My mom was really interested in propolis the last few years of her life. So much so that she created her own Propolis Tincture as well as putting it in our Gum Protector for years. My parents kept bee hives for years and my dad still does, for the benefits of the honey, bee pollen, and garden pollination. Propolis is a sticky substance that bees collect from the resin of trees while they are foraging for food. They use it to repair and disinfect their hive, to build panels, as an embalming tool for intruders it cannot remove from their hive, and as a microbiocidal agent. In short, it helps keep the hive healthy.
It has incredible health benefits for us as well, both as an antioxidant and an anti-microbial. It is a stimulant and has healing, anti-inflammatory, anesthetic, and analgesic properties. Propolis helps fight infections and is helpful in soothing pain. It can be used topically, or taken internally. It can be helpful for issues ranging from cuts and bruises and other skin conditions such as acne, to stomach pain, sore throats or even athlete’s foot. Also, just as unpasteurized local honey can be helpful in dealing with local seasonal allergies, propolis does the same.
In doing my research for this blog, I found resources on how propolis helps a wide variety of generalized health issues as well as some very specific ones:
- Immune support
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Internal parasites
- Cavities & gum health
One thing to keep in mind however, is to take propolis with moderation. As with other bee products, it is high in sugar and should be used with care. And if you have a health condition that is affected by your sugar intake such as diabetes, definitely talk to your health care professional about any possible concerns. I did find some studies that suggested that propolis may improve diabetes in Brazilian mice and Chinese rats, but I’m not an expert and would suggest talking to someone who is.