Everyone is familiar with honey and has eaten their share of it. But have you ever used propolis? If you haven’t, you are missing out on one of nature’s true miracle products. Today let’s take a look at propolis and discover why this substance is a medicinal marvel from the beehive, how bees make propolis, and why the health benefits of bee propolis are quite impressive.
What is Bee Propolis?
First off, propolis is very different from pollen. Bee pollen is not created by the bees, but it is collected from plants and flowers and then transported back to the hive. On the other hand, propolis is produced when bees collect resin from certain trees (poplar and conifer trees for example), and then they mix this resin with beeswax and enzymes to create a dense substance similar to glue or putty. It looks weird, too.
How Does Resin Protect Trees?
Since bees use resin to produce propolis, by taking a look at how resin benefits trees, we can understand why this substance is crucial to bees. Tree resin seals over any wounds that the tree might develop. If an organism tries to invade the tree, it will become trapped in the resin and eventually the organism will die due to the toxic nature of the resin. Because of its high antiseptic quality, it helps prevent diseases, almost like a natural antibiotic. So, you can see how resin is important to the overall health of the tree. Well, this same resin helps the bees in a similar manner. How?
How Do Bees Use Propolis?
The industrious and wise little bees use propolis in a number of ways. An important use is to reinforce their hive’s structure. They use the propolis like carpenter’s caulk or glue and deposit it in small gaps and holes in their home to protect and sanitize it. They will also use this substance to repair damaged cells and help make the hive waterproof. And if that wasn’t enough, propolis also protects the hive from intruders. If a bug or rodent enter the hive and the bees can’t remove it, normally it would decay and infect the hive. But the bees won’t let that happen! They just encase the intruder in propolis (like mummifying it) so that it doesn’t cause disease or contamination of the hive.
What Does Bee Propolis Look and Taste Like?
The characteristics of bee propolis are generally dependent on the source of the resin that the bees used to produce the propolis. In most cases, bee propolis is brown, but it can also range in color from red to yellow to green and even black, but, like I mentioned, its color is dependent on the source of the resin. The taste of propolis has been described as sour or even bitter, and some have said it tastes like turpentine. It tastes a little pine-y to me. Not the best-tasting thing in the world, but I can get past the taste when I remember how powerful this substance is for my body.
Outstanding Properties of Propolis
As I mentioned earlier, propolis has an impressive list of benefits. It’s antibacterial and antifungal, and so it should be no surprise to learn that ancient civilizations used propolis to heal and prevent ailments. Today, propolis is used in much the same way – as a natural supplement or in herbal medicines. It’s often combined with pollen, royal jelly, or other products to create an effective, natural antibiotic. Today people are looking for alternatives to antibiotics since they have been overprescribed and are becoming ineffective. Propolis just might be what you are looking for.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of bee propolis.
Health Benefits of Bee Propolis:
1. A natural antibiotic
2. Anti-Tumor & Anti-Cancer
3. Heals Rashes & Cuts
4. Relieves Canker Sores
5. Treats Cavities & Periodontal Disease
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
7. Fights Parasites
8. Removes Warts
9. Protects the Liver
10. Improves Skin Health
11. Treats Colds & Sore Throats
12. Promotes Hair Growth
13. Treats Urinary Tract Infections
14. Relieves Joint Pain
15. Treats Genital Herpes
16. Effective in Curing Asthma & Respiratory Infections
17. Helps with Endometriosis
18. Relieves a Hangover
How to Find and Use Propolis
Propolis – in all its forms – extracts, tinctures, powders, tablets, ointments, and sprays are all usually available for purchase at any health food store as well as online.
Bee Propolis Side Effects
Just like any other substance, if you are allergic (usually folks who are allergic to bee stings or other bee products), you may experience side effects. For instance, you may get an unpleasant rash when it is applied to the skin. Kids under the age of one should not use bee propolis or honey. Their systems are not mature and they may have strong reactions to these natural substances. It’s advisable to start slowly and with small amounts if you have never used propolis in the past.
Propolis isn’t a sweetener, so it won’t spike your blood sugar level even though it has many of the incredible benefits of honey. Another huge benefit for those struggling with metabolic issues!
How to Take Propolis
There are a few options for taking propolis. If your health concern is a sore throat or a problem in your mouth, then a propolis spray is appropriate. If you’re looking to use propolis externally or topically, you can buy propolis ointment or propolis cream. A tincture might be a good idea if you want to add propolis to a mouthwash. If you want to take it internally, you can find easy to swallow capsules.
Also keep in mind that propolis isn’t a sweetener, so it won’t spike your blood sugar level even though it has many of the incredible benefits of honey. Another huge benefit for those struggling with metabolic issues!
Okay, are you impressed with this natural creation of those wonderful bees? You should be because there are so many things that you can do with it. In fact, I have a mouthwash recipe you can make yourself, and you will love it.
How to Make a Propolis Mouthwash
Use this mouthwash at night right after you brush your teeth. All you need to do is swish it around in your mouth for about 20 seconds and then spit it out for a clean, sanitized mouth. And your teeth will be whiter, too. Here are the ingredients:
10 drops of echinacea root tincture
5 drops of myrrh tincture
10 drops of propolis tincture
1 drop of peppermint essential oil
2 teaspoons of honey
1 cup distilled water
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a bottle and shake to mix it all together. Enjoy.
So there you have it – the health benefits of bee propolis. How many of you have used propolis? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.