Honey Bees and Health: Propolis And Its Benefits to Your Wellbeing
Did you know that bees make more than just honey? Whilst the health benefits of honey are well-known, most people have never even heard of an equally nutritious byproduct of honey production: A compound called Propolis! We’ll take a look at what it is, how it’s used and where you can purchase Propolis made by Aussie honey bees!
For years, the health industry has been promoting bee-related products and for a good reason. Honey bees are truly fascinating creatures with the ability to produce a wide variety of honey products. Besides their most popular product – honey, they also create bee pollen and propolis, an underrated substance with many potentials for humans.
What is Propolis?
Propolis is a natural product produced by honey bees. It is a resin formed from the sap of needle-leaved trees or evergreens that the bees collect on their journey.
Combined with beeswax, the sap turns into the red or brown compound propolis, which is renowned for its medicinal properties.
Propolis is created from various substances collected from plants, buds and beeswax. It forms a sticky product that bees use as a coating to build and protect their hives. The word itself is derived from Greek; pro stands for “at the entrance to”, polis for “city”. Designed to be used by bees to keep disease out of their hive, it is no surprise that it also contains properties that have the potential to benefit humans.
Unlike honey, propolis is not known for its sweet, delicious consistency, healing properties and various medicinal uses. Although it still tastes quite sweet, it also leaves a slightly antiseptic aftertaste and may slightly numb your taste buds. It is not as widely researched as honey, but its benefits have been shown to be beneficial to general human health.
The Medicinal Properties of Propolis
Researchers have identified more than 300 compounds in propolis. The majority of these compounds are forms of polyphenols that help fight disease and damage in the body. Its exact composition is different depending on the location of the bees and the trees and flowers they have access to. Propolis typically consists of:
- 50 per cent tree and vegetable resins
- 30 percent beeswax
- 10 percent pollen
- 10 percent essential oils
Research is limited but shows it has the potential to protect from some bacteria, fungi and viruses and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Because of its high levels of antioxidant bioflavonoids, it is often used as a natural immunity product. Rarely available in its raw form and is usually obtained from beehives. This means it will always contain other bee products.
Historical Uses and Applications
Used by bees to protect their hives, humans caught wind of the medicinal benefits of propolis thousands of years ago. It’s been used throughout ancient civilisation for its medicinal purposes. The Egyptians utilised bee glue for embalming their dead. On the other side of the glove, the Incas employed propolis to reduce fever. The Greeks and Romans used it as a mouth disinfectant and as an antiseptic in wound treatments.
Since the 17th century, Propolis has been listed as an official drug in the London pharmacopoeias. During the Second World War, it was widely used in tuberculosis treatments. In the Balkan states, it was applied to treat wounds and burns, sore throat, and stomach ulcers. Propolis gained popularity in the 21st century and can now be found as a natural remedy for topical use in many health food stores. It is also more commonly used in cosmetics and as an alternative to medicine to treat various diseases.
Tips on Consuming Propolis
Like Manuka Honey and Vallentine’s World’s Strongest Honey, research suggests that propolis may be helpful for its many anti-inflammatory purposes. It has been shown to help treat minor wounds, oral hygiene, inflammation, and cold sores. There is, however, not enough scientific evidence to support the notion that the consumption of propolis aids with diabetes, cancer or allergies. It will also have different effects on different people.
How is it consumed?
Propolis can be used as an oral supplement, diluted in water as a mouthwash, and topically on the skin. How propolis is used depends on the individual. So it is best to seek a doctor’s advice on whether or not it is suitable for you at all and in what way you should be applying it. Before using propolis, it is essential to test patch it to ensure you are not allergic.
Like all natural medicinal products, you need to pay close attention to your consumption patterns and any effects, good or bad, it has on you. Although it is generally safe for humans when used at a reasonable dose, allergic reactions can occur – although they are rare.
It is difficult to be sure of its contents because the exact contents greatly vary depending on where it was produced. Just like when you’re purchasing Manuka honey, choose reliable producers that undergo third-party testing. And always speak to your doctor before testing propolis and other natural supplements and remedies.
Wrapping it up
While research suggests that Propolis has many properties that could benefit your wellbeing and any minor health concerns you may have, there isn’t enough evidence for it to be an effective treatment for more specific conditions.
If you have any persistent symptoms, it is essential to speak with your doctor about the best treatment options. To learn more about Australian Honey Bees and how locally-made honey can benefit your life and wellbeing, contact Vallentine’s Honey and visit our blog.
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