British Beekeeping Benefits

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Anne Rowberry, chair of the British Beekeepers Association, with some of her bees. Photograph: Sam Frost/The Guardian

Thanks to the Guardian for this report:

British apiarists knew it all along: honey is the bee’s knees

As a study trumpets the food’s medicinal properties, there’s a buzz about beekeeping in the UK

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Carly Hooper: ‘Bees are my life’. Photograph: Anita Parry

When honey made headlines this week as a better treatment for coughs and colds than antibiotics, beekeepers sat smugly by. “I’ve been saying this for ages,” says Carly Hooper, who has 12 hives near her home in Fleet, Hampshire, and a honey-based business.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine, found that honey was a more effective treatment for coughs, blocked noses and sore throats than many remedies more conventionally prescribed.

The researchers from the University of Oxford recommended honey as a cheap, accessible and low-risk treatment for symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), on which antibiotics have no effect.

For beekeepers with a steady supply on tap, the findings came as no surprise.

Anne Rowberry, the chair of the British Beekeepers Association, notes that knowledge of honey’s therapeutic benefits dates back to ancient times. “I think sometimes we forget we had some quite good remedies already … There is a thought among beekeepers that honey is good for you.”

Rowberry, who has 20 hives around her home in Bath, applies honey to cuts and grazes and uses it as a low-sucrose sweetener. Bees also produce propolis, a resin-like compound with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, that Rowberry says makes a “very good mouthwash”.

Hooper was inspired to start her Beeutiful skincare range after she read of honey being used to treat soldiers’ wounds in the first and second world wars. She says a popular balm has been effective in soothing skin conditions and insect bites.

“With plastic-free, use less, recycle more, I feel like more people are going ‘Hang on, maybe I don’t need to go to a pharmacist’,” says Hooper…

Read the whole article here.

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