Propolis: A Gift From Nature


honey beeAs the colder months are approaching and hats and scarfs are hung back onto the coat rack, immune boosting herbs and cold remedies find their place back onto the shelves of our green medicine cabinets as well.

Even though technically speaking propolis is not an herb, it holds a dear spot on the top of my list of herbal winter remedies. Not only do I keep it close at hand during the cough and flu season but, as one of the most versatile alternative medicines, it would also accompany me on my Robinson Crusoe island to which I could only bring five medicinal herbs to keep me healthy. And it takes a lot for a remedy to be invited on that trip with me.

How Bees Use Propolis

The word propolis comes from Greek pro=before and polis=city. Propolis, a gummy, sticky substance that is soft like chewing gum when warm and hard and brittle when it is cold, plays an essential role in the bee hive. Forager worker bees collect the sap and gum of tree barks and tree buds of conifers, birches, and poplar trees. They carry the sap home in their pollen baskets, blend it with wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomen, mix in some pollen and their saliva, adding enzymes in the process, and pass it on to other bees in the hive who put it to use.

Worker bees install carpets and even tunnels of propolis at the hive entrance to prevent disease from entering the hive and to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth. Bees use propolis to build structures and channels to direct the flow of air through their hive for proper ventilation.  Nursing bees varnish the interior of brood cells in preparation for the eggs. With its antiseptic properties, the propolis lining insures a microbe free environment for the rearing of the brood.

If a mouse, or other honey thief too large to be carried out, gets into the hive the bees will sting it to death and encase the dead body in propolis, protecting the hive from bacteria and odor. beehive

12/8/2016 12:13:38 PM

What is the daily dosage of the tincture?

8/17/2015 2:10:56 PM

Thanks for the post Susanna, Have you ever used your tincture to make a face cream/oil for acne? Or salve for cold sores? Shay

4/12/2014 4:30:21 PM

Hi, How do you make propolis lozenges? When I was a kid, we could get wonderful strong effective propolis/honey lozenges from the chemist, but nowadays the lozenges around are weak, very sweet, and very expensive. I'm a budding beekeeper, and am planning on getting a couple of beehives for personal use next year.

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