The health benefits and best uses of propolis
An incredibly popular, somewhat mystical substance in the Local Honey Man range, propolis has been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of health reasons. Like all of our products it is naturally sourced direct from our beekeepers, every purchase helping to protect the UK’s honeybee population. What you’re getting here really is the purest of the pure.
But what is propolis? What are its health benefits and by extension, why should you buy it? Here, we answer your burning propolis questions and arm you with the knowledge to make the very most of this 100% natural miracle substance.
What is propolis?
Propolis is a sticky substance produced by honeybees around the world as a protective coating for their hives. It is a combination of the sugary sap from evergreens, pollen and natural beeswax. Collected on the bee’s hind legs, just like pollen, its sticky nature means that bees must get help from their fellow workers to remove it. Adorable, we know!
It was used by ancient Greek and Egyptian civilisations for everything from fighting infections and treating abscesses to embalming mummies. Its literal Greek translation is ‘in front of the city’ – they recognised that it was used to protect bee colonies from the elements.
Propolis varies from country to country depending on what trees the sap comes from. Here in the UK, pine tree sap is a major constituent of propolis.
What is the difference between raw propolis and propolis tincture?
As the term suggests, raw propolis is exactly that – it is the unrefined, untreated natural product removed from the inside of our beehives once the bees have finished with them. Propolis tincture, on the other hand, is a combination of high potency, raw propolis dissolved in a liquid base.
What are the health benefits of propolis and what is it used for?
Propolis is used by bees to seal gaps in their hives, to protect and keep their homes clean and free of anything unnatural. It is a disinfectant and has antibacterial properties, the ideal substance to provide a safe, clean home for our honeybees to live and work in.
It is these properties that can provide the health benefits of propolis for humans. Broadly speaking it has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Original Stradivarius violins were coated in propolis in order to provide an exquisite resonance.
A small piece of raw propolis can be sucked to help treat a sore throat, mouth ulcers or a cough. Similarly, a few drops of propolis tincture can be added to warm water and drank to achieve a similar healing effect.
Other reported uses and health benefits of propolis are as follows:
- For healing wounds – Propolis contains a particular flavonoid that acts as an antifungal. One study found that propolis can help victims of burns heal their wounds faster by encouraging new skin cell growth
- To calm cold sores – Propolis both reduces the amount of herpes virus in the body as well as protecting against future outbreaks. The study in this case found that when propolis was used three times a day, cold sores disappeared faster than those who didn’t take it.
- For the prevention and complementary treatment of certain cancers – Some of the anti-cancerous qualities of propolis are reported as being: keeping cancerous cells from multiplying and reducing the likelihood of cells becoming cancerous in the first place
- To strengthen the immune system against colds – When taken in the winter months, the antimicrobial properties of propolis helps to smother bacteria in the respiratory tract, just as it does in the beehive.
How to take propolis
Suck a small piece of propolis to help with internal conditions such as mouth ulcers and a sore throat. Propolis tincture can be applied directly to the skin for ailments such as cold sores and psoriasis. Add 4-5 drops to liquid and drink several times a day to help boost your immune system.
Browse our natural bee products, including propolis, here.