What is Propolis?
Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture made by bee-released and plant-derived compounds. Propolis is produced by honey bees by mixing saliva, beeswax, pollen with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is produced and used by bees in their hives to fill small gaps (approx. 6 mm or less).
Propolis varies in makeup and colour depending on the region and time of year it is produced by the bees. However in general, raw propolis is composed approximately of around 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen, and 5% of various organic compounds. Some propolis samples have showed that over 300 constituents have been reported to have been extracted from honey bee propolis.
How to collect Propolis?
Many beekeepers collect and sell propolis which can be used in a variety of natural remedies. Propolis traps are a perfect way to harvest clean propolis from your hive. To use, replace your inner cover or hive mat with the plastic propolis collector. The bees will fill the grooves of the trap with propolis. For best results, prop open your outer cover to allow some light into the hive. The bees will propolise the trap to shut out the light.
To collect the propolis, simply remove the trap and put it inside a plastic bag and freeze overnight. Twist or bang the trap inside the bag to remove the propolis.
What is propolis used in?
Propolis is thought to have several remarkable biological properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant. There has been limited clinical studies by the modern medical community into the effectiveness of propolis, although it has been used for thousands of years by ancient civilizations for its medicinal properties. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were aware of the healing properties of propolis and made extensive use of it as a medicine to treat wounds and abscesses.
There are many products that contain propolis; from toothpaste and skin creams to healing salves, herbal tinctures, syrups and elixirs. Some of the health problems propolis is touted as a natural treatment for include; acne, bacterial infections, burns, canker sores, giardiasis and cold sores amongst many others.
There have also been reported side effects with propolis use particularly in people who are allergic to bees or bee products. Do not use propolis if you have asthma or are allergic to bee by-products (including honey), conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates.
The Bee Store can help with all your beekeeping supplies, including propolis traps.