The Benefits of Propolis (Why I eat bee glue!)
Yep, along with my daily dose of my ancient cold-preventer and my healthy dirt bugs, I take a helping of bee glue, a.k.a propolis.
What is propolis?
Along with the other fruits of their labor, including honey and royal jelly, bees create propolis from the resin of trees. After gathering the resin, bees transform it into a very sticky and antimicrobial mixture that they use to patch up their hive.
Due to its antimicrobial properties, it also disinfects the hive and prevents outbreaks of viruses and bacteria. Bees even use propolis to immobilize intruders (source). So basically, propolis is bee duct tape!
Bees living in hollow trees will coat the inside of the cavity thickly with propolis. After an experiment, researchers at The University of Minnesota found that bees housed in a nest box coated with propolis had lower bacterial loads in their body and also ‘quieter’ immune systems compared to the colonies with no propolis coating.
So, although bees never eat propolis, this unique substance plays a key role in their immune system. Through the same properties, propolis can boost our immune system and overall wellness.
Why I take propolis
General immune system support – Propolis supports the immune system in various ways. First, the antimicrobial properties suppress harmful bacteria and infections. Further, it actually stimulates the immune system and raises the body’s natural resistance (source).
I diligently take my dose of propolis during cold and flu season. I can’t, however, credit any one part of my diet or supplement regime for keeping me healthy (not a single cold this year! *knocks on wood*). I do take a double dose of propolis if I wake up and feel something coming on, and I will feel better the next day.
* THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.