Propolis extract is a complex chemical that is processed by honeybees from resin they collect from trees and plants. The bees use this plant extract to seal their hives and protect it from infection. Humans use it as a natural or homeopathic treatment for a variety of medical situations.
The word propolis, which means "defender of the city" in Greek, may have been created by the philosopher Aristotle, who determined that the bees used it for protecting their hives. It is the use of propolis that makes the beehive a very sterile environment. If something invades the hive, the bees kill it. If it cannot be removed, they cover the dead invader with the resin which seals it and prevents decomposition and contamination of the hive.
The chemical makeup of propolis consists of proteins, amino acids, vitamins, trace minerals, and flavonoids. This makes propolis extract a natural immune support and infection fighter. The trace minerals include zinc, copper, iron, and manganese. It is a rich source of bioflavinoids.
The healing properties of propolis have been claimed by many people for centuries and has been used by many cultures around the world as an herbal remedy to heal wounds. It was used by the ancient Egyptians in the mummification process because it kept the corpse free from infection and fungus and prevented decomposition. In recent years, there have been scientific and pharmacological studies documenting, among others, the antiseptic, antioxidant, antifungal, and antiviral properties of propolis.
It is used as an herbal remedy to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, joint problems, and healing wounds. It may be helpful in reducing strokes, controlling free radicals, and in treating acne, psoriasis and eczema. Propolis extract may help prevent damage caused by lead, mercury, and caladium, and aid in the absorption of certain nutrients.
Propolis extract is most commonly dark brown; however, the color varies from red to green to brown, depending on what botanical source and part of the world it comes from. It can be found in homeopathic remedies as a tincture in alcohol, as a liquid without alcohol, in tables, and in capsules. It is found as an ingredient in herbal toothpaste and mouthwash.
The only known allergic side effects of propolis are some cases of allergic reaction to bee products. Propolis extract is available at most health food stores and from various sites on the Internet that sell herbal remedies, plant extracts, and homeopathic remedies. It is always a good idea to consult with an expert before using any homeopathic remedy or herbal supplement.