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The Miracles of Nature: Propolis

April 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 146

Propolis is a product collected by bees from the bark and leaves of trees, sap and other plant sources. It is a resinous mixture that bees combine with nectar resulting in a mixture of wax, bee bread and pollen. This substance is then used by bees as a sealant to close up unnecessary open spaces and gaps of about 6 millimetres in their hives. They do this to protect themselves from contaminants that might enter the beehive. It is also said that bees use propolis to clean themselves upon entering the beehive. It also strengthens the beehive and makes it more stable and eliminate vibration. For the closure of larger holes or spaces, bees use beeswax.

Its colour varies from red, green, black, white to dark brown. It is very sticky at room temperature and as the temperature lowers, it becomes brittle and hard. Its composition varies depending on the colony of the bees, location, season and the source of the resin. The composition of this miraculous substance is as it follows: seventy per cent is represented by resins and balsams, thirty to fifty percent by wax, five to ten percent by bee pollen and ten percent by essential oils.

Propolis contains flavonoids which are antioxidants and have active ingredients. In the ancient times, it was used as treatment for sores and ulcers. It has many medicinal properties that are beneficial to health but these properties also depend on the source from which the resin was extracted. The most common resin sources are poplar and cone-bearing trees. Poplar resin is flavonoid-rich. It is said to have antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antibiotic properties. It is also used to treat skin burns. Ingestion of this substance is believed to stimulate and support the immune system.

The advantage of using propolis as an antibiotic is that it does not pose side effects since it is natural while chemical antibiotics have side effects and may also affect the natural or friendly bacterial flora in the body. Furthermore, studies show that this hive product is able to counter bacterial strains that have become resistant to common synthetic or chemical antibiotics. This is why it has been coined as "Nature's Penicillin".

Aside from its antimicrobial properties, propolis is also rich in vitamin and minerals such as vitamins A or carotene, B1, B2, B3, biotin, albumin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, silica, zinc, copper and so much more. It also contains all the vitamins with the exception of vitamin K and all the minerals with the exception of sulfur. Because of its wide range of medicinal properties and components, this hive substance is marketed as an alternative medicinal. It exists in many forms such as tablets, powder, ointments, extracts, cream and powder.

Propolis can be found in small amounts in honey and is available as nutritional supplement. In a study, this bee product was seen to induce cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and reduction of expression of growth and transcription factors. This ability of propolis can help in slowing the growth of cancer cells. Therefore it is still undergoing research for its possible effect in the treatment of cancer and prevention of tumour growth.

Propolis is a miraculous substance used by bees to protect and sanitize their hives. It is highly appreciated in alternative medicine due to its therapeutic values, including its ability to slow the growth of cancer cells and prevent tumour. In order to find information about other hive products read

Source: EzineArticles
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