Can bees help hormones? September fertility and lifestyle with Justine Evans ND
As the new moon cycle seasonally turns on 30th August 2019 we are linking with BEE products/wisdom to support immunity and hormone balance. As I will be flying to Ibiza during this new moon I have drawn the cards early (card 42. Fertility Superfoods from the Creation Fertility toolkit) . Bees provide an array of goodies including beeswax, honeycomb, bee bread, bee nectar, bee hive air; bee venom, honey, royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen. All have their own attributes and benefits but this month I focus on 4 natural bee products to support your hormone health and invite you to try the yogic exercise “bee breath” or bee mudra.
Can bees help hormones?
Please watch my video (it’s about 20 minutes long) and/or read more below to appreciate how BEES CAN SUPPORT YOUR HORMONES. Once you have watched/listened or read I suggest you choose any 1 or 2 of my suggestions plus the bee breath exercise or mudra DAILY throughout September. For ease you can print this off – Bee products for hormone health
4 bee products to support your hormones and immunity
|All contain an enormous range of nutrients, co-enzymes a much more! They truly are living powerhouses used to stimulate cellular growth, have been used to help recover from cancer treatment, build libido, energy; endurance, calm mind and body, increase sperm health, support ovaries, reduce endometrial pain; help balance uterine lining, encourage conception, relieve constipation, are a natural antihistamine and build immune function. They are even used to treat burns, encourage wounds to heal and support radiation treatment not to mention their huge anti-aging benefits
|The yogic bumblebee breath is a simple mindful form of pranayama used to reduce anxiety; support hormone balance, open your throat chakra, calm; soothe and relax body/mind and help reduce headaches and sinus issues
|Spiritual and symbolicmeaning of the Bee
|Ted Andrews in his book Animal-Speak explains “Bees are long time symbols for accomplishing the impossible. The bee is the reminder to extract the honey of life and to make our lives fertile while the sun shines. The bee reminds us that no matter how great the dream there is promise of fulfilment if we pursue it. The elixir of life is as sweet as honey, and the bee is a symbol that promises us that the opportunity to drink of it is ours if we but pursue our dreams”.
|Self reflective questions this month
|Are you doing all you can to make your life more fertile?Are you busy enough?
Are you taking time to savour the honey of your endeavours?
Are you a work-a-holic or attempting to do too much?
Are you keeping your desires in check so you can be more productive?
Can bees help hormones – here’s how
What is it? Secreted from the glands that produce saliva in worker bees it is the main food source for bee larvae for the first 3 days of their development…… but the exclusive food for the Queen Bee throughout her life. This jelly triggers the full development of her ovaries which is needed to create the millions of eggs she will lay in her lifetime. The Queen matures in 5 days and weighs double that of a worker bee so you can see that royal jelly is super powerful. Did you know a worker bee only lives 30-45 days but the Queen lives for 5-6 years and can lay up to 2000 eggs a day?
Contains: amino acids, 10-hydroxydecenoic acid (10-HDA), lipids, fatty acids, sugars, vitamins, and proteins. Vitamins A, B complex (including folic acid and inositol), C, D and E, and has ample levels of iron and calcium. Royal jelly also contains acetylcholine, which is needed to transmit nerve messages from cell to cell.
Benefits of royal jelly
Increase libido and promotes hormone balance including during peri-menopause. Royal jelly is known to support reproductive well being. A study published in 2007 (Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. showed that royal jelly can mimic human oestrogen, similar to plant phytoestrogens. Oestrogen is essential for healthy bone formation and gene expression, and is vital for a healthy menstrual cycle; helps strengthen thin or weak uterine lining and muscle. Another study also demonstrated how royal jelly can support the menopause due to its oestrogenic values.
Diminish and reduce the signs of aging – it is an amazing antioxidant and used in many skin care applications
Naturally boost the body’s immune system associated with xenoestrogens – there has been some research on royal jelly’s influence over BPA growth-promoting effects on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. BPA (bisphenol A) is a harmful chemical used in plastics that is a known xenoestrogen. The results of the study showed that royal jelly inhibits the stimulated growth of BPA on MCF-7 cells. Not only has BPA been linked to breast cancer, it has also been linked to poor egg health.
Protect fertility – International Journal of Fertility and Sterility found that this wonderful substance “promotes folliculogensis [the maturing of follicles in an ovary] and increases ovarian hormones…”
Support the nervous system – helps combat chemical imbalances in the brain caused by anxiety.
Royal jelly’s high nutrient content of around 13% protein, 15% carbohydrate and 6% lipids, as well as essential fatty acids can help the body to recover.
What is it? To create bee pollen, the pollen from the plants is mixed with nectar and/or the saliva from the bees as it makes the trip back to the beehive. Once in the hive, it becomes nutrient-rich fuel. As with most bee products the composition of bee pollen is dependent upon the plant it comes from..
Rich in: carbohydrates, protein, essential amino acids, B complex vitamins, phytonutrients; lipids, as well as minerals and vitamins A C K and E. Roughly 32.8% of dried bee pollen is protein!
Bee pollen benefits
Reproductive hormones. Like royal jelly bee pollen really can influence hormones. One of the flavonoids found in bee pollen, chrysin, is an aromatase inhibitor. If you don’t know what aromatase is let me explain. It’s an enzyme that converts testosterone into oestrogen so has the potential to help oestrogen production; balance/regulation and also influences testosterone, oestrodiol and progesterone. Put simply it can support many fertility and reproductive health concerns for both men and women.
Menopause – did you know bee pollen has the potential to diminish menopausal symptoms especially when combined with honey? A study on postmenopausal women has found that a mixture of bee pollen, royal jelly, and perga (a fermented flower pollen) might provide an alternative hormonal treatment to relieve menopause symptoms. Participants consumed the products for a period of 12 weeks and the results indicated significant menopause symptom reduction. The Kupperman Score decreased an impressive 16 points, which is similar to results using estrogen patches, gels, or intranasal preparations. Wow!
Increases antioxidants – bee pollen is rich in polyphenol and antioxidants including flavonoids, quercetin, and phenolic acids which protect against oxidative stress-related diseases BUT the health benefiting properties will depend on the type of bee pollen and plant source.
Reduces toxic effects of some medications, chemotherapy and insecticides – A study has found that bee pollen lessens damage caused by chemotherapy medications and the insecticide propoxur due to it’s antioxidant activity reducing lipid peroxidation but increasing glutathione production.
Helps cellular turnover and damage control – by supporting proteasome (plays a role in the turnover of proteins, normal cellular turnover and damage control). A study on Greek bee pollen found it stimulated the activation of proteasome which helped expand the lifespan of the cells. I think this is really interesting and worth considering during ART (assisted reproductive treatments) and all forms of surgery.
Protect against pathogens – like all bee products bee pollen has huge antimicrobial and anti viral properties. Bee pollen bacteria is most effective on strains of S. aureus which are commonly associated with respiratory health disorders. Bee pollen has also been shown effective as an antiviral agent in vitro, including against strains of flu so fabulous during the autumn time and potentially used during pregnancy providing you are not allergic to it.
Pregnancy – Bee pollen contains amino acids which are useful in the repair and maintenance of body cells as well as strengthening the immune system. This is helpful with allergy risk families (more of this below). It has a cleansing effect on the blood and some consider it reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy because it encourages cell oxygenation. I am interested in researching the use of bee pollen and associated risk/reduction of miscarriage because I have been unable to find recent research on its effects.
Reduce symptoms of allergies and inflammatory response- Intake of small quantities of bee pollen might actually help reduce symptoms of allergies. How? Well it seems that it helps to reduce the activity of mast cells; reduce antibodies such as IgE and help reduce the response of basophils. Bee pollen also contains fatty acids which help mitigate the release of inflammatory responses to allergens and contains quercetin and kaempferolIn which are known to calm inflammatory response. What is important to remember though is that some people cannot tolerate bee pollen so please be very careful and take a small dose if you have not used it before.This is just a start to the health benefits provided by bee pollen. Studies have also found it to be protective to the liver, and beneficial for treating anaemia.
Disclaimer: Even though I am discussing natural substances there are contentions about the safety of bee products for some people. This article is meant for general information only and should not be construed as any form of medical or other guidance or recommendation. The suggestions do not take into account whether you a pregnant, trying to conceive, taking any form of medication or suffer with food sensitivities or allergies nor any other health issue. Naturopathic consultations and assessment are recommended on an individual basis and it is important to consult your doctor or health practitioner before changing you diet.
What is it? Honey is the complex substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants and trees are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees. It is a food source for the colony and contains a wonderful array of nutrients. Benefits range from a form of natural sweetness; as an antiseptic, antibacterial, anti viral and wound healing to its possible sex boosting properties! Most of the honey sold in stores has been heated and processed with destroys many beneficial enzymes so look for raw honey when possible.Regular honey: clear and syrupy. Raw honey is usually more solid, buttery and opaque and some contains beeswax, honey comb and pollen.
Contains: amino acids, folate, vitamins B2, C, B6, B5 and B3. Minerals include calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc; plant nectar, tree pollen, bee saliva and 22 amino acids.
Immune support and season related allergies: Allergies are triggered by continuous exposure to the same allergen over time. Honey made by bees contain tiny amounts of pollen so honey acts as a sort of vaccine if taken in small amounts–a few teaspoons per day–for several months and can provide relief.
Nourishes the body and promotes sexual health: Honey is a rich source of enzymes, B vitamins, amino acids and hormones that supports hormone regulation including libido, PMS, sperm production, nourishes the ovaries, and supports the menopause. Its hormone balancing properties is also useful in effectively treating migraines, post-natal depression, and acne.
Increase semen quality – Research indicates that regular honey consumption can increase the quality of semen and the percentage of fertility in a person. Some couples use honey as a lubricant to improve the chances of conception. It has been used as a topical lubricant to support conception and nourishes the reproductive system. Adding cinnamon with raw honey to your daily diet or smoothies can help provide flow of blood to reproductive organs. It has a good concentration of amino acids –great for ovarian function!
Antioxidants and Phytonutrients – Honey is rich in powerful antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, which can be found in the propolis, or “honey glue” that the bees use to sterilize the beehive. Raw honey contains some of these compounds while pasteurized honey does not.
Digestive Aid – In its natural honey contains many enzymes that can help some people digest food more easily so it has been used to support gastro intestinal health issues including ulcers and diarrhea.
Antibacterial and wound healing – Honey can be used as medicine. It has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. For this reason it can be applied topically as a salve to treat burns. I apply it to wasp stings.
Cough Suppressant – Honey has also been found to be especially useful in treating upper respiratory infections. A study at Penn State College of Medicine in 2007 found that a small dose of buckwheat honey was more effective than an over-the-counter cough treatment for children.
Propolis or bee glue
What is it? A resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive and is a natural medicine
Contains: the minerals, Manganese, postassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin K, copper, chromium, enzymes Glucose-6-phosphatase, Acid phosphatase, Adenosine triphosphatase, Succinic dehydrogenase and plenty of fatty acids, bioflavonoids, arginine, vitamin c, A and B complex polyphenols and flavonoids.
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral – Propolis is thought to fight off a number of health conditions while promoting all-round general well being. You can take it for common ailments like cold sores, dandruff and dry skin to supporting the immune system/ allergies and food poisoning. It has also been used to support serious conditions like high blood pressure and bone disease. There are even several studies to suggest bee propolis possesses anti-tumour properties, which could have an effect on cancer cells.
Breast feeding dental and oral digestive vaginal bacteria wound healing anti tumoural anti-aging skin health heart immunity endometriosis genital herpes cancer
Breast feeding can be taken to reduce mastitis and support breast production and sore nipples
Digestion – I have recommended it in clinic for chronic intestinal inflammation, parasites, as an antacid and to support the liver.
Dental: can be used before or after dental care, and great for menopausal oral health symptoms such as mouth ulcers, inflammation, gum and dental hygiene, bad breath and gingivitis
Endometriosis: Women with endometriosis who have been unable to get pregnant may have a more successful outcome by taking bee propolis, according to a preliminary study in Fertility and Sterility (2003;80:S32). This is encouraging for the millions of women with endometriosis who are suffering from infertility. In the study, 40 women with mild endometriosis and primary infertility took 500 mg twice a day of bee propolis or a placebo for nine months. The results indicated that those taking bee propolis had a significantly higher pregnancy rate (60%) than those taking the placebo (20%).
Vaginal and Genito Bacteria: Propolis is a great support for cystitis, vaginal bacteria, vaginitis and urinary tract disorders in both men and women; prostate problems and erectile dysfunction and libido enhancer
Skin – acne, burns, boils, herpes, abscesses, oedema, burns, sunburn, radiotherapy burns, eczema, psoriasis
Emotional: Propolis is a “filter and purifier”. When I am using the Spagyric remedy propolis I link it with both the energetic and physical aspect of the person whom I am recommending it to. Energetically it helps release ancient energies, idiosyncrasies, old habits and outdated ways. It acts like a bee so think discipline, organisation, fortitude and determination, patience, team work and the bigger picture. Essentially propolis encourages positive change through structure, protection and strength healing your “inner child”.
Spiritual meaning of the bee: Fertility and honey of life. Ted Andrews in his book Animal-Speak explains “Bees are a long time symbols for accomplishing the impossible. The bee is the reminder to extract the honey of life and to make our lives fertile while the sun shines. The bee reminds us that no matter how great the dream there is promise of fulfilment if we pursue it. The elixir of life is as sweet as honey, and the bee is a symbol that promises us that the opportunity to drink of it is ours if we but pursue our dreams.
This brings me on nicely to our yoga pose of the month
Yoga Pose for the month
It’s Bumblebee breath! This is a yogic vocal breathing exercise, or pranayama, that resembles the sound of a bumblebee’s buzzing. It is called bee breath or humming breath in English, and bhramari pranayama in Sanskrit helping to open the throat chakra. Bumble bee breath is typically practiced in a seated position, such as easy pose or lotus pose. You can just sit in a chair or kneel with your buttocks on your heels.So – let’s give it a go.I invite you to sit comfortably, with your back tall and your shoulders relaxed. Start by taking a few natural breaths, and close your eyes if you prefer. Keep your lips lightly sealed, inhale and exhale through the nostrils.When you are ready let’s try the sound: As you exhale make the sound of the letter M which is essentially a humming sound – sustaining the sound until you need to inhale. You can use your thumbs or fingers to close off the ears or go one step further and cover your eyes with the last three fingers. The inhale is through the nose, followed by an exhale through the nose with the buzzing/humming sound.Repeat: Inhale through the nose, then humm like a buzzing bee as you exhale. Continue by inhaling as needed and exhaling with this sound for several minutes. You can practice as long as it feels good. The extended exhalation is especially beneficial during pregnancy and is really helpful breathing technique during the early stages of labour.
- Eases thyroid and sinus problems
- Reduces headaches
- Boosts concentration and memory
- Helps encourage restful sleep
- Relaxes and soothes anxiety
- Helps restore joy and contentment
- Release self doubt
- Helps you communicate
- Encourages blood circulation
- Strengthens your throat and vocal chords
- Oxygenating and so good for your complexion
Bhramara mudra (bee hand) Place your index finger in the thumb fold, and the tip of thumb on the side of your middle fingernail. Extend you ring and little fingers. Do this with both hands. Do 4-8 times per day for 7 minutes. The name of this mudra come from Indian dance and represents the bee. This mudra is supposed to support immunity and allergies so fabulous during this seasonal change.
Recipes using bee products
- Sacred Honey bath
1 cup milk any kind (I like to use coconut milk, but you can even use powdered milk)1/4 cup local honey10 drops essential oil (Creation Essence springs to mind!)Handful of rose petals and if you want you could add some nasturtiums or lavender, rosemary, sage or parsley for additional hormone support
- To make a Milk & Oatmeal Bath also add ½ cup of powdered oats or oat flour. I personally find that it’s best to add the oats to a sock, then tie the sock and let it float in the bath or use it as your sponge as you immerse yourself into
- Local Honey – 1 teaspoon of honey mixed with a serving of plain yoghurt will not only provide a probiotic for digestive health but has anti-inflammatory, immune boosting properties.
- Tonic for immunity – add honey to half a squeezed lemon, thumb of peeled and grated ginger root and 2 tablespoons of mother apple cider vinegar with a little water to support the immune system daily
- Take a teaspoon of cinnamon with honey to help blood flow to reproductive organs.
BLUEBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE BOWL WITH COCONUT MILK (willfrolicforfood.com)1 frozen banana; 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries; 1 cup coconut water; 2 tablespoons full fat coconut cream; 2 tablespoons bee pollen (more or less to your liking); 1 tablespoon maca powdertoppings: chopped pistachios, fresh blueberries & blackberries. Combine all of the ingredients except for the toppings in a high powered blender and whizz until everything is smooth and creamy. Pour into your favourite bowl. Add toppings as you like!
Spirulina Truffles (you can use any superfood actually, try moringa, wheatgrass, cacao, maca) 125g ground almonds; 1 tsp spirulina powder; 1 tsp ground flaxseeds; 1 tbsp honey; 3 tbsp water; Cinnamon powder and 1 teaspoon of bee pollen for rolling the truffles in. In a bowl mix the almonds and the spirulina, then fold in the honey. Add the water until it turns into a paste. Shape into small balls, and roll in cinnamon and bee pollen. Place in fridge for half an hour before eating.
Justine Evans ND – Hormone Alchemist connects life with natural cycles and seasons, integrating Western science with traditional medicine and yogic philosophy. A Registered Naturopath, Nutritional therapist, Reiki Master/ Teacher, Justine connects with Goddess energy and runs a private hormone health and fertility clinic in Surrey and Stroud.