Royal jelly is considered a “miracle” of nature that is often called “the elixir of beauty and youth.” It is the exclusive food of the queen bee, thanks to which she lives 40 times longer than the worker bee and grows 40% bigger in size and 60% in weight. According to mythology, royal jelly was the main component of ambrosia, the food of the gods of Mt. Olympus, which offered them immortality.
Origin and use of royal jelly in the beehive
Royal jelly is a creamy white substance with a characteristic acidic, slightly bitter taste and peculiar scent. It is a highly nutritious substance, which is secreted by the hypopharyngeal glands of young worker bees. It is intended to feed all larvae until the age of 3 days and then only the adult queens. The name "Royal Jelly" was given in 1788 by Swiss zoologist Frannois Huber because the larvae destined to become queens, and adult queens, are fed exclusively on royal jelly.
There are no genetic differences between queens and worker bees in the same beehive. The only difference is that the larvae to be queens are fed exclusively on royal jelly every day, while larvae to be worker bees are fed with a mixture of nectar and pollen after the third day until they hatch.
Therefore the queens develop within 16 days, become 40% larger and 60% heavier, have a highly developed reproductive system and have a lifetime of 2-5 years. Thanks to royal jelly the queen is able to give birth up to 2000 eggs per day in favorable condition. On the other hand the worker bees are fully developed in 21 days, they live 40 to 60 days and are unable to reproduce.
The composition of royal jelly
The nutritional value and biological properties of royal jelly are attributed to its unique composition. The main ingredients are water, proteins, sugars, lipids and mineral salts:
- • Water makes up 2/3 of fresh royal jelly.
- • Proteins are 73.9%. All the essential amino acids are present in sufficient proportions and of the 29 amino acids that have been identified, the most important is aspartic acid and glutamic acid.
- • Sugars consist mainly of fructose and glucose.
- • The proportion of lipids is a very interesting feature of royal jelly. The lipids consisting mainly of fatty acids, among which the most important is the hydroxytransdecenoic acid (10-HDA), which has antibacterial and fungicidal properties.
- • The main minerals it contains are: K, Ca, Na, Zn, Fe, Cu and Mn.
- • Characteristic for the royal jelly is the content of vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B12 and in smaller quantities C, D, A and E.
- • It also contains active substances, such as acetylcholine, which has vasodilative properties, useful for the treatment of circulatory disorders.
The range of analytical values of royal jelly is due to several factors such as the collection area, the different plants, the breed of bees, the age of the larva of which it is collected, the storage conditions, etc.
The value of royal jelly in pharmacology, medicine and cosmetology
The beneficial effects of royal jelly have been known for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks referred to the ambrosia that gave immortality to the gods of Mt. Olympus and contained royal jelly.
Royal jelly has been the subject of many studies. Research was mainly focused on the effects of royal jelly on neurasthenia (psychological disorder marked especially by easy fatigability), recovering period from various ailments, physical breakdown, in the course of pregnancy and in several disorders of the body.
It has been found that royal jelly has a positive effect on collagen. The action may be due to the presence of proline, an amino acid linked to the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which are major constituents of the connective tissue.
Researchers have demonstrated the bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of royal jelly. It therefore prevents the growth of certain harmful microorganisms. This fact is important in the treatment of some skin diseases caused by staphylococcus bacteria.
Royal jelly helps heal various skin diseases. It also strengthens brittle nails and helps slow down hair loss. By topical application it is effective against dry skin, wound treatment, and facial acne. Regarding post-operative problems scientific studies have shown that the application of a mixture containing honey and royal jelly to a wound, just before and immediately after closing, reduces the risk of infections, which is often failed by classical treatment.
Royal jelly provides a range of nutritional and metabolic benefits. It has effect on longevity, helps to maintain health, beauty and youth, it enhances various functions of the body and increases resistance to disease. It promotes tissue oxygenation, stimulates appetite and mood, and enhances the production of red blood cells. Royal Jelly also stimulates the antibiotic activity of the immune system, preventing the invasion and activity of harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. Furthermore, it acts as a stimulant of the nervous system, due to the presence of acetylcholine.
Royal jelly is a valuable bee product, which could be used as a dietary supplement and under conditions as medicine. It is recommended both for people who have a health problem and are in the process of recovery, and for healthy individuals that seek to become fitter, have greater endurance during intensive activities and generally enhances the overall condition of the body’s immune system.
Science and technology have failed to date to “copy” royal jelly , although 97% of its composition has been identified. Apparently in the remaining unknown 3%, is hidden the wisdom of nature, the bee society evolution of 120 million years, holding on to the secret that makes this simple secretion-jelly of young worker bees so Royal!
- • Queen Bee: reduces the appearance of wrinkles and enhances skin’s firmness and elasticity. For greater effectiveness, APIVITA has encapsulated Greek fresh royal jelly in liposomes to transfer its restoring action to the deepest layers of the epidermis
- • Natural Serum Lifting: increases the firmness and the elasticity of the skin
- • Express Gold and Face Mask Firming & Regenerating Mask: helps at the regeneration of the cells and enhances the firmness of the skin .
- • Propoline Caps for Hair - Food Supplement: tones up and strengthens the organism, gives health and beauty to skin and hairs.
Article written by Anagnosti John Choukalas, MSc Envrinomental Biology, Business Development Director at APIVITA
Disclaimer: Information on this particular article is intended for information purposes only. It is not the intention of the editor to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have.