In our last blog post I told you what propolis is, now I’m going to enlighten you to what propolis DOES. (If you didn’t catch Part 1, read it here Borrowing from the BEES The Health Benefits of Propolis
Propolis has been used as a therapeutic agent for centuries. In ancient Egypt and Greece, propolis was used internally and topically for skin care. Hippocrates was known to use it to heal sores and ulcers both internally and externally. During World War II the Soviet army utilized the power of propolis to treat battle wounds!
Natural Antimicrobial Properties
Bees create propolis to protect the hive against pathogens, molds, and bad bacteria. Lucky for us, the hard work has already been done! We can utilize the bees creations to defend our own “cities”!
Propolis has activity against a wide array of microbes, due to the synergy of all its healthful compounds! Luckily, propolis doesn’t exert any of the side effects attributed to synthetic antibiotics, such as the potential to breed resistant strains or affecting your beneficial bacteria. Propolis effects the ability of pathogenic bacteria to reproduce and strengthens your body’s natural defenses!
Balanced Inflammation and Immune Response
Let me first say that contrary to popular belief, inflammation is NOT a bad thing… if it is balanced. Inflammation is a natural response of the body’s immune system to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens or injury.
A few examples:
If a pathogen is infecting the body, the body will attempt to remove it thus creating inflammation which is a sign that the body is healing.
Or, if you fall and bang up your elbow (something that happens to me often I must add), the inflammation and swelling that is triggered is a warning sign that your injured area needs to be protected.
I will stress again… inflammation is essential in the healing process. Any infections, wounds or damage would be impossible to heal without inflammation.
The problem lies when acute inflammation (inflammation resulting directly from a stimulus) turns into chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to a wide variety of ailments ranging from minor to extremely severe. This can happen when the body is unable to balance inflammation cycles due to a wide variety of causes.
The high quantities of bioflavonoids in propolis can help with a balanced inflammatory response. The antimicrobial qualities also help by fighting infections that may be triggering inflammatory responses.
These compounds also help to support a balanced (not over-active) immune response!
Propolis has the highest antioxidant activity of any bee product due to its high levels of polyphenols, especially a component of propolis called caffein acid phenethyl ester (CAPE). Unchecked free radicals and oxidative stress are a MAJOR threat to optimum wellness.
And Much Much More
No really… propolis has been attributed to a whole slew of health benefits! Give thanks to the bees! In case you are wondering where to get your hands on this awesome substance (of course you are!) check out the 3rd and final section of this blog series.