When you think of honey bees you probably think of Winnie the Pooh scooping out huge paws full of gorgeously golden honey (or hunny sorry), and maybe you even think of the pretty photographs on Instagram of those colourful smoothie bowls adorned with tiny pearls of bee pollen. But did you know that these magnificent and fascinating creatures provide us with so much more? Bees also produce and provide us with beeswax, medicinal bee venom, propolis, and royal jelly.
Propolis is a resinous like substance which is made by worker bees who collect the sap and gum of tree bark and buds of various poplar and cone-bearing trees… Propolis is known to have a long history of medicinal use…
I’ve always been a little obsessed with honey bees – I mean what’s not to love about a female dominated colony calling all the shots? But in all seriousness I admire their resourcefulness, their work ethic, and if you don’t thank them for pollination, well… you’re just a little bit mad because we wouldn’t exist without honey bees today. Heck, even whilst I’m writing this article I’m chewing on a luscious lump of cut comb honey (I know how 1980’s) but one of my saving graces every cold and flu season absolutely has to be – propolis.
What is Propolis?
The word propolis translates as ‘pro’ – before and ‘polis’ city – or in other words ‘defense of the city’, with the city being the hive. Propolis is a resinous like substance which is made by worker bees who collect the sap and gum of tree bark and buds of various poplar and cone-bearing trees. These worker bees carry this propolis (sap and gum) back to the hive using their ‘pollen baskets’ and then synthesise wax by secreting it from special glands on their abdomen. This wax is then blended together with a little pollen and the enzyme 13-glicosidase4 contained within their saliva. The modified propolis is passed to other bees within the hive who use it for various purposes such as sticking together panels in the hive and sealing any cracks.
To find out more on the amazing health benefits of bee propolis just head on over to Primal Eye Magazine for the full article!