File - A beekeeper takes care of his hives in a field of rapeseed on the outskirts of Deveselu village, about 230 km (145 miles) west of Bucharest, May 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Radu Sigheti)
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Bee venom to combat multiple sclerosis, pollen for indigestion, honey to heal wounds – the humble bee has been a key source of alternative medicines since ancient times, and Romania is working to keep the tradition of "apitherapy" alive.Today in the wilderness of Romania's Carpathian Mountains, honey bee products are still a familiar part of traditional medicine.Every town in Romania has its "plafar" – natural pharmacies selling products made from plants, honey, beeswax and propolis.Founded in 1974, the institute employs 105 people who look after local bee colonies and sell around 30 approved products.Doina Postolachi comes twice a week to the center to receive injections of bee venom, or "apitoxin".Part of the appeal rests with the organic image of bee products.According to the last agricultural census in 2010, Romania counted 42,000 beekeepers and more than 1.3 million colonies of bees.
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