Be like the Bees – On the Natural Care of Bees

“The believer is like a bee, feeds upon the goodness, relieves a burden of goodness (honey), lands upon a branch softly so as not to break it and when falling into the water does not pollute it.” ~ Saying by Mohammed (as)

"The Messenger of Allah said: “By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the believer is like a bee which eats that which is pure and wholesome and lays that which is pure and wholesome. When it lands on something it does not break or ruin it.”

The bee only eats from flowers which are tayyib (pure and wholesome). It is not attracted to repulsive things, unlike other insects. Likewise the believer only eats that which is pure and wholesome.

The bee lays or excretes honey which is also tayyib. Likewise only that which is good and wholesome comes forth from the believer, whether it be his words, his intentions or his actions.

The bee is light and nimble and does not break the flowers upon which it lands, nor does it ruin them. Likewise the believer is gentle in his dealings with the creation and does not harm or ruin any human or animal or plant."

Juliette de Baïracli Levy (1912 – 2009) was an English herbalist and author noted for her pioneering work in holistic veterinary medicine. After studying veterinary medicine at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool for two years, Bairacli Levy left England to study herbal medicine in Europe, Turkey, North Africa, the Levant and Greece, living with nomadic Romani and Arab people from Spain, Northern Africa, Lebanon and Palestine, farmers and livestock breeders, acquiring a fund of herbal lore from them in the process. She has written several well-known books on herbalism and nomadic living in harmony with nature. I love her books, in particular because she has an open mind and was very respectful in her engagement with people, animals and nature and she collected much practical knowledge that would have gotten lost in time without her efforts.

In Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable (London: Faber, 1952, 1963), Juliette de Baïracli Levy gives valuable advise to the natural care and healing of farm animals, bees, sheep, dogs, cattle and poultry.

We depend manyfold on animals nurturing us and caring for us, and likewise we need to care for them. A prime medicine for humans is honey, yet the honey many people consume nowadays is not the honey that was once known in the world. True honey is a healing gift from nature. Honey from the super market is just a sweetener.

A hint from Mrs de Baïracli Levy: True honey "burns in the throat"!

Nowadays many bee keepers work industrially and aggressive "Queen Bees" are routinely killed by professional keepers to achieve are more subdued, less aggressive bee hive, that allows easy access to the honey. This in time however, affects the quality of the honey and the resiliance of the hive. It is a crime against the nature of the bee to breed their natural aggressivness out of them, which they need to be resiliant against illness, parasites and predators like wasps and hornets. By breeding aggressivness out of the bee the keepers destroy also the valuable parts of the honey itself. True honey is aggressive - it burns in the throat!

It is describing how the attitude of modern humans is shaped by an attitude of "subdue and use". Yet we all live in dependence from each other, rocks, elements, plants, insects, animals and humans. By just consuming everything we devour and ultimately destroy ourselves, our own spirit.We are often so removed from a natural state of being we do not remember what is real and what is not. Let's remember this: Real bees are gentle, but they also sting! Real honey is sweet, but it also burns!

Little Ray of Light, 2019

The Greek doctor Hypocrates used against many ailments Hydromel, which is water mixed with honey. It is a basic medicine for many ills of mankind. It is said that when this great Greek doctor died, he who so loved by the bees and was kept company in death by a swarm of bees who settled on the great one's tomb and produced honey which achieved miracolous cures.

The great doctor Ibn-Sina (Avicenna) prescribed Hydromel mixed with vinegar (Oxymel), cumin seeds, or nettle seeds, and squills with vinegar against ailments of the respitory system.

Modern sciencists battle with new drug resistant forms of diseases like tuberclosis, and find inspiration in the work of Avicenna and the healing qualities of real honey (see this article in a Science Journal). For real honey with real healing powers however, bees need to be properly looked after, valued and cared for.

Here is a recipe for a medicine for bees by Juliette de Baïracli Levy. It  treats tired bees and strengthens them. The medicine can be poured into the feeding trays that are found atop most hives.

Syrup of Sage Honey, by Juliette de Baïracli Levy

"Four desertspoons of honey to every 1,5 pints of water plus a half cup of chopped sage.

Make a standard brew of the sage and water, keeping well below boiling point. Allow to stand until tepid then add the honey. When cool feed to hive. Do not add sugar!

Herbs beloved by bees are all herbs that are aromatic, lavender, rosemary, thyme, santolina, sage, melissa, basil, majoran, oregano and many more. They also love bitters such as blackberry, mints such as peppermint, borage. They also love carnations and roses. Of the trees they love especially apple, cherry, pear, olive and the tilia tree".


Juliette de Bairacli Levy was a Jewish woman of Turkish-Egyptain descent who trained as a veterinarian and travelled with the nomadic people of Europe and the Middle East and collected their herbal knowledge. She wrote many wonderful books that are filled with old knowledge on many diseases that can afflict humans and animals. She is also noted for her wonderful work and many adventures at the side of the Arab population of Palestine.


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