My discover of bee propolis
A lot of people aren’t familiar with bee propolis. I know this because I’m often met with a confused look when I mention it as another wonderful product that bees make.
Until a few years ago, I hadn’t heard of bee propolis either. It was only when I started to help out Dad with his beehives that I noticed each of the hive boxes were firmly stuck together with a glue like substance. This was propolis. But what is propolis and why and how were the bees making it?
What is bee propolis?
The word propolis was coined by Aristotle from the Greek words Pro (before) and Polis (City), meaning ‘before the city’ or ‘defender of the city’. This is because our friends, the bees, are extremely keen on cleanliness and security in their hives. Bees go to extreme lengths to defend against intruders, bacteria and other foreign bodies. In fact, beehives are said to be one of the most sterile environments in nature! And propolis is their weapon of choice.
How does bees make propolis?
When a tree is damaged or its bark cut, a resin or sap floods the damaged area to protect the tree from bacteria or fungi attacking it. You might have noticed this sticky substance on a tree trunk. Bees cottoned on to this and started to collect the tree sap, just as they collect pollen and nectar. They add saliva and beeswax to the sap to prepare it for use in the beehive, creating a nutrient rich product called propolis.
Once back at the hive, the bees use propolis like Polyfilla or “bee-glue” to seal the beehive closed and create a highly protective layer – helping the hive to stay sterile. In very real terms, propolis functions as the natural defence and immune system of the beehive.
What is bee propolis used for?
Humans have used propolis as a herbal remedy for hundreds of years for its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. For improving oral health, soothing sore throats, cold sores, soothing burns and more.
At Just Bee, we are passionate about creating innovative wellness products by combining natural substances from the beehive, vitamins and botanicals. We are very excited about propolis.