Botanical Products

 

CAPACITY BUILDING FOR VILLAGE WOMEN

In Eastern Anatolia, women are essential participants in every aspect of village life. Yet social patterns such as feudal patriarchal behaviors and gender exclusivity negatively impact their social conditions and effectiveness. Their task is heavy, but the burden is alleviated when they are able to be involved in income building activities contributing to the village economy. The botanical projects are inspirational to women and an effective way to raise their socio-economic stature within the community.



Health Care Program

Village women were educated about the importance of the plants in their surroundings. Self-help workshops were organized with Dr. Vinod, our Ayurvedic expert from India. The relationship between food and diet was stressed, pointing to the importance of recognizing and consuming the wild plants surrounding the village. The usage of local plants as food and in simple herbal formulations was discussed. Elders in the audience shared their knowledge of traditional plant usage with the younger generations. Dr. Vinod showed the usage of local plants in simple herbal formulations and discussed other natural alternatives for disease prevention and health improvement.

Dr. Vinod conducted a series of herbal preparation workshops in Bozyiğit Village


Botanical and Honey Based Product Formulation

ANAF organized a botanical medicines workshop for village women in Bozyigit village, home to the wild honey project. Muhammed Tekin, a young phytotherapist, gave a workshop on wild plant medicinal preparations. Participants learned to gather and dry the plants, and to prepare extracts from them. They also made a potent salve from wild honey propolis, organic beeswax and some of the extracts. Samples of the salve were distributed to village families who reported excellent results with skin conditions, including burns, rashes, insect bites and boils.

 


WILD HONEY AND TRADITIONAL APICULTURE REVIVAL

BRINGING BACK THE ENDANGERED CAUCASIAN QUEEN BEE



One of the projects organized by Anatolia Foundation involves the revival of traditional apiculture in Kars. The project based in Bozyigit Village aims to produce organic certified traditional honey by bringing back the native Caucasian Queen Bee.  This Bee is now on the “Turkish National Endangered Animals” List. It is known to be hardy and well adapted to climatic conditions of the region.

Apiculture is one of the most dynamic ways to protect the flora in the area and propagate biodiversity via pollination. It also is a relatively easygoing and lucrative occupation for local villagers, in close contact with the natural environment. The Caucasian region of Anatolia (Eastern Anatolia) was a center of medicinal quality wild honey production until recent decades. The local flora is home to a wide variety of aromatic and endemic flowers, which are known to produce excellent quality honey. But excessive livestock grazing and the introduction of industrial apiary techniques endanger this invaluable local resource.

Since 2006, ANAF has supported the efforts of a few village families that continue the traditional practice of wild honey production. They are based in Bozyigit village, a rural hamlet overlooking a pristine crater lake, in a region of rare biodiversity. Most of the honeycombs are wild crafted and the resulting honey is considered medicinal quality. Customers report benefits for many health problems including mouth lesions and respiratory infections.

Certified Organic vs Wild-Crafted Honey

In 2007 the apiaries followed organic production standards, including wood-framed honeycombs. But in 2008, approximately 500 honeycombs were made entirely by the bees themselves, an event well beyond the strictest organic standards. It is rare these days to find honey produced completely by the bees, without human interference. This unique, entirely natural, wild-crafted honey is considered medicinal quality and highly sought after. The natural honeycombs can be reused and the apiaries plan to continue expanding natural comb production in the coming years.  

List of some of honey producing plants found in Bozyigit Village

Plant Name:

Trifolium Pratense                 
Red Clover
Trifolium repens                     
White Clover
Vicia cracca                            Cow/Birdt Vetch   
Stachys Annua                         Hedgenettle   
Lotus corniculotus                    Bird’s foot trefoil    
Melilotus officinalis                   Yellow melilot   
Circium arvense                       Canada Thistle
Scobiosa Caucasica                 Teasel    
Medicaco varia                          Alfalfa
Epilobium Angustifolium            Rosebay Willowherb
Anchusa Azurea                        Wild bugloss, alkanet

Health Benefits

The wild-crafted honey was sold to some customers particularly interested in improving their health. They reported benefits for the following problems:  

*Mouth lesions and infections       
*Upper respiratory infections  
*Lower respiratory infections      
*Stomach and intestinal problems

In 2009, ANAF supported the expansion of the villager’s wild honey production. Starting with 50 colonies in 2006, the project has grown each year, reaching 120 colonies in 2009. The families in the project produced a total of 700 kg honey, of which 500 kg were wild crafted. Although total honey production was constant for the prior two years, a result of unfavorable weather conditions, the amount of wild crafted honey increased from 300kg to 500kg in 2009. Each colony acquired one Caucasian Queen Bee, transforming most honeybees into half bred or fully bred Caucasian species within the three years of support. This process is more effective in isolated regions with rich nectar producing flora, as is the case with the project environment. Families reported that the support they received from the project raised morale, positively improving their performance, as well as increasing their production. Now they are highly motivated to continue and expand.