Propolis is a unique and amazing substance made by the honeybee and used primarily by the colony to seal small gaps in the beehive or wild nest. It is a combination of sap from evergreen trees that commonly grow needles, beeswax from their own bodies produced by the wax gland on the underside of their abdomens and salivary secretions produced by the bees Hypopharyngeal gland. A colony of honeybees is thought to be able to collect up to 200 g of propolis in 1 year.
A great deal of research has been published about the specific makeup of propolis but of course like honey and pollen it will vary depending on the location of the beehive that produces it. For example, propolis produced by bees in Greece will differ from propolis produced by bees in Hampshire.
Propolis is one of the five main products harvested by mankind from the honeybee for centuries; the other products include honey, beeswax, royal jelly, pollen and bee venom. All of these products have been used in a variety of foods, medicines and cosmetics since ancient times.
There is evidence that the ancient Egyptians used propolis in the embalming and mummification process and that other ancient civilisations used it to treat abscesses and infectious wounds.
Modern research reveals that propolis contains over 300 compounds the majority of which are a type of polyphenol called flavonoids which are disease fighting antioxidants used by plants for protection but when used by man can fight disease and infection in the body and accelerate the healing process.
A body of research reveals that propolis contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties due to the existence of a compound called pinocembrin. This makes it very effective as a natural cure for a range of wounds and to accelerate healing.