Bee propolis is a resin found in beehives. It is collected by honey bees from the buds of trees and utilized to cover unwanted gaps in the hive. It is sticky in warm weather, but turns brittle at cold temperatures. It contains an abundance of bioactive compounds, especially amino acids. The nutritional profile of bee propolis depends on its plant sources and beehive location, but modern day beekeeping practices have contributed to its quality.
Honey bees make bee propolis for a myriad of reasons. Insects like bees have the ability to understand the functions of pollens and resins plants produce. Many different tree species, like conifers, release resinous gums to protect themselves from invasive pathogens and potential threats. In fact, the productions of resins are part of their complex defense mechanisms against pests.
Bee propolis acts in a similar way in protecting the beehive. For one, it plays an important role in the structural stability of the hive. It is very viscous to the extent of being unmanageable when removed from the hive with bare hands. It enables bees to easily seal alternate entrances and retreat into the compartments of the hive. More importantly, propolis contains the same organic compounds that protects trees from pathogenic microorganisms, the reason why it keeps the hive sterile amid decomposition of animal proteins when bees or other bugs die inside the beehive.
The Power Of Bee Propolis
People from all over the world have domesticated honey bees throughout the centuries, having learned about the health benefits of bee products quite early in human history. In the ancient world bee propolis were utilized as an antiseptic, with the ancient Egyptians using them as an ingredient in embalming their dead. It exerts its antibacterial effects on skin lesions and affects the rate of healing of open wounds. Since it is also anti-inflammatory, it has also been used to allay eczema, psoriasis, and related skin conditions. It remains a popular ointment in certain regions to this date.
In recent years, bee propolis has enjoyed much attention largely owing to its nutritional value. The recent resurgence of interest in natural food products has also contributed to its surge in popularity. It is even marketed outside the biggest markets, including South America and Southeast Asia. It is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. It has moderate amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene and vitamin B complex, notably biotin. Its mineral content includes calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Bee propolis contains high concentrations of polyphenolic antioxidants. It is particularly rich in flavonoids, the most extensively studied of all groups of organic compounds that display antioxidant properties. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that damage cells, and antioxidants scavenge radicals to prevent oxidative stress. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of bee propolis has been reported to be 500 times than that of citrus fruits, making it one of the best sources of antioxidants.
You too can reap the benefits that Bees offer by getting yourself a bottle of Bee propolis.