"Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis, from the Greek word, "pro", meaning "in defense of" and "polis" meaning "city", is descriptive of the protection propolis provides the bee hives.
The main role of propolis is the protection of bees against disease. Bees coat every inch of the internal walls of their hives with a thin layer of propolis to sterilize the comb and keep their hives free of bacteria. The hive is an enclosed unit, it is hot and moist, the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms. Because of the propolis, the hive is virtually free of bacteria, mold and mildew. As a supplement, propolis helps provides your body the protection and healing properties that has allowed bees to survive for millions of years against many enemies. It is an excellent aid against bacterial infections.
The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive; therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive's propolis may be absent from another's.
Natural medicine practitioners use propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns or scalds. Propolis is also believed to promote heart health, strengthen the immune system and reduce the chances of cataracts. Old beekeepers recommend a piece of propolis kept in the mouth as a remedy for a sore throat. Propolis lozenges and tinctures can be bought in many countries. Though claims have been made for its use in treating allergies, propolis may cause severe allergic reactions if the user is sensitive to bees or bee products."*
I started taking propolis in August. I hadn’t heard of it before so I thought ‘Why not give it a go?’. I came across it when I was in the Caribbean and met a beekeeper, now my boyfriend, who recommended taking it to improve my skin condition (I suffer from a mild form of acne where little pimples grow under my skin, making my cheeks a soft pink colour - nothing too horrific to look at but something that has always made me feel uncomfortable).
I was reluctant to tell him about the headache - I now hardly tell anyone about it, as I fear I may be judged or put in the ‘crazy’ box - but eventually I did. He was very supportive about the pain and enthusiastically told me propolis may well work against fighting it off. He has given it to various people in the past, always with positive effects. One of his friends suffered from bad acne on his back, and after just a couple of months of taking propolis his acne had completely cleared up. He has worked with bees since being a young child and explained the numerous healing properties of bee products to me - fascinating to think such little creatures to be so intelligent! What I found most interesting to learn was that propolis prevents putrefaction in the hive - if a mouse or a lizard finds its way into the hive, the bees sting it to death and seal the carcass with propolis, effectively mummifying it thus rendering it completely odorless and thereby harmless to their well-being.
I took the propolis to the kinesiologist who tested me for it - my body strengthened which, according to kinesiology, means that I respond well to it. Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I take a small little ball of it. All I can do now is wait (yet again!) and see what happens.