6 minute read

Value added products - medicinal use of bee products in Tanzania

by Angela Mwakatobe

In many cultures of the world honey has long been used as a medicine. Recently the medical profession has “rediscovered” honey as a therapeutic substance and it is gaining acceptance as an antibacterial agent for treatment of different diseases and wounds. Also in conventional medicine, honey is used as a carrier for drugs.

Arumeru District is in the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania. Major tribes in the District include the Wameru and Waarusha. Some clans of Wameru are traditionally beekeepers.

In Arumeru District the use of honey for medicinal purposes is widely understood. It is important to document what the tribes know. This is the first time that this traditional knowledge has been recorded: data was collected through a questionnaire and semi-structured interview.

Traditional healers in Arumeru use honey in many ways. It is used on its own and mixed with other ingredients to cure coughs, stomach ulcers, malaria and burns. Honey is used also to improve assimilation and is well known for its effectiveness in chronic intestinal cases such as constipation, duodenal ulcers and liver disturbances. In its pure and unprocessed form, honey helps against infections, promotes tissue regeneration and reduces scarring.

Traditional healers hesitate to disclose the recipes for their medicines. They pass them on to family members by word of mouth. It is confirmed that local people have been using these medicines for many years and have proved them to be effective.

DISEASES TREATED BY BEE PRODUCTS IN ARUMERU DISTRICT HOME GARDENS

DISEASE/AILMENT: Cough or chest pain

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with crushed garlic Kitunguu saumu (Allium sativa)

- Honey mixed with egg yolk.

- Honey mixed with an egg and powdered bark from Lisokonoi tree (Maasai) (Warbugia salutaris)

- Honey mixed with lemon juice and soda ash or bicarbonate of soda

- Honey mixed with lemon juice i

- Honey mixed with seed powder of /foodwa (Maasai), Ngesi (Swahili) (Maesa lanceolata) _ {

- Honey mixed with bark powder or fruit of Ofoisuki (Maasai), Mrungurungu (Swahili) (Zanthoxylum chalybeum - Rutaceae)

DISEASE/AILMENT: High blood pressure

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with cinnamon and water

- Honey mixed with Mikikwaa (Alangium chinense) in the ratio of 1:1

DISEASE/AILMENT: Ulcers

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with cinnamon and water

- Honey mixed with milk

- Honey mixed with sheep fat

- Honey mixed with powdered bark of Oloisuki (Maasai) or Mrungurungu (Swahili) and lamb fat _

DISEASE/AILMENT: Asthma

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with pounded leaves of Mvungwe tree (Kigelia africana)

DISEASE/AILMENT: Indigestion

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with cinnamon and hot water

DISEASE/AILMENT: Pneumonia 

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with bark of Sokono/ tree

DISEASE/AILMENT: Burns

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey smeared on wound

- Honey with rabbit fur smeared on wound

- Honey mixed with an egg and rabbit fur smeared on wound.

DISEASE/AILMENT: Ring worm

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with paw paw (Papaya indica) sap

DISEASE/AILMENT: Malaria

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with juice of crushed neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves. _

DISEASE/AILMENT: Tambazi or Pyomyositis (affects muscles)

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with juice of neem leaves, Mswaki (Swahili) Sajon (Meru) (Salvadora persica)

DISEASE/AILMENT: Cellulitis (affects skin)

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey is mixed with leaf juice of Ofoisuki (Maasai) or Mrungurungu (Swahili)

DISEASE/AILMENT: Gonorrhea

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with juice of pounded leaves of neem

DISEASE/AILMENT:  Swollen knee

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with clove oil and then smeared on knee

DISEASE/AILMENT: Scurvy/mouth sores

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey smeared on mouth

DISEASE/AILMENT: Cancer sores/ wounds

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with cold black tea and pounded salad leaves

DISEASE/AILMENT: Rheumatism

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with lemon juice

DISEASE/AILMENT: Tape and fluke worms

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Honey mixed with /foodwa (Maasai), Ngesi (Meru) fruits powder and sheep fat

DISEASE/AILMENT: Skin diease (Tungi)

BEE PRODUCT AND OTHER INGREDIENTS:

- Beeswax mixed with Eucalyptus otl

Books

In Bookshelf (page 18) we review three new books on value addition. Or choose from the following useful selection for your beekeeping library (ordering information on Bookshelf).

Em Prateleira de Livros (pagina 18) nés revisamos trés livros sobre agregacao de valor. Ou entao escolha entre a utilissima selegao a seguir para asua biblioteca apicola (informagdes sobre pedidos na secao Prateleira de Livros).

BEESWAX CRAFTS

Battershill, Constable, Crouch, Duffin & Pinder

Candle making; modelling; beauty creams; soaps; polishes; encaustic art. 1996. 80 pages.

CONTROL DE CALIDAD DE LA MIEL Y LA CERA

E M Bianchi

Procedures to assess honey and beeswax quality. 1990. 69 pages.

Spanish edition. Procedimentos para determinar qualidade em mel e cera de abelha. 1990. 69 paginas. Edigao em espanhol

B350 £6.00

NATURAL MEDICINE FROM HONEYBEES

Jacob Kaal

Apitherapy using pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. 1991. 93 pages.

Apiterapia usando podlen, prdpolis, geleia real e veneno de abelha. 1991. 93 paginas

K100 £15.70

VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS FROM BEEKEEPING

Rainer Krell

Extra income by “adding value” to bee products.

Recipes using honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom and wax. 1996. 409 pages.

Renda extra pela “agregacao de valor” a produtos apicolas. Receitas usando mel, pdlen, prdépolis, geleia real, veneno e cera. 1996. 409 paginas

K500 £33.00

MEDICAL ASPECTS OF BEEKEEPING

Harry H Riches

Topics covered are stings, hypersensitivity to bee venom, allergy problems, honey and apitherapy. 2001. 86 pages.

Os topicos abordados sao ferroadas, hipersensibilidade ao veneno de abelha, problemas alérgicos, mel e apiterapia. 2001. 86 paginas.

R210 £11.30

MAD ABOUT MEAD! NECTAR OF THE GODS

Pamela Spence

An eclectic range of recipes, also stories and expert tips. 1997. 208 pages.

Uma eclética selegado de receitas, também estorias e dicas espertas. 1997. 208 paginas.

$750 £16.50

SUPER FORMULAS ARTS AND CRAFTS

Elaine White

How to make more than 360 useful products that contain honey and beeswax. 1993. 120 pages

.Como fazer mais de 360 produtos titeis que contenham mel e cera de abelha. 1993. 120 paginas.

W405 £14.90

SOAP

Elaine White

Seventy tried and true ways to make modern soap. 1995. 244 pages.

Setenta maneiras testadas e verdadeiras de fazer sabao moderno. 1995. 244 paginas.

W400 £18.80

(CD ROM) MEDICINE FROM THE BEES

Theodore Cherbuliez, Roch Domerego et al

A vast amount of information about apitherapy. 350 text chapters, two short videos, 19 Power Point presentations, and over 400 excellent quality pictures. 2001. Text in English, French and Spanish.

Uma vasta quantidade de informagées sobre apiterapia. 350 capitulos de texto, dois videos curtos, 19 apresentagdes em Power Point, 400 fotos de excelente qualidade. 2001 Texto em inglés, Francés e Espanhol

VID18 £34.90

REFERENCES

ARMON,P J (1980) The use of honey in the treatment of infected wounds. Tropical Doctor 10: pp 91.

CHANDLER,M T (1975) Traditional beekeeping for Wameru. Unpublished report submitted to Beekeeping Division, Ministry of Natural Resources, Tanzania.

KRELL,R (1996) Value-added products from beekeeping. FAO, Rome, Italy.

MOLAN,M C (1992) The antibacterial activity of honey: The nature of the antibacterial activity. Bee World 73(1) pp 56: 5-28.

SALEM,S N (1981) Honey regimen in gastrointestinal disorders. Bull Islamic Med 1: 358-362.

Bees for Development and Nijro Wildlife Research Centre have been partners for many years.

 Collaboration with Nijiro has included the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded project "Sustainable beekeeping in Africa", a variety of training activities including the Beekeeping in Rural Development course ( see What's on, page 16), and study tours such as Bees for Development Beekeepers' Safaris.  

Börje Svensson worked as Research Co-ordinator at Njiro with Bees for Development and the team during the four years of the DFID-funded research project. Börje is now living back in his homeland of Sweden, where he continues his beekeeping activities.   

Angela Mwakatobe is a research worker at Njiro. As part pf her MSc programme she conducted research on the importance of home gardens on beekeeping activities in Armeru District