Propolis is just that sticky stuff found in bee hives or is it?

A honey bee and a sealing seam of propolis

For centuries, hobbyist beekeepers assumed that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts.

However, more recent research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Propolis is now believed to: reinforce the structural stability of the hive; reduce vibration; make the hive more defensible by sealing alternative entrances; prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth;prevent putrefaction within the hive. We know that bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive, however, if a small mouse for example, finds its way into the hive and dies there possibly after being stung to death, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the remains in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odourless and harmless.

Propolis is nowadays widely available in a health supplement form also as an ingredient in certain medicinal products applied directly to the skin, such as ointments and creams.  In addition, propolis is sometimes found in nasal sprays and throat sprays, as well as in mouthwash and toothpaste. In fact the uses of propolis is almost proportional to the knowledge found from  the main seventeen currently ongoing scientific researches into this bee product, with more and more uses being found for propolis derivatives.

It would appear that the source of the propolis is the key to healing abilities of the propolis. This is due varied factors such as geography and natural flora that is available for the bees to create propolis from. Our U.K. propolis has its uses in skin preparations etc  but maybe it is not as exotic as some that come from the tropics where  propolis is being used as a cancer fighter !

This statement is born out by scientific research into equatorial Brazilian propolis, here can be found ‘brown , green and red’ propoli. It has been found that each has extensive cancer fighting abilities.

‘Brown’ propolis, contains high levels of ‘CAPE’ or caffeic acid phenethyl ester, which thwarts many kinds of cancer. CAPE  together with ARC is an amazing product found in ‘brown’ and ‘green’ propolis and has shown to defeat many tumours. Brown contains diterpene 3 a novel compound that has fifteen times the cancer-fighting activity of other similar pharmaceutically produced chemicals.

‘Green’ propolis, contains the aforementioned potent cancer inhibiter called artepillin-C(ARC) that fights a cancer promoting enzyme known as PAK-1 which is linked with many deadly diseases, such as recurrent colorectal cancer; neurofibromatosis ( a severe brain tumour disease); cancers with solid tumours; brain tumours (gliobastoma); breast cancer; lung cancer; pancreatic cancer; acute myeloid leukaemia.  When PAK 1  works overtime it helps cancer cells invade and spread, in fact 70% of cancers depend on PAK 1 for survival. Pharmaceutical companies have searched in vain for a drug to control PAK 1 but have ignored the fact that a simple bee product, namely propolis , is the only effective therapeutic available on the market so far.

Now we move to ‘Red’ propolis’ , the ‘crème de la crème ‘ of propolis. Brazilian ‘red’ propolis is the rarest in the world. It is found only in a very small area. Although there is an availability of other propoli from adjacent areas as mentioned above, they do not have the exceptional curative properties that the ‘red’ does. It has unmatched antioxidant and isolavine profiles and these give it unequalled disease-fighting powers and is proving its worth as a cancer curative. Research has shown it to be the greatest cancer fighter of the future.

Not only is Brazilian propolis a cancer fighter it is known to greatly empower your immune system and help defeat, influenza; inflammation; imflammatory diseases; gingivitis; candida; herpes; resistant enterococci bacteria.

This simple natural ‘bee glue’ brings hundreds of health benefits for we humans. SO, instead of moaning about its presence when we do hive inspections of our hives and we find everything stuck together with propolis and messed up bee suits, let’s think how it is saving lives around the world.

This gungy ‘stick-all’ that many beekeepers moan about is now becoming a valuable asset that beekeepers could be earning revenue from.

If you have large amounts of propolis, and can get your hive parts into a freezer, you will find propolis becomes brittle as it freezes and it simply knocks off – put any salvaged into a container as there are U.K. companies that will buy it if it is in reasonable quantities. Of course if we have a period of freezing weather then you won’t need a freezer to harvest your propolis, put your equipment into bin liners and knock the propolis off into the bin liner and then tip it out into your container. Use the liner then to store your gear in keeping it clean until required.

To answer the title question, “Propolis is just that sticky stuff found in bee hives or is it?” The answer is “No it’s not just that sticky stuff!”

Article by Graham Robinson. Editor.