Royal jelly the beehive: Fit for a queen

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Section: Products from the Hive

Who could turn down the chance to live "fit for a queen?" There is one way you can live like royalty and improve your health at the same time -- by adding royal jelly to your life!
In the hive

Royal jelly is a creamy-white substance that special nursing bees secrete for one purpose only -- to feed their queen, the "boss" of the hive. She commands the worker bees to keep the hive growing and thriving, but most importantly, she alone is the one who is able to lay eggs and keep the hive population increasing.

With this much responsibility on her figurative shoulders, the queen bee is well taken care of, especially through her exclusive diet of royal jelly. It's what gives her the ability to reproduce but, more importantly, it is also what allows her to live up to 50 times longer than the worker bees (6 to 8 years versus 6 to 8 weeks) and to grow at least two times bigger.
In the home

So what does the main dish of the queen bee have to do with humans? The list of royal jelly's ingredients reads like a recipe for immortality. It includes:

* all of the essential amino acids our bodies need but cannot produce on their own;
* vitamins A, C, D, E and many of the B vitamins;
* trace minerals, calcium, and iron;
* natural hormones;
* acetylcholine (for transmitting nerve messages);
* nucleic acids like RNA and DNA (the very code of life);
* gelatin (anti-aging);
* ecanoic acid (antibiotic abilities);
* gamma globulin (fights infection and stimulates the immune system).

Researchers J.R. Lamberti and L.G. Cornejo, in their recent study entitled "In Presence of Gamma Globulin in Injectable Royal Jelly and Its Use in Revitalizing Processes" have documented important elements in royal jelly which slow down the aging process and which appear to lower blood and liver fats and cholesterol levels in animals and normalize LDL and HDL levels in humans. The benefits don't end there, however.

Other research has shown royal jelly's positive effects on conditions as diverse as hair loss, fading eyesight, and different types of cancer. Research has been published on the effects of royal jelly and varicose veins, malnutrition, sexual deficiencies, arthritis, and skin conditions (like acne or psoriasis).
For the mind and spirit

Some have even speculated that royal jelly also seems to be able to help with psychological conditions such as anorexia nervosa, severe anxiety, depression, and shock. In fact, some people taking royal jelly have reported a feeling of mood elevation.

In The Bee Pollen Bible, the late Royden Brown writes, "The natural high that royal jelly brings travels through the body like a jolt of electricity. Even someone taking royal jelly for the first time will usually feel a dynamic energy and well-being pulsing through his entire body." Nevertheless, at this date, the mood/anxiety-modulating effects have not yet been clinically verified.

Royal jelly stimulates the adrenal glands and the metabolism which, in turn, creates more energy and unlike sugar or caffeine, there isn't a rebounding effect hours later.
From babies to grandparents

Royal jelly is something that people of all ages can use without worry about negative side effects. Surprisingly enough, people who are allergic to bee stings can still benefit from royal jelly without any allergic responses.

Most physicians in this country are not familiar with royal jelly, although it has been used for centuries in the Orient and Europe. However, the word is slowly spreading and so is the demand.

Royal jelly can be a real challenge for beekeepers to harvest. "Imagine trying to "milk" a nurse bee and you will have some idea of why royal jelly is so expensive," said Brown. It takes patience and skill from the keeper -- and thousands of nursing bees!

Adding royal jelly to your diet may not put a crown on your head, but it may add years to your life and make you at least feel like royalty!
REFERENCES

Brown, Royden. How to Live the Millenium: The Bee Pollen Bible. Phoenix, Ariz.: Plains Corp., 1989.

Vittek, J. "Effect of Royal Jelly on Serum Lipids in Experimental Animals and Humans with Atheroclerosis," Experientia, 29:51 (9-10), 927-935, September 1995.

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By Tamra B. Orr

Tamra Orr has been a professional freelance writer for almost 20 years in the areas of health, nutrition, and child development. Tamra lives in Warsaw, Indiana, with her four children and her husband, a chiropractor at the Orr Barker Chiropractic Center.

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