bone marrow, increases resistance to stress and has a regenerative effect.19

People who use royal jelly on a regular basis confirm that they feel very well, are more physically efficient and fatigue-resistant, have better learning ability and memory capacity, better mental condition, self-confidence, and good mood. Thus, royal jelly probably contributes to the overall stimulation, higher resistance, and the proper functioning of human body.20

včelí královna je krmena mateří kašičkou

In cosmetics, royal jelly has found use thanks to its nourishing, rejuvenating, and vitalizing effects. It is widely used in anti-wrinkle cosmetics, but also in hair cosmetics. It also boosts the growth and regeneration of skin tissues, which is used in the treatment of scars and burns. In cosmetic products, the effects of royal jelly are often combined with the properties of honey.21

You can learn more about royal jelly, its effects, possible uses, ways to use it, but also how it is produced or how it is obtained in the article What is actually royal jelly?

Multi-purpose helper - beeswax

Beeswax has been used by humans since the ancient times for a variety of purposes, although its origins have long been a mystery. A Greek philosopher and scholar Aristotle believed that wax is produced on flowers and that bees only bring it to the hive. It was not until 1744 that a German naturalist H. C. Hornbostel figured out that bees produced wax, but he published his findings in a little-read journal and therefore did not spread further. The same conclusion was reached in 1792 by J. Hinter and in 1812 by F. Huber. A precise description of wax excretion by bees was published in 1903 by a German biochemist L. Dreyling. Nowadays, we also know the process of synthesis of beeswax in the body of a bee.

včelí vosk, plástev

In the past, beeswax was a rare commodity for people, especially beeswax candles were the only source of light. Among other things, it was used in the preparation of ointments, for sealing ships, but also in cosmetics and art. In ancient times, beeswax was used to wax various objects, such as wooden vessels or weapons, or to make moulds for casting metal objects. In ancient Egypt it was used to embalm bodies. It was also used to make seals for documents and even for writing, when a layer of wax was poured onto wooden plates and the text was engraved into it with the tip of a bone or metal stylus, while the other end of the stylus was flattened and served to easily erase (obliterate) the text. Wax tablets are known from the times of ancient Rome and were used until the spread of paper.

Even though we have more efficient light sources today, we still love to use scented beeswax candles, and not just at Christmas time. In addition to the pleasant scent and the creation of a cosy or romantic atmosphere, the burnt beeswax of the candle acts as a natural air ionizer, neutralizes tobacco smoke, positively recharges energy, helps with concentration, helps with mental balance and inner peace. Burning a candle for 15 to 20 minutes before bedtime brings a restful and healthy sleep and a feeling of energy and health in the morning.22 The yellow light of candles (fires in general) also has properties similar to sunlight, so it is a very suitable evening light for our circadian rhythm and a pleasant mood for sleep.

hořící svíčka ze včelího vosku

Currently, in addition to candle making, beeswax is used in the food industry (as E901) as a polishing agent or to grease moulds, and in the household to grease baking trays; beeswax does not burn or overburn. In the pharmaceutical industry, it is used to coat tablets to reduce their dissolution rate. Furthermore, beeswax is used in various polishing, impregnating, and protective preparations, e.g., for leather, wood, and furniture, for coating metals against corrosion, in jewellery making, metalwork, as a grafting wax in the fruit farming, in the electrical industry it is used as an electrical insulator, it is also used in restoration, painting, and sculpture.

Because it is highly soluble, has a protective effect on the skin, prevents water loss23 and gives the skin a smooth and soft appearance, it forms an excellent base for a range of cosmetic products - ointments, creams, balms, and soaps. In addition, it is used to produce pastes, lipsticks, depilatory waxes, hair care products, deodorants, eye shadows, and lipsticks.

odvíčkování medového plástu

Honeycomb wax caps are also recommended for chewing - they work against inflammation of the oral cavity, periodontitis, aphthae, inflammation of the tongue, or colds. Beeswax contains valuable natural substances with a disinfectant and antibiotic effect that support the body's natural defences.24 It is also ideal for cleaning teeth and the oral structures that support your teeth (periodontium).25

You can learn more about beeswax, how it is originates, how bees work with it, how it is obtained, stored and how you can use it in the article What is beeswax?

Man has always been attracted to bees, especially their honey, and he even found a way to breed them and use them to his advantage. It may seem that we have subjugated bees in a way, but bees still live their own way, guided by their instincts. However, beekeeping has allowed us to get closer to this fascinating community, to get a glimpse into its life and to benefit from its gifts. The cooperation between beekeepers and bee community was beneficial not only for people but also bees, which were increasingly cared for.

Milan Pleva u včel

By looking into the history of man's coexistence with bees and discovering their products, bees were not worshipped by humans without reason. Not only are they indispensable to us for their vital role in pollinating plants, but we also benefit from their work in helping us take care of our health. Despite today's knowledge of bee products, their composition and effects, these raw materials are still shrouded in mystery and will continue to be a source of interesting new findings and discoveries for a long time to come.

1 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 12, 13 Back

2 Czech publication: Milan Pleva: Rok včelaře; Computer Media, 2021, p. 65 Back

3 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 25 Back

4 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 13, 14 Back

5 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 169 Back

6 Andrzej K. Kuropatnicki, Ewelina Szliszka, Wojciech Krol: Historical Aspects of Propolis Research in Modern Times; National Library of Medicine, 2013 Back

7 Czech publication: Milan Pleva: Rok včelaře; Computer Media, 2021, p. 65 Back

8 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 39 Back

9 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 66, 75 Back

10 Czech publication: Milan Pleva: Rok včelaře; Computer Media, 2021, p. 66 Back

11 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 32 Back

12 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 126 Back

13 Czech publication: MUDr. J. Stoklasa: Včelí produkty ve výživě, lékařství, farmacii a kosmetice; Státní zemědělské nakladatelství, Praha, 1975, p. 117, 118, ISBN neuvedeno Back

14 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 126, 127 Back

15 Czech publication: Milan Pleva: Rok včelaře; Computer Media, 2021, p. 67 Back

16 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 41 Back

17 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 112 Back

18 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 112, 114 Back

19 Czech publication: Milan Pleva: Rok včelaře; Computer Media, 2021, p. 66 Back

20 Czech publication: Dalibor Titěra: Včelí produkty mýtů zbavené; Brázda, Praha, 2006, p. 141 Back

21 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 36 Back

22 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 162 Back

23 Czech publication: Marie Kubalová: bakalářská práce: Včelí produkty v kosmetice; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2013, p. 28 Back

24 Czech publication: Bc. Zuzana Daďová: diplomová práce: Včelí produkty; Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně, Fakulta technologická, 2011, p. 50 Back

25 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 156 Back

26 Czech publication: Ing. Štefan Demeter, CSc.: Apiterapie: Léčení včelími produkty; Jaroslav Čadra, Olomouc, 2021, p. 64 Back

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