Propolis is one of nature’s most remarkable substances. It’s produced by honey bees from tree and plant resins combined with wax. The bees use propolis to block up holes in their hives – it’s very sticky! But propolis also has many health benefits. It acts as a kind of external immune system, protecting the colony from infection and disease.
Many beekeepers consider propolis a nuisance – being unaware of its healing properties. However, propolis has been used as a natural remedy by humans all over the world for millennia.
Harvested in its raw state, propolis first goes through a refining process. This removes most of the wax, along with bits of wood and other debris. Generally, for every 100g of raw propolis, around 40g of refined propolis can be produced.
Propolis is high in flavonoids. This is a group of chemicals known for their antioxidant effects. An interesting fact about propolis is that depending on where it is harvested its chemical make-up varies. This is because the trees bees use to make this precious resin vary from location to location. As a result, some propolis appears to be more antiviral, whilst other propolis may be more anti-fungal or anti-inflammatory.
The refined propolis can then be used in various ways. For example, for capsules and tablets the propolis is ground into a fine powder before encapsulation. For liquid products such the refined propolis is combined with alcohol or glycol. This process causes the flavonoids to be extracted into the liquid. Alcohol is highly bioavailable – meaning it is quickly absorbed by the body. Subsequently, Propolis Tincture has been one of the primary methods of consuming propolis.
Propolis products vary, and so do their application. Propolis can be applied topically – directly to the skin. This can be especially helpful for treating things like acne, where the anti-inflammatory properties of propolis can help reduce inflammation. For example, our Propolis Cream contains propolis extract and can be applied directly to the skin. Our Propolis Lip Balm contains propolis extract along with Vitamin E which is known to promote skin health. Propolis can also be found in oral health products. These include Propolis Toothpaste, Propolis Mouthwash and our ground-breaking B-Gel. All of these products are efficient ways to apply propolis directly to the area needing treatment.
Alternatively, Propolis Tablets and Propolis Capsules are great ways of consuming propolis regularly. Propolis has a strong taste, so being able to swallow propolis in the form of a capsule is preferable for some.
In recent years propolis has transitioned from being a folk remedy to something which is the subject of much scientific research. In many nations around the globe propolis is a regular part of healthcare. It is particularly well used in Brazil, South East Asia and Japan, for example. But now, with much ground-breaking research being undertaken into its medicinal properties, propolis is becoming far better known in other parts of the world.
In recent years antibiotic resistance has become a major concern for healthcare professionals. Research demonstrates that propolis has the potential to reverse this trend. Research has also been undertaken into the use of propolis to treating patients with respiritory illnesses with promising results.
We have compiled a selection of scientific research papers which demonstrate the power of propolis. These are all peer-reviewed projects undertaken by some of the world’s leading researchers. We encourage you to have a look at some of the evidence for yourself.