“The wise man will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients”, Ecclesiasticus XXXIX
Bees are the some of the most ancient inhabitants of the Earth. There are paleontological data confirming the existence of the bee already in the Tertiary period, 55-60 million years before the appearance of the primitive man. There is evidence that about 6000 years ago in Egypt, bees were bred and the healing, cosmetic and preservative properties of honey were well known. In ancient India, bees were considered sacred and honey was attributed to have a variety of nutritional and medicinal properties. Honey was used as an antidote for poisoning. The Chinese in the 111 BC recommended honey as an independent therapeutic agent. In Palestine, beekeeping existed about 4 thousand years ago. The Bible mentions of Canaan as the land of honey and milk. Beekeeping was well developed in ancient Greece and Rome. The life of bees was studied by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC). The ancient Roman physician, Pedanius Dioscorides (1 BC), in his work “De Materia Medica”, mentions about the use of propolis and honey in treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, purulent wounds and fistulas. Avicenna (980-1034 AD), the most famous representative of the Arab medical school, in his writings the “Book of Healing” and the “Canon of Medicine”, points to the healing properties of propolis, especially in the treatment of wounds and honey as prolonging life.
In 1858 the French medical doctor de Marti began to use bee stings for treatment of several diseases and C.W. Wolf, a prominent homeopathic physician of Germany, wrote his book – “Apis Mellifica or the honey bee venom as a therapeutic agent”. In 1868 the Russians M. Lokumski and I.B. Lubarski published a work named “Bee venom as a remedy”. In the 60-80s of the 20th century, the amount of research on the use of bee products in medicine significantly increased. Scientists from different countries (France, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, and USSR) scientifically proved the effectiveness of the use of bee products in clinical practice. Practitioners received clearly developed methods of using bee products, indications and contraindications to their use. The pharmaceutical industry, based on these studies, began to produce a number of medical products using honey, proposes, royal jelly, bee venom and pollen.