BEE PROPOLIS a NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC
So is bee propolis a natural antibiotic? Here's some research to help you judge for yourself!
Did you know that propolis is used so extensively in Russia that it has been labelled the 'Russian Penicillin'? I certainly didn't, until very recently. But I was aware that knowledge about the antibiotic and healing properties of propolis dates back over 2000 years.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used it as a salve to treat wounds, while during the days of Aristotle propolis was taken internally to relieve ulcers. In his classic 'Natural History', Pliny wrote about the healing powers of propolis.
So what is propolis? It's a resinous substance that bees gather from leaf buds and the bark of trees such as poplars. After adding their own glandular substance, they use it as a kind of cement to seal and tighten the hive to protect it. Any invader that wanders in is encased in the resin, so the bees avoid contamination.
Perhaps this insight seems uninspiring in terms of how it might help our health! Yet propolis has been revealed to be a natural antibiotic for man - and beneficial to the immune system against the onslaught of infectious disorders.
To quote Dr Arnold Pike D.C, Director of the Academy of Nutritional Sciences and member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Task Force on Nutrition:
'Nature has given bees a natural antibacterial substance in the form of the sap-like propolis to keep their hives free of infection. No strain of bacteria has developed immunity to it. Propolis is resistant even to bacteria that are immune to antibiotic drugs.'
And Soviet doctors A.I. Tichonov and D.P. Salvo, in 'The Healing Properties of Propolis' reported on their successful use of propolis in more than 70 different studies over 20 years in Russia. Highlighting the beneficial effects of propolis on the thymus gland, they stated: 'When propolis is taken internally, the rate of metabolism is increased and the resistance of the organism is raised. Propolis, in contrast to antibiotics, intensifies the whole immunological reactive capability of the macro-organism.'
Dr Reny Chauvin, of the Sorbonne in Paris, a European researcher studying propolis, had this final word to say on the subject: 'Scientists have long believed that nature has an answer for every disease. It is just a matter of finding it. Bee propolis boosts your powers of resistance and even immunity against such problems as viral infections, colds, flu, coughs, tonsillitis and cystitis. It works by a unique method, raising your body's natural resistance to infection by stimulating your own immune system.'
As the worlds medical organisations recognise that modern pharmaceuticals are becoming ineffective at combating illness causing viruses and bacteria such as colds and flu, they began to look for alternative treatments and remedies.
One such alternative natural research began in the 1960's in Denmark and France with studies by Dr.Remy Chauvin and Aagard Lund. Lund was the one of the first in the West to recognise the properties of Propolis a resinous compound produced by bees as an immune stimulant, with antibacterial properties. Chemical analysis reveals that it is a complex amalgam of plant resins, beeswax, aromatic oils and bee pollen.
Lund was the first to develop a process for preserving propolis. His process is still used by many producers today to ensure the integrity of propolis's healing and antiviral properties.
Chauvin, who conducts his research at the Sorbonne in Paris, now considered as the world's foremost authority on propolis. He states," Scientists believe that nature has a cure for every disease it's just a matter of finding it." He also points out that propolis bestows a significant amounts of vitamins and minerals when taken internally, while antibiotics do the opposite causing deficiencies in the important nutrients.
We might use this analogy in describing propolis use for colds and flu: If our bodies were a castle and in danger of being invaded by an army of marauders, it would make more sense to reinforce the walls surrounding the castle, rather than setting off a bomb which would indiscriminately destroy the wall and marauders alike.
Studies in Brazil, Australia and Bulgaria have shown that propolis does work in conjunction with synthetic antibiotics by boosting the efficacy of penicillin and other antibiotics by one hundred percent.
So, what are the chemical compounds of this miracle healer? Forty to fifty percent of propolis is made up of resins, which are rich in flavonoids. Flavoniods exist in all blossoming plants, but they have different properties when found in propolis. Experts believe that the enzymes excreted in bee saliva when the bees process propolis produce a chemical change in the flavanoids.
There are many different types of flavanoids, but the most important ones are Pinocembrin and Galanin, which have significant therapeutic properties. They are shown to strengthen the protein shell surrounding cold and flu viruses, which renders the virus and bacteria harmless. It also stimulates interferon which stimulates the immune system.
Flavanoids comprise as much as twenty percent of the biochemical properties of propolis, which might explain why it's such a powerful natural healing agent
Consumer research shows that a high proportion of users, as I do, take propolis on a regular basis to stay well, to maintain a strong immune system to ward off coughs, colds and flu. I always take 2 x 2 gram capsules; double my dose prior to a long haul flight for several days before departure, just to boost my immune system.
Bye the way, propolis is readily available in all good health food stores.
Propolis can cause an allergic reaction in some people (about 1 in 2000). So, if you are allergic to bee stings or honey then take care, and only start with small doses. Some beekeepers develop a rash when attending their hives in summer, but their rashes soon disappear in the winter when there is no hive activity.