If you’re a fan of honey, chances are, you might also have heard about royal jelly and bee pollen. However, these aren’t the only components that are produced by honey bees. They also yield a substance called bee propolis. The other term for bee propolis is “bee glue.” While it is not as significant as honey, bee pollen and royal jelly in the market, propolis also packs incredible and substantial health benefits.
The purpose of propolis is to protect the beehives from intruders. However, for many centuries this therapeutic substance has been used as an ancient remedy for various unwanted health ailments. Due to its antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-ulcer properties, it is no surprise that bee propolis is now the natural remedy of choice for a lot of people.
Bee propolis – What is it?
We all know that bees produce honey from nature. However, they also create a resinous or sticky substance combined from their own saliva and beeswax through secreted plant elements. The sticky substance produced is known as bee propolis.
Propolis can come in a variety of colors depending on what the bees gather. However, the most common shade seen in propolis is a shade of brown. Propolis is used to keep invaders like lizards and snakes from threatening the beehive. However, to do so, bees have to use it to cover up small gaps and crevices in the hive.
In recent years, scientists have studied closely the chemical compositions contained in bee propolis. They have found that this substance is comprised of over 300 natural composites. Some of the compounds that are noted are polyphenols, amino acids, steroids and many more. Organic propolis is essentially made up of 5 percent pollen and other organic compounds, 10 percent essential oils, 30 percent wax, and about 50 percent resins. However, the properties may vary subject to the sources and places from where they collected.
How is bee propolis beneficial to the health?
Most of us might think that bee propolis is a new trend in the health world. However, the popularity of bee propolis is said to have dated back to the time of Aristotle around 350 B.C. Propolis is also used by Egyptians in ancient times for the process of mummification. Ancient Assyrians and Greeks have also asserted to the healing benefits of propolis for wounds and tumors.
If you’re considering on making use of bee propolis as part of your health regime, here are some benefits that it can bring:
- Bee propolis helps fight cancer
A recent scientific study in Thailand assessed whether propolis extracts have an effect on the growth of cancer cells. It turns that propolis extracts contain high amounts of flavonoids and phenolic that is enough to prohibit the growth of cancerous tumors. Due to the antioxidant and anti-tumor properties, bee propolis has shown that it has significant effects on treating cancer.
- Bee propolis helps treat and prevent common colds and sore throats
When you’re down with the flu, it is usually accompanied by dreadful sore throats. However, a recent scientific study on school children has demonstrated the effects of propolis extracts to the common cold during the flu season. The children who were administered with bee propolis showed significantly lower acute or chronic flu symptoms. This proves that propolis can reduce the risks of getting affected by common colds.
- Bee propolis helps treat wounds and cuts faster
Propolis contains a special flavonoid that works as an antifungal. The compound is called pinocembrin. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in this flavonoid are what helps heal wounds faster.
- Bee propolis helps treat herpes and cold sores
Using ointments that have propolis extracts can help the healing duration for cold sores go faster. Not only that, it reduces other symptoms that come with herpes. The antifungal and antimicrobial properties in bee propolis effectively reduce viruses from herpes and also protects the body from getting breakouts in the future.
- Bee propolis helps combat parasitic infections
Getting affected by parasites is not a rare incident nowadays. We can essentially pick up parasites from the food we eat and water we drink. One such parasitic infection that is common is the giardiasis. It is a parasite that infects the small intestine caused by Giardia lamblia. Giardia lamblia is a microscopic parasite found in contaminated food and water.
However, one clinical experiment using propolis extracts on giardiasis have resulted in positive effects. This proves that bee propolis can effectively fight and get rid of parasites infecting our body.
- Bee propolis helps reduce blood pressure levels
Scientific research has shown that propolis contains traces of nitric oxide which is important to keep our hearts healthy. The purpose of nitric oxide is to be used by the blood vessels inner lining and signal the muscles to relax. Vasodilation or blood vessel widening would occur and increase the blood flow to our heart.
- Bee propolis helps treat bone ailments
Propolis is also shown to have positive effects when it comes to building and maintaining healthy tissues in the bones. Scientists have reported that the compound Phenethyl Ester is very effective in lowering inflammation that causes bone problems. There are even suggestions that propolis can become a potential remedy for diseases like osteoporosis.
Precautions when using bee propolis
There are certain measures you must take before using bee propolis. If you are allergic to honey, royal jelly or bee pollen, then you should have an allergy test done first. For those with bleeding disorders, propolis should be avoided two weeks before surgery. For food poisoning or parasitic infections, check with your doctor first before taking propolis.
It is without a doubt that bee propolis has plenty of impressive benefits especially when it comes to health. It’s amazing that something so simple and natural could serve many purposes. First, it helps the bees guard their hives. It has also helped humans during treatment of different health issues for a very long time, and its effects have not expired even until now.
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