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Propolis: How does propolis contribute to the immune system?

Propolis: What is propolis, How is made, ingredients, health benefits…

Propolis is a mixture of wax and resinous substances that bees collect from some plants. Also known as “bee glue”, it got its name from the Greek words “pro” (before or defense) and “polis” (city).

Bees with propolis protect the “bee city” from all unwanted guests, use it to seal holes and cracks,  strengthen the frames, or embalm the killed enemies in the hive. With the help of propolis, bees protect the hive from external atmospheric influences and predators, keeping the internal temperature at an optimal level and providing an aseptic internal environment.

Bee on a flower

Because the bee population is spatially limited and lives in close contact, the disease in one bee can quickly spread to the entire hive. However, bees usually stay healthy because they produce their own antibiotic – propolis.

Naturally occurring phenolic and flavonoid compounds in propolis have antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

How is made?

Bees make propolis from resins and sap from trees. While looking for food, worker bees collect the materials, and once returned to the hive, the resins are unloaded with the help of other bees. The resin is then mixed with wax, stomach enzymes and honey to produce propolis. Bees tend to keep stocks of propolis available for emergency patches and other uses.

Is propolis a natural antibiotic?

Yes. Propolis has numerous applications in the treatment of various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and immunomodulatory properties.

What are the ingredients?

Propolis is composed mainly of resin (50%), wax (30%), essential oils (10%), pollen (5%) and other organic compounds (5%). Researchers have identified more than 300 compounds in propolis. Most of these compounds are forms of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are chemical compounds that are important for many metabolic processes in plants and for human health. Polyphenols are most commonly found in plants and have been shown to be antioxidants that fight disease and damage in the body.

Propolis contains polyphenols called flavonoids, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral action and have positive effects on the health of plants and living organisms. With their antioxidant action, they cleanse the body of free radicals. Flavonoids prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases and the development of a number of inflammations.

Propolis also contains important vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, C and E and beneficial minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, zinc, and iron.

What are the health benefits of propolis?

Ancient Egyptians used the propolis as a balm, as well as for its healing properties. Roman soldiers used propolis for healing wounds, and Roman women used propolis cream for face and body care and as a remedy for a number of health problems.

The immune system is the system that fights viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that cause infection or diseases. Phenolic and flavonoid compounds in propolis have a positive effect on your immune system. It stimulates your body’s defenses and provides natural support in a variety of areas including colds, digestion, skin, mouth and teeth issues.

Many scientific studies have been conducted on the effects of propolis on bacteria, fungi, viruses and various microorganisms. When taken regularly, it helps reduce the incidence of disease by boosting immunity .

How do you harvest propolis from a beehive?

There are two ways to harvest propolis. It can be scraped from the hive during an inspection or honey harvest, or a propolis trap can be used.

Scraping is a quick way to harvest propolis, but the downside is that while scraping also other staff are collected like wood, wax and bee parts.

Scraped propolis
Scraped propolis

Using propolis trap placed inside a hive is another way of collecting propolis. In effort to plug the holes of the trap, bees will fill the slits with propolis. This results in propolis that contains virtually no impurities, but on the other hand, bees spend valuable time and resources closing the slits.

How does propolis contribute to the immune system?

Propolis supports the immune system thanks to its antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. It helps the body fight disease by destroying viruses and bacteria. When consumed regularly, propolis helps to reduce the incidence of diseases by boosting immunity. It helps to increase the number, activity, and antibody production of immune cells .

  • Propolis can mainly support the immune system, cardiovascular health, stomach and digestive health. In addition, propolis offers excellent protection against bacterial and viral infections.
  • Propolis – natural disinfectant – For thousands of years, many civilizations have used propolis to cleanse and disinfect their wounds. Propolis is considered a powerful disinfectant whose antifungal and antibacterial effects are recognized by science.
  • Propolis can relieve respiratory diseases and stimulate the immune system .
  • According to some researchers, the flavonoids contained in propolis are said to have an effect on obesity.

Thanks to its numerous micronutrients, propolis can have a positive effect on general health, but also on aging.

Propolis helps against

  • colds
  • flu (influenza)
  • stomach and bowel problems
  • Sore throat
  • Skin issues: such as warts, pimples and acne
  • Caries and sores in the mouth. Propolis is ideal for daily oral and skin care. It protects the vitality of the skin. It is preventive against bad breath.

How to Take Bee Propolis

Propolis is not a medicine, but a natural product. Thus, if we want to feel its effects, it must be used for a longer period of time. Especially is recommended in case of cold, flu and weakened immune system. Propolis products are suitable for children, adults and the elderly.

Because propolis is naturally bitter, it can be consumed on an empty or full stomach by adding it to honey or other foods/drinks.

Preparation of propolis tincture

For internal use, propolis is sold as tincture. The recommended daily dosage is 10 drops for children and 20 drops for adults.

For external use, drip propolis directly onto a cotton swab and dab onto the affected area such as the oral mucosa, fistula or pimple.

Does propolis have side effects?

Propolis is generally safe when used appropriately. It can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to other bee products.

If you are using propolis for the first time, it is recommended to do an allergy test. Put a few drops on the inside of your wrist. Wait 15-20 minutes. If there is no rash or itching, start with 1-2 drops per day and you can gradually increase the dosage.

Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

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