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Propolis: properties, benefits and uses to fight against winter ailments

Hello, I am Ombline, naturopath. Naturopathy is "the art of staying in good health", of being an actor in your health and of taking care of yourself by natural means.
I will tell you in this article about one of the treasures of the hive, particularly beneficial during winter ailments: propolis.

What is propolis?

Propolis is a substance made from resin collected by bees from trees and mixed with their saliva, as well as wax. This is then brought back to the hive to consolidate it, seal it in the event of cracks, and strengthen its seal. It is also antiseptic: within the hive, it effectively fights against microbes and fungi. It is in a way the rampart of the hive, hence its Greek name pro (in front), polis (city). Without this substance, the hive, which is a hot, humid and closed place, would be a real breeding ground where bacteria and fungi would chirp!
Propolis has been used for centuries by our civilizations. During the days of Ancient Egypt, it was used for embalming bodies. This is a perfect replica of another use that the bee makes of them: they coat the small insects that enter the beehive and kill them with propolis. This prevents the decomposition of the insect associated with the appearance of fungi that would endanger the whole community.

It was then used in ancient times to treat respiratory infections.

The Greeks and Romans used it in abundance to cleanse, heal and calm the pains of fighting.

In the Middle Ages, it was known to treat wounds caused by arrow fire.

It was in the 16th century that Ambroise Paré cited propolis in a text. This then develops and is used more and more.

The years go by and the propolis which was appreciated, is partly forgotten and is replaced mainly by synthetic drugs.

Yet many scientific studies have been carried out on this substance with immense potential. Its virtues are also often presented as superior to those of honey.

Today, it is widely used in Eastern Europe and Japan.

How is it harvested by the beekeeper?

The beekeeper places grids with lots of small holes above the frames. The bees will tend to butcher them, and after a few weeks he will be able to harvest it. He will put it in the cold to harden it and remove it from the frames.
Propolis becomes very soft, sticky and more complicated to use above 30 ° C. Protect it from extreme heat.

Are there different types of propolis?

In Europe, the most common propolis is that of poplar. There is also propolis from birch, oak, conifers… Its appearance is brown-black.
You can also find green propolis, mostly from the Amazonian forests of southern Brazil. The bees harvest the resin from the buds of a plant called Baccharis Dracunculifolia. Studies conducted by Brazilian researchers in apitherapy have also revealed its effectiveness in treating chronic inflammation.
Red propolis, native to the northeast of Brazil or Cuba, is collected by bees on a species of patiluvier. It is the rarest of the three propolis. It is known for its anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial actions.

What is the composition of propolis?

A quality propolis is very rich in flavonoids with antibacterial and antiviral properties. These powerful antioxidants help fight free radicals that cause many diseases. They also promote the absorption of vitamin C.
It is also rich in essential fatty acids: lipids that the body does not know how to manufacture, so they must be supplied through food.
It also contains vitamins of group A and B, minerals and trace elements (magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium…).
On the other hand, a quality propolis contains no (or little) wax, no debris (wood, dead insects…), no contaminants (heavy metals, pesticides…).

Which propolis to choose: chewable propolis, mother tincture, spray?

Raw propolis, comes in the form of a chewable paste or a tablet. You chew a little bit for about 30 minutes, before spitting it out. This form is preferred for oral and dental problems such as cavities, canker sores, bad breath, etc.

propolis brute

Propolis mother tincture is a preparation of propolis mixed with alcohol. It is used internally diluted in water for respiratory infections (tonsillitis, bronchitis, influenza ...) as well as externally directly on small injuries, abscesses ... It can also be used as a disinfectant mouthwash by mixing it with water.


You may be surprised by its strong taste. In this case, I advise you to mix the mother tincture of propolis with a spoon of honey or apple juice.

There are also very effective propolis preparations for certain localized infections such as purifying propolis nasal spray to cleanse, calm and protect your nose during winter ailments.
Finally, you can find propolis in the form of sweets, such as our chewing gums. Use them to soften your throat...

Healthy lifestyle and winter ailments

You understand, propolis is an essential element to have in your kit for the winter: it is one of the most powerful natural shields. It is an excellent anti-septic, anti-viral and anti-biotic broad spectrum. At the first cold or sore throat, use it. And even better, take it as a preventive treatment.
In addition, a healthy lifestyle will prevent you from getting sick. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid respiratory infections and support your immune system:
  • Get moving, get outside and breathe! Your body needs oxygen to function well. Breathing exercises can be added.
  • Sport is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. It is also said that muscle is the counterweight to the nerve. If you are stressed, sport is the best solution. Stress itself causes a weakening of our immune system which will leave the door open to disease. It's a vicious circle.
  • Take care of your intestines, which are mainly responsible for our immune system:
- Avoid refined sugars, which support inflammation
- Choose fresh, organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Avoid dairy products as well as gluten if you are already sick. They will speed up the production of mucus and your recovery will be slower.
- Chewing is the essential first step in digestion. Remember that we eat to nourish our body with nutrients (and have fun;)), without chewing these will have a hard time being assimilated.
To support your immune system during this coronavirus period or more generally, consider taking a royal jelly cure.
Take care of yourself !



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