Propolis, or bee-glue, is a waxy substance produced from tree resin and sap collected by bees. The word propolis derives from the Greek pro, meaning “in front of”, and polis, meaning “community or city”. Combined with beeswax and salivary secretions, it is used as a cement-like sealant to repair and maintain beehives, and reduce the occurrence of microorganisms inside the hive to protect the bees from infections.Propolis is typically derived from alder, beech, birch, poplar, willow, and pine. Its makeup and color will vary based on the types of trees and flowers in an area, but most commonly it is dark brown. At and above room temperature Propolis is sticky, but it hardens and becomes brittle at lower temperatures. Propolis was used medicinally by ancient cultures, including the Greeks, Assyrians and Egyptians. Traditionally it was used topically to support a healthy inflammatory response.* Bees use propolis to embalm invaders in the hive that they are not able to remove from the hive, and historically humans have used it to embalm mummies.
Modern herbalists have used Propolis to support a variety of health concerns, and it is a common ingredient in natural oral care products and cosmetics.* Studies have supported its topical use, as well as its use as an oral rinse and to support the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory system.* Today it also is used to support healthy immune system functions and soothe mucosal tissues.*
Uses of Propolis
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.