Who knew that eating glue could actually bee good for your health and have so many antibacterial properties? Well, a certain type of glue, that is, called propolis. Propolis (also known as “bee glue”) is a resin-like substance produced by honey bees that’s formed from the bees’ secretions and the sap from certain trees and plants, and used to line the inside of beehives. Not only do bees use propolis to build and mend their hive; they also use it to mummify intruders they’ve killed (could we also use it to seal our children’s mouths shut when we want to have an uninterrupted phone conversation? Just a thought).
Alright, so: how is propolis good for our health?
Propolis is chock-full of wonderful compounds—upwards of 300 have been found in some batches. Its chemical makeup is broken down into resins, waxes, essential oils, pollens and other organic compounds. Each batch of propolis contains a different combination depending on where the bee and its plant sources are located. Although composition may vary from batch to batch, however, one thing remains the same: propolis’s constituents have the miraculous ability to protect against a multitude of microbes. It also doesn’t just wield antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal abilities; it has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties, too. This makes it preeeetty popular: it’s widely used across the beauty industry, in makeup, creams, lotions, face masks, serums, even acne-treatment products.
Given its long list of benefits, propolis treats a multitude of health concerns. Here are some of my favourites:
Sore Throat/ Viral Infection
Propolis’s anti-microbial and antibacterial properties work wonders for shortening the duration and lessening the severity of the common cold and sore throats. Studies show that propolis helps boost the immune system and decreases the frequency of viral illness, especially in school-age children. It’s available in a purse-size spray, so you can spritz your sore throat on the go for a shot of immune-fighting power.
When it comes to treating fungal infections, propolis seems to be the top choice of bee products. It strong antibacterial property also has a anti-fungal activity, so it’s effective in treating cases of yeast overgrowth in the mouth and the vagina. It’s also been proven effective in treating blood-borne yeast.
Cold Sores (and non-herpes-related wounds)
We’ve all heard of the Herp: it shows up as either cold sores on our lips or painful lesions on our girly bits. No matter where they are, though, they ooze, blister, scab and are an all-around nuisance for upwards of two weeks. Fear not, though: propolis and its antibacterial properties not only speeds up tissue recovery, it also decreases the chance of outbreak. If that wasn’t great enough, studies have shown that propolis speeds up the wound-healing time for non-herpetic lesions, too.
Cancer and Chemotherapy
As the number of cancer cases rises 😢 , so do new treatments and prevention options. Hundreds of studies have been done on the effects of propolis on cancer, tumours and reactions to chemotherapy. It’s not used as a mainstream treatment just yet, but many are turning to it as a preventative measure. Active constituents in propolis not only inhibit the development and growth of cancer cells; they also cause apoptosis (a phenomenon in which cells are killed off due to programming in their DNA).
Acne and Skin Conditions
As we said goodbye to our teens, sayonara to our 20s and ta ta to our 30s, we thought we could also say peace out to our pimples (or acne vulgaris, their proper name—fitting, isn’t it?). Turns out, that wasn’t the case. Good thing you have The Jills to help! Propoli, with it’s antibacterial property has been touted as a wonder for skin, good for many things, including killing bacteria (the number one acne promoter). Plus, as we’ve mentioned, it is extremely effective in healing wounds, making scarring less of a concern.
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The list doesn’t stop there, of course; as more and more studies are released on the benefits of propolis, the more health-related possibilities are brought to our attention. So, don’t hate on those bees. Not only do they make us lovely honey and give us beautiful flowers, plants and trees, their wonderful antibacterial by-products keep us healthy and well.