PropolisThe propolis is a natural antibiotic which is gaining increasing popularity among alternative therapies practitioners. This is one of the bees' products that are a proof of their amazing organizational abilities.
What is propolis?The propolis is a resinous mixture, which bees collect from trees or other plants. After that, the bees mix the resin with their saliva and other substances and the result is the famous propolis. For centuries, the beekeepers have been convinced that bees used propolis in order to protect their hive from heavy rains and cold winter winds. However, in the 20th century, the scientist found out that propolis is more than a construction material for bees. Thus, nowadays it is believed that this substance has the following purposes :
1. it strengthens the structural stability of the hive
2. reduces vibrations
3. makes the hive easier to protect by closing the supplementary entrances
4. it prevents disease and the development of bacteria within the hive
5. it prevents putrefaction within the hive
It is well known that bees usually take outside the hive the dead bees, other remains and their garbage but if a lizard or a mouse dies inside the hive, the bees cannot drag it outside. Therefore they wrap the dead body into propolis, mummifying it and thus making it harmless and odorless.
Propolis usageThe propolis is considered a traditional medicine, which has only positive influences on our health. Alternative and natural medicine makes usage of propolis in order to cure various health problems, such as: inflammations, viral diseases, ulcer and superficial burns. It is also believed that the propolis has positive effects upon the healthiness of human heart, it strengthens the immune system and it reduces the cataracts incidence. It can prevent and cure infections. Nowadays, even toothpaste has in it composition natural ingredients derived from honey. The propolis is a healthy alternative to various synthetic types of toothpaste, being used for curing mouth and gums diseases and infections. Our mouth is one of the most sensible parts of our body, being the starting point of food digestion. Thus a healthy oral cavity is important for a good digestion. The clinic studies that have been published in various health magazines show that propolis can be used to fight against bacteria, it prevents cavities, heals sore gums and bad smelling breath.
Beekeepers recommend propolis for treating a sore throat. In order to get rid of this uncomfortable health problem, you have to chew a piece of propolis. The propolis can also be consumed as propolis tincture.
Even though there are people who claim that the propolis can be used to treat allergic reactions it has been proved that it can cause severe allergic reactions to people suffering from bee and bee products allergy.
The composition of the propolisThe composition of the propolis varies from one hive to another, from one region to another and from season to season. Its color is usually dark brown, but there are also green, red, black and even white varieties, depending on the type of resin used. Honeybees are real opportunists which take what they need from all available source- a characteristic pointed out by the chemic analysis of propolis, which varies from one region to another. For example in the north temperate regions, the honeybees take the resin form poplar trees and conifers- the biological role of tree resin is to heal wounds and protect the tree against bacteria, fungi and insects. The propolis found in the north temperate climate regions has around 50 constituent elements, especially resins and vegetal balms (50%), wax (30%), essential oils (10%), pollen (5%). In the neo-tropical regions the honeybees also take resin from the flowers belonging to the clusia and dalechampia class, which are the only known species of plants that produce floral resin.
Active substances in propolisThe propolis is made of the following chemical elements :
- A vitamin
- B2 vitamin
- B3 vitamin
- E vitamin
- P vitamin
The propolis can be bought raw, unprocessed, but in its natural state it is a sticky substance difficult to work with. Some beekeepers pack the raw propolis and freeze it in small quantities. However, most producers use a process within which the active ingredients are soaked into water or alcohol and then are packed either in liquid form or as capsules. The truth is that the propolis extracts tastes horribly, it is bitter and sour and the smell is not very pleasant either. However, it is very healthy.
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