Having been a beekeeper for a few years, I have taken advantage of the many natural benefits that honeybees have to offer. No, I’m not just talking about honey or even the wax they produce. This time, I’m referring to the health benefits of bee propolis.
It comes as no surprise that there is yet another component that honeybees make.
This one has gobs of naturally helpful compounds and a resource worth mentioning!
What is propolis?
Propolis is this sticky substance that honeybees make. What they do is they take sap or resin from trees such as willow, elm, birch and a few other tree species. They will then mix it with their saliva, wax and pollen to create propolis.
What do honeybees use it for?
Honeybees use propolis to glue everything in their hive together. By doing so, it prevents other bugs and creatures from entering as well as a way to seal up the hive.
Talk to any beekeeper and they will tell you that it can sometimes be impossible to pry apart a hive without their hive tool!
The reason for this is that propolis is so sticky. In the heat of the summer, propolis is really sticky almost like taffy and can be hard to get off of surfaces like your gloves or a hive tool.
Plus, it looks really gross in its natural form too. Depending on the type of sap/resin they gathered and from which tree, propolis can be reddish or brown looking.
You would think with the way it looks that it would have a real stinky smell to it. But actually, it doesn’t!
When you open a hive, there’s usually a pleasant smell coming from within it. Propolis is no exception.
However, propolis isn’t beeswax. Even though honeybees make wax as well and is found in propolis, it isn’t wax.
Propolis has been around for a while.
Honeybees are not a stranger to us. They have been around for quite some time. So you can imagine how even Egyptians had the opportunity to discover and use propolis to embalm their mummies.
Which comes as no surprise because if a mouse were to get into a beehive, after killing it, they would use propolis to cover it up. If you checked on the same mouse years and years later, it’s practically mummified.
Russian soldiers would use propolis to heal wounds and in some wars was even used to stop the spread of infection. Women have used propolis to fight certain feminine infections. Children were given propolis to aid in illnesses for the first seven years of their lives.
As you can see, it’s has been quite the commodity throughout time. It’s no wonder considering all the benefits it provides.
Propolis has many health benefits
Here is a list of just a few things’ propolis can help with:
- Ear infections
- Strep throat
- Reduce cancer cells
- Respiritory infections
- Cold sores
- Mild gum disease
- Genital herpes
The list goes on and on. Propolis naturally helps support your immune system and is full of essential vitamins, amino acids and about 300 other compounds.
In a recent study, they found that flavonoids (one of the many natural compounds found in propolis) helps diabetics with the rise of blood sugar as well as assist in the repair of burn tissue.
Another aiding compound is Pinocembrin (say that 5x fast!) that serves as an anti fungal compound and helps heal wounds.
Are there any negative side effects?
There have been a lot of studies revolving around the natural healing effects of propolis but nothing really stating any adverse affects.
However, if someone is allergic to bees, it’s recommended they do not use propolis. If your throat closes up and you exert serious symptoms of an actual allergic reaction, you will most likely have the same problems when you consume propolis.
There are those who say they are allergic when really they were meaning the area where they were stung was swollen and itchy.
It is always advisable if to consult a doctor if you have major concerns or feel that you’d suffer any adverse affects. People who suffer from asthma shouldn’t take propolis and the information in this article shouldn’t be used as medical advice.
Are honeybees the real heroes?
Honeybees are so incredible and fascinating. They make so many things’ on their own that is helpful for us humans. Propolis is just an example!
These small little bugs serve such a huge purpose in our lives. They do so much more than give us delicious honey. They are the great pollinators and give us natural resources to solve so many health issues we all face.
I’m not sure about you, but they may just be the real heroes!
Please feel free to leave your questions in the comment section below!