Propolis is a resinous substance produced during the activity of bees. This product, like honey, is made on the basis of plant elements. It has a number of useful qualities, due to which it has found wide application in medicine.
What is propolis and what is the origin of the product?
Propolis is the second most sought after honey product made by bees. This substance has a dense texture with a brown or green color. Propolis is used by bees for technical purposes.
For a long period, scientists could not determine the chemical composition and formula of the substance. For this reason, there was no consensus on the production of propolis. Three theories have been put forward by specialists in the study of bees that answer the question about the origin of propolis:
- according to the first theory, the basis for this substance is the resin collected by bees that occurs on the bark and buds of poplar, birch, willow, chestnut, as well as a number of coniferous and deciduous plants;
- the second theory involves the production of propolis in the processing of pollen by bees;
- the third theory did not find many followers, and existed as an assumption that propolis is made by processing bees not with pollen, but with other plant products.
German scientists adhered to the theory that bees collect and bring resin for propolis in the same way as pollen, but unload it in a different way.
There is still no consensus on the origin of propolis. The theory linking the manufacture of this substance with the collection of resin secreted on the bark and buds of plants was rejected. This decision is due to the fact that the bees produce propolis annually, and the resin on the kidneys and cortex remains for a short period.
But later, a number of experts proved that propolis cannot form from pollen. Studies have also been conducted that have shown that it contains birch, aspen and poplar elements. Thus, there was evidence that propolis was created on the basis of plant components.
You can learn more about the rules, features and conditions of self-collection of propolis by watching this video:
Propolis does not have a single composition. It depends on:
- what plants were used to collect resources;
- In what condition were the bees at the time of collection;
- what time of year the substance was produced.
For a long period, it was believed that propolis was characterized by a variable formula. But later it was found 16 classes of organic substances contained in this product. The composition also includes active biological elements, among which more than 100 variations are known. The most important of them are: polyphenols, alcohols and aldehydes.
In a percentage ratio, propolis includes:
- resins and pollen balm (50-60%);
- wax added by bees (30%);
- various variants of plant substances with individual properties (10%).
Despite the fact that propolis is not made from pollen, the content of this component in it reaches almost 5%.
Components in the first two categories are present in any propolis. They are responsible for the viscous consistency of the product, due to which it was called "bee glue". The components in the latter category are the least studied. Scientists are still discovering new substances in propolis that were not previously known. Many of them are natural antibiotics.
Bee glue has strong antibacterial properties, the effect of which is ensured by the acids present in it:
- ferulic (reduced bacterial growth);
- benzoic (inhibition of the development of pathogenic microbes);
- other phenolic acids, which have an astringent, choleretic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect.
Most of the antibacterial properties of bee glue is provided thanks to essential oils. Pinocembrin is responsible for antifungal function. Similar possibilities are possessed by coffee ester.
In propolis there is almost the entire volume of chemical elements needed by man. There is a high percentage of calcium. The product includes vitamins: B1, B2, B6, C, E, H, P. It has one of the highest flavonoid values. Like other products made by bees, propolis contains enzymes. These elements enter the substance in two ways: they are formed from the secretion of the bee glands, then they are added to the resin and supplied with trees from which the resource was collected.
The amount of amino acids in propolis varies from 8 to 17. Propolis, which contains large amounts of sugar, fatty acids and oils, is considered more useful for treatment.
For medicine, the most important properties of propolis, allowing you to destroy harmful bacteria. This substance effectively fights against microorganisms that are harmful to human health. Propolis helps with treatment:
- tubercle bacillus;
- influenza virus;
- herpes virus;
- fungal diseases;
- hepatitis A.
Propolis destroys and removes harmful bacteria from the body, but at the same time does not adversely affect the human microflora. Propolis is one of the few substances with antibiotic properties that do not cause dysbiosis.
Among the useful functions of propolis are:
- disinfection from bacteria, viruses and fungi in the treatment of chronic diseases;
- stabilization of vascular walls and capillaries, which improves blood circulation;
- eliminating inflammation, reducing edema, reducing the permeability of the walls of blood vessels, and pain in places that were infected by the infection;
- supplying the body with nutrients and vitamins;
- pain relief;
- supply of vitamins providing an antioxidant effect;
- strengthening immunity;
- improving metabolism in the body;
- prevention and treatment of tumors.
Propolis can also be used in the absence of health problems for the purpose of prevention. It prevents the occurrence of viral infections in humans. The advantage of propolis over other drugs is that microorganisms do not develop resistance to it with prolonged use. This feature is associated with the chemical composition of the substance with the content of elements of various plants, each of which has its own protective qualities.
If propolis is used in conjunction with antibiotics, it enhances their capabilities.
Scope of application
Propolis is effective in:
- stomach ulcer - taking oils and alcohol tinctures enhances the effect of other drugs, relieves inflammation, reduces pain, speeds up healing;
- Helicobacter - the use of water and alcohol tinctures based on propolis helps to destroy bacteria that provoke the development of gastrointestinal diseases;
- gastritis - the use of pure propolis, or as tinctures, helps reduce the manifestation of the symptoms of the disease;
- nail fungus - the use of infusions in an external way eliminates itching and inflammation, inhibits the development of the fungus, so that a sick nail is gradually replaced by a healthy one;
- pancreatitis - the combined use of alcohol tincture with medicines helps to improve the digestive tract, and relieve inflammation of the pancreas;
- hemorrhoids - suppositories, ointments and microclysters, which include propolis, help eliminate the disease;
- sinusitis - tinctures, drops and inhalations with propolis treat the disease due to the antibiotic effect;
- gastroduodenitis - the use of tincture eliminates inflammation, prevents the development of irritation, providing healing;
- liver diseases - accelerates cell recovery without harming the body (treatment is carried out only in conjunction with other medicines);
- gum disease - chewing and applying pure propolis eliminates bleeding, unpleasant odor, inflammation, harmful bacteria;
- bronchitis - the use of tinctures, inhalations and chewing of pure propolis relieves inflammation of the respiratory system, alleviates the symptoms of the disease, accelerates treatment;
- prostatitis - the use of suppositories, which contain propolis, helps to eliminate the disease;
- endometriosis - the use of tinctures and special suppositories is recommended.
- intestinal diseases - propolis relieves inflammation, restores damaged tissues, speeds up treatment when used together with other medicines;
- sore throat - alcohol tincture or rinse with propolis relieves irritation in the throat, increases immunity;
- acne - the use of special plates dipped in propolis tincture to the affected area, or the use of ointments reduces the manifestation of symptoms.
When treating with propolis, its use is recommended exclusively with other drugs. Take the substance separately only for preventive purposes.
How to use propolis?
Propolis is widely distributed both in folk medicine and in official medicine. In the pharmacy you can buy a number of drugs, which include propolis. Despite this, it is believed that folk remedies are more effective for treatment.
Propolis is contained in 11 medicines available for purchase in pharmacies:
- Propolis (alcohol solution) with 20% active ingredient for disinfection of the oral cavity, treatment of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.
- Proposol is an aerosol for the treatment of various diseases of the oral cavity.
- Antisclerotic apicremé is an ointment intended for the treatment and prevention of vascular diseases, atherosclerosis, osteochondrosis.
- Chilidonia is a cream for the treatment of skin diseases and injuries (including burns and frostbite).
- Rhino-Factor is a drug for the treatment of mucous membranes, the elimination of pain and strengthening the walls of blood vessels.
- Propolis (ointment) is a drug for external use in order to eliminate inflammation and treat skin diseases (including chronic ones).
Despite the absence of toxic effects on the body, the listed drugs should be used strictly on the recommendation of doctors.
Homemade propolis treatment recipes
Propolis in its purest form is considered the most useful. This method of use involves chewing the product. If you just swallow it, the effect is much lower. For treatment, chew or dissolve propolis for a quarter of an hour. A similar method of application helps treat infections of the oral cavity, colds.
Propolis is swallowed in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases, accompanied by inflammatory processes. In this case, the substance is taken three times a day. The product volume for one dose is 5 grams.
In the presence of rheumatic pains, pure unprepared propolis can be applied to a sore spot.
For preventive purposes, propolis is mixed with honey in a ratio of 1 to 4, and is taken once a day before bedtime. The volume of one dose is 1 teaspoon. This procedure strengthens the immune system, therefore it is recommended in the autumn and spring season.
As an analogue for treating diseases of the oral cavity, rinses can be performed. For this, propolis is diluted with water in a ratio of 1 to 10, and slightly warmed up. The resulting substance poses no risk if it is accidentally swallowed.
Propolis alcohol tincture can be used both internally and externally. It removes toxins, relieves inflammation, and strengthens overall health. The medicine is prepared according to the following scheme:
- in a glass container mixed 1 liter of 95 percent alcohol and 200 grams of crushed propolis;
- the substance is placed in a dark and warm place;
- tincture can be used after two weeks.
With external exposure, the substance treats skin diseases and festering wounds. Internal use is recommended in the treatment of colds. 1 teaspoon of tincture is diluted with 3-4 tablespoons of water, and taken 1 hour before meals.
Propolis inhalation helps treat tonsillitis, runny nose, flu, bronchitis, and other colds. To prepare inhalation you will need:
- mix in a container with enamel coating 300 milliliters of water, 50 grams of propolis, 40 grams of wax;
- put the mixture in a water bath;
- breathe vapor from the substance for no longer than a quarter of an hour.
To obtain the effect, the duration of the course of treatment is 10 days. This method also improves the condition of tuberculosis.
The advantage of propolis is that after boiling for an hour it retains useful elements.
Propolis ointment is used exclusively externally. To prepare this medicine, the following recipe is used:
- 70 grams of petroleum jelly, 20 grams of lanolin, and 15 grams of propolis are placed in a container with an enameled surface;
- the container is dipped in water with boiling water, where a steam bath is arranged for it for 10 minutes;
- the mixture is filtered using two-layer gauze, after which it is left to solidify.
The ointment is applied to the affected areas with skin and mucous membrane diseases, heals wounds and cuts, reduces pain and accelerates recovery from burns and frostbite.
Contraindications and side effects
Propolis is not addictive, but prolonged use negatively affects the immune system. The maximum period of treatment with propolis should not exceed 1 month.
The use of propolis is not recommended if:
- there is an increased sensitivity to products made by bees;
- hay fever appears periodically;
- a person is sick with acute eczema.
Propolis tincture is contraindicated for the treatment of people under the age of majority. Even if water and honey propolis do not cause consequences, the use of alcohol tinctures can cause allergies.
Propolis is undesirable to take in its pure form. For this reason, after chewing for 10-15 minutes, the substance spits out. This condition is especially relevant for people at risk of blood clots and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.
When storing propolis, a number of conditions should be observed:
- temperature is not higher than +25 degrees Celsius;
- lack of light and dampness;
- periodic airing;
- lack of seasonings and household chemicals near.
To preserve the product, it must be in minimal contact with the outside world. When using propolis, paper or cling film is used. Do not store the substance for a long time in cold conditions. For this reason, the refrigerator is not suitable for placing this product.
Subject to the conditions, propolis retains its medicinal properties for ten years. The storage requirements for propolis-based tinctures are the same. Water tincture retains properties for no more than ten days, and alcohol - for about five years.
Propolis is one of the safest and most useful products used to treat most diseases. But unlike honey, when used and stored incorrectly, it loses its healing properties. Therefore, before using propolis-based drugs, you should carefully study the rules for their preparation.