Health Benefits of Propolis

Honey from honey bees is one of nature’s best friends when it comes to supporting overall health and wellbeing, and so too is propolis – a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees.

When bees combine the sap from the trees with their own discharges and beeswax, they create a sticky, greenish-brown product used as a coating to build their hives.

Bees use Propolis to protect and sterilise the beehive, where it acts as the immune defence mechanism for the whole hive. The protective immune defence and antioxidant properties of Propolis come from the active plant compounds it contains.

Anti-inflammatory and antiviral 

Propolis has proven antiseptic and antibiotic effects, along with potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It offers an array of benefits for many ailments and is one of nature’s richest sources of bioflavonoids for immune support.

Ancient civilisations used propolis for its medicinal properties. Greeks used it to treat abscesses. Assyrians put it on wounds and tumors to fight infection and help the healing process. Egyptians used it to embalm mummies.

For centuries, people have used propolis on wounds and as a remedy for ailments ranging from acne to cancer, osteoporosis, itching, and tuberculosis. Today, propolis is used in the manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, creams, lozenges and ointments and is being investigated as a dental sealant and tooth enamel hardener.

Natural antibiotic

Propolis is also effective in the treatment of burns, minor wounds, infections, inflammatory diseases, dental pain, and genital herpes.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in medicine, often due to the overuse of antibiotic medication. People who are taking antibiotics are often advised to take probiotics to aid in the preservation of good bacteria in the intestines. Researchers have determined that propolis offers powerful antibiotic properties. The isolated acids from propolis have been shown to be an effective agent against many bacteria, including staph.

Kills bad bacteria

A compound in propolis, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, has shown effectiveness at easing inner ear inflammation.

Propolis kills bacteria, and is often used in the treatment of colds and flu, as well as dental care, and some studies have found that propolis’ anti-microbial qualities are more effective at eliminating certain germs in the mouth than calcium.

Modern studies show propolis may be effective in the treatment of periodontitis (gum disease) and gingivitis. It has also been shown to limit plaque and reduce tooth cavities. Some studies have shown that propolis may  even help regenerate dental pulp, as well as bone tissue,and cartilage.

Wound Healing

One of the most valuable aspects of propolis, both for humans and bees, is its natural antiseptic qualities. By spreading propolis or extract on wounds, you can protect open sores and cuts from infection. Secondly, the antioxidants contained in propolis can act to speed wound healing, stimulating blood flow and growth in those areas, along with reducing inflammation.

Variations

Like honey, the composition and health benefits of propolis will vary depending on the trees and flowers and the location where it is produced. You can find propolis in its raw form directly from a local beekeeper.  It’s also in the “cappings” of honey – a crunchy mixture of pollen, propolis, and bees wax.

Propolis can be purchased in pharmacies or health food stores. Topical forms include creams, ointments, and lotions. Propolis can also be taken orally in tincture, tablet, and capsule form.

Propolis is not advised as a treatment for anyone who has an allergy to honey or bees.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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