Bees supply us with a wide array of wholesome goods: think tasty honey, protein-rich bee pollen, and the sweet-smelling beeswax we love to add to herbal ointments and salves to act as a protective barrier for the skin. And that's not to mention bees' essential role in building healthy ecosystems and pollination for a variety of plant foods. But there's one more bee product you need to know about: the bee resin known as propolis. We use certified organic, responsibly wildcrafted propolis in our popular liquid tincture – read on to learn more about bee propolis and the ways it can enhance your health.
What Is Bee Propolis?
Bees produce propolis from evergreen tree sap and mostly use the resinous, sticky and aromatic substance to seal their hives and keep microorganisms (like bacteria and fungi) as well as other critters and invaders out. Propolis is found everywhere there are bees, but the specific composition of bee propolis varies widely depending on geography and location – and really depends on what vegetation the bees have access to. Still, no matter the origin, bee propolis offers amazing health benefits, which we'll cover below.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Bee Propolis?
Over 300 compounds are found in propolis, the majority of which are forms of polyphenols such as flavonoids – beneficial antioxidants that fight disease and reverse oxidative damage in the body.
Bee propolis is made up of resin (50%), wax (30%), essential oils (10%), pollen (5%), and other organic compounds (5%). It also contains vitamins like B1, B2, B6, C, and E, as well as minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, manganese, and iron.
Propolis contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, immuno-modulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that bee propolis helps protect us against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, and the antimicrobial properties of bee propolis on respiratory pathogens make it a superb natural remedy for upper respiratory tract infections as well (well hello, cold and flu season!).
But the health benefits of bee propolis don't end there. Here are some of its other health benefits:
More Ways Bee Propolis Can Enhance Health
- As a remarkable antiviral agent for herpes virus (cold sores and genital herpes)
A clinical study established in fact that an ointment enhanced with propolis extract was more effective than acyclovir, an antiviral medication, in healing genital herpetic lesions and reducing the severity of symptoms.i Similarly, a clinical study using a propolis extract in a lip cream found that it was more effective than acyclovir in healing cold sores (i.e. herpes labialis).
- Propolis can also support gut health
In vitro (i.e. test tube) research suggests that bee propolis extract is beneficial in the treatment of intestinal parasites such as giardiasis. A further study conducted on mice found propolis to be excellently prophylactic against giardiasis and more effective in early stages (i.e. 6 days post-infection) of acute giardiasis than the antibiotic and antiprotozoal drug, metronidazole (MTZ). This same study also ascertained that a therapy that combined propolis with MTZ resulted in a more pronounced effectiveness in reducing parasite count than that achieved by either propolis or MTZ alone. In vitro research also suggests that propolis is gastroprotective and helps mitigate H. Pylori. In addition to this, studies done in vitro and with animals point to propolis being beneficial for ulcerative colitis, mainly because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Enhance oral health with propolis
Thanks to its antibacterial action, numerous in vitro and in vivo (i.e. test tube and animal) studies suggest that bee propolis is effective in combatting pathogenic microflora linked to gingivitis and bacterial plaque – making it a great prospective remedy for oral health and keeping mouth infections and even bad breath at bay.
The many health benefits of propolis make it an essential addition to your herbal toolkit. Our USDA organically certified tincture is made from sustainably wildcrafted bee resin and brings you the best of propolis, in pure, concentrated drops.
For more information on gut health check out our blog on All diseases begin in the gut.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
Also called bee glue, propolis is a resinous substance produced by bees to seal their hives. It has been valued from ancient times for its antiseptic and wound-healing qualities.