Propolis, bee glue, beeswax acid, propolis resin….
Have you heard of it before? It’s the latest buzz word (haha get it?) in the food and beauty industry. I’ve even seen skin care products including this ingredient in Korean skin care brands.
But what exactly is it?
Propolis is made by honey bees. It is a resinous mixture that bees produce by combining saliva and beeswax with resins gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. They use it as a glue, thus the name “bee glue”, for their hives to keep everything together and to keep bacteria and pests out.
For humans, propolis has many uses. The over 300 compounds contained is what has made propolis famous for it’s medicinal qualities. It has been used for centuries due to it’s anti-microbial, antioxidative, anti-ulcer, and anti-tumour activities. It’s pharmacological properties mean it can also be used for a range of purposes such as an anti-inflammatory, an immune system stimulant and an anti-bacterial agent.
The word propolis itself comes from the Greek word pro – “for in defence of’ and polis – “in city”, hence “defender of the city or hive”. I think this meaning perfectly sums up what propolis can do for us humans – act as a defence for our bodies!
Recently I shared a blog post about the benefits of raw honey where I featured the Hikiän brand. I really love how pure their products are and how they undergo pesticide and GMO testing to prove just how clean they are. Well, they also have their own propolis from the same, pristine nature of Finland.
Health Benefits of Using Propolis
Helps Fight Against Cancer
There has actually been over 300 scientific studies focusing on propolis and cancer treatment. I’m not trying to say that propolis is a cure for cancer, but some of the compounds found in it are likely to inhibit DNA synthesis in tumor cells and even cause death of tumor cells.
Prevents and Treats Colds and Sore Throats
This is how I first used propolis in my life. It’s great for preventing a cold by killing the bacteria before they get a chance to take hold and multiply, thanks to it’s anti-bacterial properties.
Stop Cold Sore Reproduction
Test tube studies have shown that propolis can stop both HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus 1 – cold sores) and HSV-2 (genital herpes) from reproducing. The study compared the difference between applying an ointment containing propolis and one without. Test participants using propolis ointment had their lesions heal faster, thus reducing the duration. Many natural-based lip balms aimed at alleviating cold sores contain propolis.
Helps Alleviate Seasonal Allergies
When I was studying holistic nutrition I remember one of my teachers mentioning how propolis can help people who suffer from seasonal allergies. It works by inhibiting histamine release much like a pharmaceutical anti-histamine does. The results of this study demonstrate that propolis may be effective in the relief of symptoms of allergic rhinitis (itchy, sneezy, runny nose) through inhibition of histamine release.
My Personal Experiences
I’ve taken propolis a few times as a preventive measure when people around me are sick. Adding a few drops (10-30) to a glass of water is all that’s needed. I haven’t caught the dreaded seasonal cold or flu that’s been going around.
The other way I’ve been using propolis in my life is to treat canker sores. I’m really prone to getting them, especially if I bite my lip or the inside of my cheek. When I feel that I’m starting to get a canker sore, I add one drop to the area and let it get to work. This has been incredible for me because my canker sores can become quite painful and make eating or talking properly difficult. This has been life changing!
I’ve also given propolis to my family members when they feel a sore throat starting to come on. Propolis is great to prevent a throat infection from becoming worse due to it’s anti-bacterial properties. My family has had terrific results and it makes me so happy to see how this wonderful natural solution works so effectively.
Have you ever tried propolis before? If you’re curious to try, I highly recommend Hikiän’s propolis that you can check out here.