Bee propolis is defined as a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by combining their own saliva and beeswax with exuded substances they collect from tree buds, sap flows and other botanical sources. Propolis color can vary depending on what the bee collects from nature to create it, but usually bee propolis is a shade of dark brown.
Propolis serves a huge purpose in the world of honey bees. They use it to seal undesirable small cracks and gaps in the hive (larger gaps get filled with beeswax). This is hugely important because if these openings don’t get sealed up properly, the hive could have some very threatening invaders like snakes and lizards.
When scientists have looked closer at the exact chemical composition of propolis, they have found that it actually contains over 300 natural compounds, including amino acids, coumarins, phenolic aldehydes, polyphenols, sequiterpene quinines and steroids. In general, raw propolis is made up of approximately 50 percent resins, 30 percent waxes, 10 percent essential oils, 5 percent pollen and 5 percent of various organic compounds. The interesting thing about propolis, which is also true for honey, is that its composition is always going to vary depending upon the exact collection time, collection location and plant sources.
In case you’re thinking that bee propolis is a new health craze, I want to tell you that this bee product’s usage is said to date all the way back to the time of Aristotle circa 350 B.C. Ancient Egyptians were also known for using propolis in their mummification process while the ancient Greeks and Assyrians loved it for its wound- and tumor-healing abilities.
Science and personal experience continue to show that bee propolis remains an incredibly medicinal substance today. Now, let’s look at some specific propolis benefits.