Propolis is a resinous mixture formed by honey bees as they collect resins from tree buds of poplars, birches, pine trees etc. Propolis is used by bees as a sealant for small gaps in the hive. Propolis plays a vital role in the survival of bees. It reinforces the stability of the hive, reduces vibration, protects against climatic changes and prevents diseases and parasites from entering the hive.
Propolis consists of more than 100 different substances such as resin and balms (50-55%), wax (30%), clump, greases, amino acids, organic acids, composed ethers of alcohols, minerals, vitamins (5%) and pollens (4-10%).
Propolis has been in popular medicine since ancient times. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans have used propolis for its general healing properties and for the cure of some lesions in the skin. Propolis has had important role in European folk remedy since 12th century. It has only been in the last twenty years or so that scientists have been able to prove that propolis is as active and important as our ancestors thought.
The list of health problems that have shown satisfactory improvements when treated with propolis is remarkable. Propolis has been used in treatment of:
- Bleeding gums
- Bedsores and Blisters
- Burning tongues
- Callused feet
- Canker sores (aphtha)
- Common cold
- Diaper rash
- Female complaints
- Hair loss
- Insect bites
- Inflammation of the nasal passage, gums, ears and prostate gland
- Sore throats
- Swollen glands
- Stomach ulcers
- Tennis elbow
Preliminary human studies made with propolis indicate that propolis extract reduces upper respiratory infections in children and shorten the duration of a common cold in adults. Simple way to use propolis as a common cold remedy is to include good quality propolis honey in to your diet. One reported method to treat common cold and ear infections in children is to apply one drop of high quality propolis extract behind both ears for example before bedtime.
Alcoholic propolis extracts should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing. It may not be safe to use propolis if you have a history of allergic or anaphylactic reactions to bee stings or if you are taking the prescription antifungal medication metronidazole or the alcohol abuse treatment disulfiram.