Medicinal Uses of Melipona beecheii Honey, by the Ancient Maya

· Honey,Melipona

One characteristic medical practice of ancient Maya people was the extensive use of honey “kab” of the native stingless bee Melipona beecheii, “xunan kab.” The Maya traditional doctors “ah dzac” used the honey extensively as a fundamental part of their medicine. According to the ancient Maya, the illnesses cured with honey of Melipona were of supernatural origin.

Stingless Melipona Bee Honey

This honey was used to cure “cold” and “hot” diseases, respiratory, digestive, and sensory maladies, syndromes of cultural filiation, and the group of ailments known as fevers, wounds, burns, and poisonous stings or bites. The Maya supplied certain attributes to honey, considering it a divine product of special “kinam,” force, sent by the gods, an energetic and sacred food to assist man in controlling the diverse diseases that he suffered. The cause of the diseases and the melipona honey-healing processes are described in the prescriptions and incantations, carefully preserved in anonymous Mayan manuscripts.

Stingless Melipona Bee Honey

A man that was negligent, cruel, or naughty with his family or neighbors, or with defenseless people such as youngsters or elders, was prone to anger the gods and to receive their punishment in the form of a sickness. According to Mayan people, these are the main causes of diseases (Ocampo-Rosales, 2013). Mayan use honey, to cure diseases of respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and immunological systems.

Mayan use honey, to cure diseases of respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and immunological systems. It was also used as a remedy for maladies of the sensory organs, such as the skin, eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, gums, and teeth (Ocampo-Rosales, 2013). In tropical and subtropical regions characterized by a high biodiversity, another important application of honey was as a remedy against the stings and bites of scorpions, spiders, tarantulas, bugs, ants, and venomous serpents ( Barrera and Barrera-Vásquez 1983)

Medicinal uses of Melipona Bee Honey in Mayan Communities of Yucatán

In the Yucatan Peninsula, stingless bee culture dates from pre-Hispanic times. At the height of the Mayan civilization, cultivation of stingless bees reached a level of sophistication comparable to the cultivation of Apis mellifera in Europe at the same time. Honey extracted from hives was used in religious ceremonies, as food and medicine.

Stingless Melipona Bee Honey

Many of the healing properties attributed to honey are the basis for some treatments of traditional medicine around the world, reaching used in the treatment of open wounds, in the treatment of ulcers and sores on the skin also the ancient Maya used Melipona beecheii honey to accelerate the healing of wounds and burns. Other traditional uses given to M. beecheii honey are reducing and curing cataracts, pterygium eye, and conjunctivitis. Today Mayan communities use M. beecheii honey for the treatment of diseases like as laryngitis, sinusitis, typhoid, bronchitis, cough and bacterial infections. Even there are reports where the use of honey has been successful against some type of cancers. This chapter compilates some actual medicinal uses of honey from Melipona beecheii in Mayan communities of Yucatan. Contrasting traditional uses with strong scientific evidence about the therapeutic uses and effects of honey.

Honey and its Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Oxidant Properties

Honey mainly consists of sugars and water. Apart from sugars, honey also contains several vitamins, especially B complex and vitamin C, together with a lot of minerals. Some of the vitamins found in honey include ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin and riboflavin; while minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc are also present. Honey has been used for its healing, nutritional and therapeutic properties since ancient times.

Its antibacterial potentials even against multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacterbaumanni have been proved. Honey is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities, which may be useful for the prevention of chronic inflammatory process like atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases.

Stingless Melipona Bee Honey

You can never go wrong with Stingless bee honey