Sunday, May 25, 2014

Propolis for Longevity

Throughout history Bee Propolis has been known to be one of nature’s most unique & exciting substances.

Propolis comes from resins collected from trees and plants by bees. The resin collected is then combined with wax to make bee propolis.

The bees use the sticky propolis to fill crevices and to seal and varnish honeycombs to create a sterile environment, free from microbes and other invaders. It is said that a bee hive is one of the most sanitary and sterile environments on earth.
Propolis consists of a combination of resinous substances with a pleasant aroma. Propolis is processed by worker bees after collection of organic products from at least 20 species of trees that produce resinous secretions, including the buds of alder, ash, beech, birch, chestnut, pine, and poplar trees – and also the young stems, branches, petiole (leafstalks), leaves and bark of the willow and plum tree. The worker bees then add secretions from their salivary gland (containing enzymes), wax and other biochemical compounds. Colour, aroma, and also chemical composition of bee propolis will vary depending on the foliage from where the raw materials were collected.

Skilful beekeepers harvest the propolis on hot days with temperatures above 20 C, by scraping the propolis from the hive walls. From the observations made over how bees collect this product, it was found that they gather it in different colours (white, yellow, red, green, brown), and transport the substance as well as pollen on their rear legs.

Humans have been using bee propolis medicinally, both internally and externally, for centuries. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used bee propolis for wound healing. From the 12th Century, bee propolis was used to aid in healing mouth ulcers and throat infections. In the first and second world war, propolis was used in first aid to reduce wound infection and to speed healing. Modern applications of bee propolis have expanded into skin care, dental care, digestive health, immune support, and cancer treatment. Bee propolis is highly beneficial for human health - combined with other important healthy lifestyle habits.

With research and clinical trials, the medicinal applications and actions of propolis are being discovered and better understood. Bee propolis is rich in nutrients and other constituents, such as flavonoids, which are responsible for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumour actions.

One area of clinical focus is the beneficial immune supporting actions of bee propolis. Propolis supports the immune system by promoting the body’s natural defences and resistance to bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Propolis has been found to stimulate the production and action of macrophages, immune cells involved in the defence against microbial invaders in the development of antibodies. Therefore, boosting the destruction of potentially harmful foreign bacteria and stimulating the formation of antibodies to build immunity to many diseases. This strengthening of cellular defence helps build resistance to aging and illness. Bee propolis has been used throughout history as nature’s wellness formula.

Propolis is equally effective against viral infection. Several journals have documented its ability to fight upper respiratory infections, such as those caused by the common cold and influenza viruses. Propolis has been shown to prevent viruses from reproducing, but it must be used throughout the whole infection period.

Propolis also disrupts the proliferation of bacteria cells by inhibiting cell division and by destroying their cell structure. These actions reduce the life and the spread of bacteria internally and externally. Laboratory studies have investigated propolis’ anti-inflammatory properties. Constituents in bee propolis prevent the production of prostaglandins, pro-inflammatory hormone-like substances which occur naturally in the body. By preventing prostaglandin production, bee propolis helps to reduce inflammation in the body.

Recent studies have explored propolis’ application in cancer treatment. Recent research has documented the ability of propolis to suppress the growth of human tumours from neurofibromatosis and cancer. Bee propolis may also encourage cancer cell death through apoptosis. In other recent research, researchers examined the ability of propolis components to stop tumours from developing their own blood supplies. When blood supply to a tumour is cut off, it can no longer receive nutrients to fuel its growth.

Propolis has proven anti-inflammatory action and has been used to treat arthritis as well as allergies and asthma. It has even been shown to be effective against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), the antibiotic resistant bacterium that has affected many hospitals. People who are allergic to bees should use propolis with caution as an allergic reaction to the substance may occur.

Propolis is available in a wide assortment of products found in pharmacies and health food stores, including capsules, tablets, powders, extracts, ointments, lotions, creams, and other cosmetics. If you are allergic to bee venom (bee stings) then caution should be used when trying bee products. Seek advice from a health practitioner first.

Bees and their products have provided us with food and wellness for centuries. Out of all of the bee products, bee propolis is proving to be one of the most dynamic, beneficial and useful in regards to long term health and well being. Propolis is an exceedingly complex product that contains substances that prevent and treat diseases ranging from cancer to the common cold. As already discussed, its documented immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory actions in the body make propolis effective in also treating acute and chronic conditions. We are indebted to the bees for the magnificent products they provide for our enjoyment, health and survival. It is important to ensure their lives are sustained and protected.

Other Products Of The Hive
Bee Pollen is another bee product used in alternative medicine and sold by some health food stores as a nutritional supplement. Because of the high levels of carbohydrate and protein, people have used it as a source of energy amongst other things. However, none of these claims have yet been substantiated. Protein Supplements
Bee Pollen has also been said to be a treatment for hay fever with some people believing that it will help the body build up resistance to allergies. Once again, this has not yet been proven. In fact there are concerns that it can cause severe reactions in those with pollen allergies.

Royal Jelly is a rich creamy substance made by the worker bees and used in the feeding of the larvae. While the youngsters which are destined to become worker bees receive royal jelly in combination with other food sources, it's believed that when a new queen is needed, it will be fed exclusively on royal jelly. This is believed to trigger the mechanism which causes a young bee to develop into a queen. Skin Care and Skin Treatment
While many health benefits are claimed of royal jelly, very few if any have been substantiated by reliable research. It can't be disputed that this substance is high in nutrients and for that reason it is collected an sold as a dietary supplement. Royal Jelly is also used in a number of beauty products, but again most of the supposed benefits are yet to be proven.

Once again it should be noted that bee products can cause a severe reaction with certain individuals and in extreme but rare cases has apparently been fatal.