What IS propolis?
Bees aren’t only responsible for pollinating a third of the food we eat, but they also produce some wonderful super food substances. Aside from honey, bee pollen and royal jelly, bees produce a pretty remarkable ingredient, bee propolis, which is one of the most nutrient-dense of all the bee products, it’s derived from resins collected by bees from trees and plants. Bees combine the propolis, boasting plenty of antimicrobial properties, with wax to seal and sterilize their hive. This brown sticky resin is used to line their hives, repair cracks and to protect against intruders. Luckily for us, bees produce propolis in abundance, so much so, that many beekeepers find it a nuisance.
When did people start using propolis?
We’ve been using bee propolis medicinally, both internally and externally, for centuries. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used bee propolis for wound healing and from the 12th Century, bee propolis was used in healing mouth ulcers and throat infections. In the first and second world war, propolis was also used in first aid to reduce wound infection and speed healing. A long history of use has meant modern applications of bee propolis have expanded into skin care, dental care, digestive health, immune support, and more.
How can it help?
Propolis contains a number of vitamins and minerals such as zinc and B vitamins and high levels of flavonoids, which have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Propolis can be taken as a supplement (handy during cold and flu season) if you have allergies or hay fever, or when you’re just feeling a little run down. Alternatively, you can even apply it topically to skin to help wounds heal. There have been numerous studies on the ingredient to find out if it really works. According to the Department of Microbiology, National Heart & Lung Institute, it can reduce risk of catching hospital super bugs like MRSA. It’s also indicated signs of boosting the immune system which could reduce your risk of flu, according to research at Kyushu University of Health and Welfare, Japan. Plus, the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, found it to have antioxidant properties.
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