2200 years ago, a ship carrying trade goods wrecked off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. The wreck has been investigated by Italian archeologists who have extensively analyzed the recovered treasures. Among the curious objects recovered were ancient medical instruments and a tin box with medicines inside.
The medicines were in the form of tablets. Their intended use is a matter of speculation. The medicines contained “calamina” (zinc compounds) and a variety of animal and plant materials. Pollen from a variety of plants suggests that a bee product (honey? bee pollen?) was included in the medicine. In our era of modern and potent medicines, bee pollen is still sold as a remedy for a variety of health purposes although efficacy has never been convincingly demonstrated. WebMD informs us
It is amazing that the tablets were preserved for 2200 years. The secret to their preservation was the use of beeswax as a coating. Beeswax is still used today in formulating some of our modern medicines. A beeswax coating facilitates swallowing a pill and the it retards release of the medicine until it reaches the digestive system. It is interesting that modern medical practitioners find insect products just as useful today as they were 2200 years ago.
Yet after years of research, scientists still cannot confirm that bee pollen has any health benefits