What is it?
Some of the most common bee derived ingredients are bee pollen, beeswax, honey, propolis, and royal jelly. Find links to pages about them and other bee products on this Wikipedia page.
What are the effects?
This substance belongs to the groups:
Ingredients included as bee derived are not made of bees but made by bees. These ingredients are considered non-vegan, in the same way that milk and eggs are excluded from a vegan diet.
The non-profit organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has listed the following ingredients on their Animal-derived Ingredients List:
Bee pollen – collected from flowers by worker bees as the main food source for themselves and honey bee larvae. Bee pollen might cause allergies, especially among people with pollen allergies. The FDA have tested and found that many dietary supplements based on bee pollen, especially aimed at weight loss, contained hidden dangerous ingredients such as sibutramine and phenolphthalein. There are also reports of bee pollen being contaminated by fungal mycotoxins, pesticides and toxic metals. Although debated, there are many who regard bee pollen as unsafe for breastfeeding mothers and advise as a precaution that it is avoided during that time.
Ingredients containing bee pollen are marked red by the scanner, the rest of the bee derived ingredients will be marked yellow.
Beeswax – the wax produced by worker bees to make honeycomb cells that they use for storing honey and pollen. Honey bees also raise their young in the honeycomb.
Honey – the well known, sweet ingredient produced by bees that collect nectar. The bees make honey for themselves to eat during the winter season when there is less to forage. Preferably it is only the excess honey that is harvested by humans. But in big scale “factory like” manufacture of honey, it is also common that all of the honey is taken and the bees get instead less expensive sugar substituted as food.
Propolis – gathered by bees to be uses as glue in the beehives.
Royal jelly – produced by bees to be used as nutrition for their larvae. It is a controversial substance that does not have evidence to support that it has any clear health benefits.
Apitherapy – a type of alternative medicine that uses all of the above bee products as well as bee venom (apitoxin). The health benefits are unsupported by scientific evidence.
How is it used?
There are countless of ways to use all of what bees are producing. Ingredients derived from bees have been used for thousands of years, in as many or more ways. Probably the most common bee product is honey, used as a stand-alone ingredient or in different foods and beverages.
Bee derived ingredients are also used in all kinds of cosmetic products*, medicines, and nutrients. Some reported finds in cosmetics are in toothpastes, shampoos, soaps, perfumes, deodorants, and lipsticks.
We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.
Read about the other ingredients.
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