Honeybees really are amazing animals. Apart from providing a vital role in much of our food supply through their help with pollination, they also provide us with fantastic, natural, healthy bee products.
When thinking of bees, for most people it is honey that comes to mind.
Over the past few years honey has been regaining its reputation for its naturally healthy qualities. Helped by more research effort, this has been particularly led by the unique healing properties, proven by proper research, found in some batches of New Zealand’sámanuka honey.
Bees do produce another product, that they make use of, which makes a great natural remedy – propolis.
Propolis is a resin type substance, produced mainly from bees collecting tree sap, mixed with some pollen. It has antibiotic properties due to its content of biologically active flavonoids.
The source of your propolis is important, as its actual content varies by location, based on just what the bees in each area have available to them.
Natural medicine practitioners have commonly used propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns and scalds. It can also help with some fungal infections.
It is an old beekeepers trick to use a piece of propolis in the mouthá as a remedy for a sore throat. This is now one of the common uses propolis products are aimed at, the winter ills such as sore throats, coughs and colds. You can of course now get a rather more pleasant tasting honey and propolis lozenge (or other flabour) to help with your sore throat.
Those people who are sensitive to bee products do need to take care, as it may cause allergic reactions in them.
Similar to the situation with many natural remedies, much of the evidence supporting it is still anecdotal. But with a growing number of scientific research studies underway around the world, a better understanding of propolis and what it can help with is occurring.
A significant difficulty in getting good scientific evidence for any natural remedy such as porpolis is again the fact they naturally vary in composition and potency. Being produced by mother nature, and not to a set standard in a laboratory creates obstacles to getting consistent results.
Taking a step towards dealing with this, and having a standard for measuring potency, New Zealand’s leading health bee products company Comvita has come up with a test and standard for their New Zealand sourced propolis tinctures and extracts. Comvita’s ‘PFL’ standard is a measure of Propolis Flavonoid Levels. An independent laboratory is used to have each batch of propolis certified. You then have information on the potency of their propolis products.
Of course there is a wider range of optionsápropolis remedies. You can get combinations with honey, propolis soaps, and even propolis in a toothpaste.
So next time you are starting to suffer from any of winter’s ill effects, yes, remember honey is good, but don’t forget there is another health bee product in propolis that also may help you.á
By Robert Lewis
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.