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In past centuries the use of natural balsams such as propolis was common. Knights wounded in battle used balsams as a form of treatment. Over 100 years ago, an ointment made from goose grease and propolis was successfully used on horses and cattle to treat hoof fissures and sores, and an ointment of propolis and vaseline was used on human wounds during the Anglo-Boer war.

Propolis has a very long history as a medicine for humans. It is reported to have treated colds and sore throats, stomach ulcers, burns, haemorrhoids and joint and muscle inflammation. Although propolis is considered by many as "folk medicine", its use has been revived. 

Propolis is a natural, resinous substance with a pleasant aromatic smell, varying in colour from light brown to dark chestnut red. Certain trees such as poplar, willow, horse chestnut and birch exude a sap which has antibiotic qualities to protect that tree from infection. Bees gather this sap, add their own secretions and take it back to the hive. Propolis is quite sticky at hive temperatures when new, it sets quite hard below about 15oC and is brittle below about 5oC. 

It is used by bees for repairing hive damage, sealing off strange objects from the cavity of the hive, partially closing the hive entrance in winter, and sealing down foreign objects which might find their way into the hive, such as sticks or small animals which have died or been killed by the bees. As they are too big to remove by bees, they are coated with propolis to "embalm" them and prevent their decay to reduce risk of infection.   

The bees, when they occupy a new hive, coat the inside walls of their home with a thin layer of propolis. They also coat the inside of every wax cell before it is used for laying or filling with honey. The reason for this is thought to be that propolis contains natural antibiotics which protect the bee colony, staving off diseases including bacterial and fungal growths to combat contamination and pathogen invasion. 



 Commercial production of propolis is usually difficult and time consuming. One method is to have special "inserts" placed in the hives - spaces that mimic holes or cracks in the hive to encourage the bees to fill them with propolis. The resultant propolis is then collected, sorted and packaged. The easier method to obtain propolis is to scrape the hives. 


 Propolis is a mixture of many natural substances which combines raw materials obtained from trees and plants together with secretions from worker bee glands. Being a natural product, the individual constituents of propolis are subject to natural variation. In addition the chemical composition of propolis varies widely due to the variety of plants used by the bees and the technique used by the beekeepers to harvest the propolis. For this reason an accurate analysis is usually unable to be given but generally propolis is about 55% balsams and resins, 30% wax and 8-10% pollen. A range of other components include various chemical compounds of flavonoids, phenolics and aromatics; trace amounts of fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.


Propolis acts as a natural antibiotic which raises the body's resistance to disease by internally stimulating the immune system. This helps the body fight infection, colds, flu and sore throats.  

Propolis may help improve skin condition. Applied externally, propolis is good for abrasions and bruises because of it's antibacterial effects. It may also help lower blood lipid and cholesterol levels as well as lower blood pressure. Some suggest that propolis improves energy and endurance in athletes. 

Propolis can reduce the symptoms of diabetes, by helping the pancreas to produce insulin. Propolis can work particularly well with Royal Jelly. However, please note that diabetes is a chronic condition, with no known cure. Our aim when advising people on taking Propolis and Royal Jelly, is to provide them with the nutrients to reduce their symptoms, and hence their frequency of insulin injections or tablet usage.

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