Propolis is a unique substance naturally produced by bees. Bees use propolis as a sealant: it plugs up holes in their hives and acts as a protectant.
Propolis itself is a mixture of honey and other secretions produced by the bee. Bees also leave the hive to gather resins from nearby trees, adding it to their honey and secretions to create Propolis.
This unique substance has been used for a surprising range of purposes over the years. It’s currently used to manufacture chewing gum, for example, and can be found in a number of different cosmetics, facial creams, and ointments.
Today, beekeepers sell raw propolis. However, unless you know a local beekeeper, you’re more likely going to buy propolis in encapsulated form or as a powdered supplement.
How Does Propolis Work?
Propolis has been used for centuries. However, it wasn’t until recently that people began to study the substance in scientific settings.
As a result, we don’t quite know everything about the mechanisms behind propolis. However, here’s what we do know about how propolis works:
— Propolis contains all the known essential vitamins (except for vitamin K) and all fourteen minerals required by the body on a daily basis (except for sulfur)
— Propolis also contains high levels of flavonoids – as many as 500 times that of an average orange. Flavonoids have been linked to powerful antioxidating effects on the body and mind.
— Propolis has proven antibiotic and antiseptic properties. These properties fight disease within your body and can be used to treat certain illnesses.
— It also has antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce redness and swelling throughout the body.
— Propolis is a powerful sealant, which is why bees use it to protect their hive. These sealing properties made propolis popular among ancient healers and doctors. Today, some people still use propolis as a topical ointment to treat minor burns and wounds.
— These same sealing properties could also help propolis act as a dental sealant and tooth enamel hardener.
What Are the Benefits of Propolis?
Propolis’s benefits have been repeatedly demonstrated since ancient times. Dating back to 350 B.C., ancient Greeks used propolis to treat abscesses and other injuries. Assyrians used it to treat tumors, and ancient Egyptians used it to for mummification.
Today, propolis isn’t typically used to mummify bodies. However, its users still enjoy a wide range of powerful benefits. Here are some of the benefits you may be able to enjoy while taking propolis:
— Fight Infections, Illness, And Disease
— Boost Your Immune System Functionality
— Apply As A Topical Treatment For Genital Herpes And Cold Sores
— Treat Skin Injuries
— Heal The Mouth After Dental Surgery And Protect Teeth From Degradation
What Exactly Is Propolis?
As mentioned above, propolis is a mixture of bee honey and tree resin. Bees add their own fluids to the mixture, including some pollen, saliva, and special wax flakes secreted from unique glands on their abdomen.
It’s typically a golden brown to reddish color. However, depending on the tree source of the collection, it can also be nearly black.
In terms of ingredients, here are the most active ingredients within propolis:
— Propolis Contains About 55% Resinous Compounds And Balsam
— 30% Of Propolis Is Beeswax
— The remaining ingredients are 10% ethereal and aromatic oils and 5% bee pollen
— Propolis contains approximately 500 times more bioflavonoids than you would find in oranges and similar fruit. Flavonoids act as powerful antioxidants, targeting free radicals in the brain and bloodstream, which is thought to reduce the effects of aging and prevent disease.
— Amazingly, propolis contains all the known essential vitamins except for vitamin K. Propolis also contains all fourteen minerals required by the body, with the absence of sulfur.
Scientific Research Behind Propolis
As mentioned above, propolis has been used for centuries but has never been extensively studied. That’s starting to change. In recent years, more and more research has affirmed the benefits of propolis.
One 2008 study measured the effects of propolis on diabetic rats. Specifically, applying a propolis solution to wounds helped to boost healing in rats with diabetes. This affirmed the long-held belief that propolis was an effective topical treatment and wound healer.
Another study published by the National Institutes of Health showed that propolis was possibly effective for treating herpes outbreaks, cold sores, and genital herpes. Obviously, propolis hasn’t been shown to cure these conditions: instead, it just treats the outbreaks and reduces their redness.
A follow-up study from 2010 reaffirmed the belief that propolis was an effective treatment for the herpes virus.
Searching for “propolis” on PubMed.gov reveals a total of 2006 studies on propolis. The vast majority of those studies were performed between 2011 and 2014, which is why propolis has been frequently making health headlines over the last few years.
How to Use Propolis
You’ll typically find propolis in one of three different forms:
— As A Topical Cream, Lotion, Or Ointment
— Encapsulated As A Powder
— In Its Raw, Natural Form
If you’re taking propolis to treat herpes, then it’s recommended you use a 3% propolis treatment. Popular cold sore treatment brands like ColdSore-FX and Herstat both use a 3% propolis ointment, which has been shown to improve healing time while reducing pain and inflammation.
If you’re treating genital herpes with propolis, then you should also apply a 3% propolis ointment to the targeted area. This has been shown to reduce the recurrence of genital lesions. The conventional treatment method is to use 5% acyclovir ointment, although propolis has been shown to be more effective than this ointment in clinical testing.
When taking propolis in encapsulated form for its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits, follow the recommended dosage instructions listed on the packaging. Every propolis supplement is different. Typically, you take one capsule per day with water, although your specific formula may vary.
How to Make Your Own Propolis from Raw Propolis
If you purchased raw propolis from a local beekeeper, then you’ve got a bit of work to do to unlock the powerful benefits of propolis.
First, you can make some raw propolis powder by following these instructions:
— Take your raw propolis chunks and break them into smaller pieces
— Store the propolis in your freezer for 24 to 48 hours until it becomes hard and brittle
— Use a coffee grinder to grind your propolis into a fine powder. I recommend using a cheap coffee grinder or blender because the propolis will become very sticky and hard to clean. Serious propolis fans dedicate a cheap coffee grinder exclusively to propolis. After you grind up a few chunks, it’s going to take a lot of work before it’s suitable for grinding coffee beans.
— Once you’ve created a powder, store it in a cool, dark place, then use it whenever you need to make propolis based products like skin creams and supplements, or the water and alcohol-based products listed below.
Propolis water extract
Looking for something to do with all the propolis powder you just made? Make propolis water extract, which can be used as a mouth wash or as a cure for sore throats. It’s also an effective eye drop or wound washing solution.
— First, take 10 grams of your propolis powder and mix it with 100ml of distilled water. If you want to make more or less propolis water extract, just maintain a 1:10 ratio.
— Let the propolis water stand for about 10 hours, shaking it as often as possible.
— Pour the mixture through a coffee filter to filter out any contaminants.
— You can now use the water as a mouthwash, as eye drops, or to wash your wounds.
Don’t throw out the “maze” from this recipe! You can use it to make propolis-based alcohol in the next step.
Surprisingly, many people use their propolis to create an alcohol extract. This may even be the most popular way to use propolis. Here’s how to make your own propolis extract at home:
— Fill a sealable jar half full with raw propolis powder, then top it with 90% to 96% alcohol (buy Everclear or similar 190 proof alcohols from your local liquor store).
— Shake the jar and let it sit for six weeks in a dark, cool place. Shake the jar once per day, or as often as you can remember.
— Filter the solution and store it in dark tincture dropper bottles.
Most people will use this alcohol extract as part of a cream or salve. However, it can be used in a wide range of propolis products.
What Are the Side Effects of Propolis?
Propolis isn’t associated with many side effects. It’s a natural product which contains a mixture of bee honey and tree resin.
However, if you’ve previously been allergic to other bee products – like honey – then you may also be allergic to propolis.
There are also some reports that frequent usage of high doses of propolis could lead to inflammation, swelling, redness, burning, eczema, and fever. Always stick to the recommended dose for your propolis supplement and talk to your doctor before you begin.
Buying Propolis Online
Propolis is relatively easy to find at health food stores and even supermarkets. Costco, for example, sells a package of 100 propolis capsules for $15.99.
Those capsules each contain 500mg of propolis. You take one capsule per day with a glass of water to relieve sore throats, cure inflammation, and deliver antioxidants to your body.
If you don’t have a Costco membership, then that’s okay: there are plenty of other places to buy propolis.
First, I recommend looking for honeybee farmers in your local area. This is your best source of raw, natural propolis. You will likely end up paying more for the propolis than you would with pills or capsules. However, you also avoid any artificial ingredients or unnatural fillers.
In some cases, however, beekeepers will happily gift you propolis. They have no use for it. Unless there are lots of propolis fans in your area, they may simply be throwing out their propolis until you come along.
If you can’t find honeybee farmers in your local area or want a cheaper option, then the internet is your friend. There are plenty of online propolis stores where you’ll find competitively-priced propolis and a diverse selection of supplements. When you buy propolis supplements online, you also avoid having to prepare your own propolis from its raw form – which can be time-consuming.
Conclusion: Who Should Take Propolis?
Propolis comes with a surprising range of benefits. As long as you buy the right supplement, it’s also 100% natural: it’s simply a mixture of honey, tree resin, and other bee secretions.
Propolis can be used by anyone who wants to….
— Boost Their Immune System
— Enjoy Natural Antioxidant Effects
— Treat Their Body Using A Natural Antibiotic
— Improve Digestive System Functionality
— Treat The Symptoms Of Genital And Oral Herpes
— Topically Treat Burns, Bruises, Wounds, Sun Burns, Acne, Or Other Skin Irritations
Whether you’re buying propolis in the form of capsules from Costco or you’re buying raw propolis from a local honeybee farmer, this powerful natural compound has been associated with a wide range of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic benefits.