Royal Jelly and its Majestic Benefits
Like any reigning monarch, the queen of a beehive is offered the best food in all the land.
Royal jelly contains a rich assortment of nutrients fit for the queen and her larvae. It gives an extra boost for the baby bees’ development and health, and research shows that it may do the same for humans.
But you don’t have to wear a crown to experience the benefits of royal jelly.
All workers are royal but just not crowned- meaning they are all born with the same genes but just not chosen. Royal jelly is the first meal of any newborn bee. Secreted from the head glands of “nurse” bees, this gelatinous substance is packed with nutrients for the freshly hatched larvae. Most larvae only enjoy this milky jam for three days, after which their diet switches to a watered-down combination of bee pollen and honey. These larvae grow up to become the worker bees that care for the hive.
However, a select few larvae continue to get fed royal jelly and are destined to become queens. These queens feast on royal jelly for the rest of their lives, and this exclusive menu aids in the development and maintenance of a healthy queen. It is believed to be what turns a common larva into a hive’s highest majesty as she lays two to three thousand eggs a day for up to five years.
Queens lay eggs primarily in the Spring and early Summer to build up the population. They back off much less going into Winter to reduce population.
Made up of water, protein, and simple sugars with trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, the exact composition of royal jelly varies according to region and what flowers the bees have been visiting. Royal jelly’s high nutrition content is due in part to its wealth of B vitamins, including:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Niacin (B3)
- Folic acid (B9)
- Inositol (B8)
- Biotin (B7)
Royal jelly also contains polyphenols, which give it antioxidant properties along with the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits found in bee pollen, propolis, and honey.
Royal jelly health benefits
The bees have provided humans with sustenance for thousands of years, and ancient cultures found other uses for their super nutritious milky royal jelly.
Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle was one of the first to study queen bees. He touted the physical and mental benefits of royal jelly, reportedly serving it with honey for breakfast at his school. Chinese emperors insisted on its cultivation for long life and sexual prowess.
Like all the beehive’s treasures, royal jelly was revered as a beauty product by the ancient Egyptians. Its quenching effect on the skin found its way into the daily regimen of Egypt’s most famous queen, Cleopatra.
What’s the research say about royal jelly?
These days, there are plenty of claims about the effect of royal jelly on health and beauty. While some can be quickly to debunked, there is more scientific research than ever that backs up its ability to:
- Reduce inflammation. Several studies have found that immune cells treated with royal jelly decreased inflammatory response.
- Treat type 2 Diabetes. A 2014 study showed that royal jelly taken orally can help reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.
- Prevent heart disease. Researchers documented in 2017 that the levels of patients with high cholesterol decreased after a month of taking royal jelly.
- Increase reproductive health. For PMS sufferers, research shows that taking royal jelly supplements can ease symptoms. In another study of post-menopausal women, a topical cream helped improve quality of life and sexual function. In men, it has been shown to increase fertility.
- Skin and wound repair. Royal jelly’s excellent antibacterial powers help keep wounds free from infection when applied topically and has been shown to increase collagen levels in animals.
- Increase immunity. While more human studies are needed, preliminary research has shown that royal jelly can support the reduction of infections and boost immune system function.
While more scientific study is needed to determine and confirm all the manners that royal jelly can help humans maintain a healthy lifestyle, the current research holds much promise. Six thousand years of anecdotal evidence ought to count for something, right?
Royal jelly makes you beautiful inside and out
In addition to its health benefits, royal jelly might be the bees’ best kept beauty secret. Used topically in a cream or serum, it can boost collagen levels to keep the skin plump and promote elasticity, softening fine lines and wrinkles. Its antibacterial properties can help banish acne and reduce redness from skin infections.
Royal jelly’s fatty acids have also been proven to protect the skin against oxidative stress from air pollutants, questionable diet choices, and plain old aging. And those claims that it can repair damage to the skin due to aging and the sun? That isn’t just a rumor: It’s science.
It’s no wonder it’s included as the star ingredient in so many beauty products, including Savannah Bee Co.’s Royal Jelly Body Butter and Beeswax Hand Cream. It provides luxurious moisture from crown to toe, giving everybody a chance to feel like a queen!