Bees are some of natures busiest creatures. They build intricate hives, produce honey, pollinate flowers and provide health supplements to humans in the form of bee pollen and propolis. The use of bee propolis as a treatment for various ailments has been around almost since the beginning of time.
Propolis is a sticky substance that bees make which is better known as "bee glue". The process begins when an expert propolis-making bee gathers resin from cone-producing evergreen trees or from the buds of trees. The bee will gather this sticky sap when the proper weather makes it pliable and soft. After the bee gathers enough, he blends the resin with wax flakes that he stores in the gland of his abdomen. After the bee has shaped it into a ball, he tucks it into the pollen basket that is attached to his leg. The bee will continue until the basket is full, then take it back to the hive. At this point, the propolis is unloaded and used to patch up holes in the hive. Bees also use propolis as an antiseptic barrier covering invaders with the sticky substance to prevent hive contamination.
Humans have been using this as an antiseptic since the times of ancient Egypt. Applying propolis to wounds greatly improved healing and throughout the centuries, this substance has been shown to have other healing properties as well. In the last several decades, health practitioners have found even more positive uses for propolis as a natural supplement. Propolis has been shown to increase the effects of other antibiotics like penicillin and can also strengthen the immune system. Studies are now being done to see if propolis can become an effective treatment for the prevention of certain types of cancer.
As far as supplements go, what exactly are people using propolis for? Some people simply take it as a nutritional supplement in capsule form for the healthy ingredients it contains. It's rich in amino acids, bioflavonoids, mineralsand vitamins. Bioflavonoids are a powerful antioxidant with great health benefits to the immune system and help fight the free radicals that damage healthy red blood cells. The properties contained in propolis also promote better circulation. Some users have marveled at the increased vitality generated by taking this supplement. Propolis has also been known to help grow more beautiful hair and nails.
In natural medicine, propolis is used to relieve the symptoms of inflammations. It is also used as a way to treat superficial wounds like third-degree burns, scalds and ulcers of the skin. Practitioners also use it for people who have cataracts and viral diseases. In the natural medicine industry, propolis is called the great healer.
Propolis lozenges are used as a remedy for sore throat because of the antimicrobial properties that propolis contains. It has strong antifungal properties as well. It works as a treatment for any type of mouth, throat or dental problem like plaque, canker sores and for the prevention of oral disease. Some health practitioners also believe that propolis can be effective against oral tumors. Used an oral rinse, it can reduce inflammation and irritation in the tissues of the gums, lips and throat.
Propolis is also available in capsules, as an ointment and also as a rinse or topical liquid. As a rinse it has the ability to regenerate dental pulp, making it ideal for the prevention of dental caries. The cream form has numerous uses in the treatment of blemishes, acne and psoriasis. As an acne treatment, propolis has excellent healing abilities.
The cream form is also used for relieving discomfort from herpes outbreaks and the scaling pain of eczema. Creams are versatile and can be combined with other natural ingredients such as aloe for increased skin soothing effects.
The humble bee has given humanity much in the way of all-natural substances that promotes healing and offer so many health benefits. We should be grateful to the busy bees for all their hard work in collecting their resin and turn it into propolis.
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