THE BEES AND MEDICINAL PLANTS
Bees pollinate nearly three quarters of food and medicine-producing plants all over the world. Around 80% of the plants existing on the planet reproduce through pollination. That means this activity is responsible for one of every three portions of food and medicine that each one of us consumes daily.
Bees are insects of great environmental importance and they influence human life on a day-to-day basis, but few people are aware of their value. 20 thousand species of bees scattered across the globe sustain uncountable species of birds and mammals, as well as us, human beings, that feed and heal by consuming medicinal plants, fruits and seeds.
Plants developed strategies to “build” colors and scents on their flowers with the goal of seducing bees and other pollinating insects, seeking to guarantee the continuance of their species. Bees landing on flower after flower are essential for the combination of the genetic material of one plant with another. By licking the flower’s nectar, bees carry pollen on the hairs of their body and these small grains are transported to another plant, performing cross fertilization of the plants. This is such an important process in nature that many bees have developed unique languages and olfactory systems for pollinating specific plants, thus ensuring genetic diversity.
Consequently, cross pollination is vital for greater stimulation of secondary plant metabolism. But what does this metabolism represent for the plant kingdom? It is directly connected to the defenses that plants develop in relation to the environment. Molecules synthesized in this metabolic route are called active principles, substances which we use in the practice of medicine.
Bees are extremely sensitive to the temperature and environment changes, which makes them an indicator of the planet’s wellbeing. If they were to simply disappear from one moment to the next, it is highly probable that a collapse would take place in a very short period of time. Preserving the environment is crucial to preserve bees and they, in turn, are essential to the conservation of the environment and our health. It is a circle that maintains life.
Therefore, preserving bees is preserving life and health on the planet.