Derived from natural flavonoids of plant life. Bees combine tree sap with beeswax and enzymes to create Propolis. Bees choose to harvest this plant resin, despite it not being a food source, and use it as a building material to prevent bacterial, viral and parasitic infections from spreading inside the hive.
Nature, quite simply, is amazing – especially when it comes to how nature survives and protects itself. It all starts with trees and plants – when there’s a breach in the outer cells of a tree or plant, the tree quickly reacts to cover the wound (similar to the way our bodies produce a scab when our skin is damaged to defend themselves from viruses, bacteria, fungus to insects). The tree has evolved to further defend itself from the tiny microbes that find their way through, so it also produces a resin to combat them before they can cause an infection. Something similar occurs in humans and we call it our immune system.
The resin produced by trees is seen as so valuable that the bees painstakingly collect it directly from the bark of conifer trees (ones which do not shed their leaves) and from the buds of emerging leaves to create the Propolis that we use today. Worker bees take the Propolis and store it in their pollen baskets located on their hind legs. When they bring the sticky resin to the hive, mason bees take it and immediately start to work. The plant resin is then mixed with wax and other natural substances to make it more malleable.
Natural flavonoids like sap and resin are produced by infected and UV-damaged plants to aid in the regeneration process. Bees are smart; they use those flavonoids to create Propolis to strengthen their hives. Bees use Propolis to fill any cracks, holes or gaps in the hive structure to prevent intruders from entering the hive. They also place Propolis at the entrance to the hive, using it to disinfect the base of their legs. You could say that this works like a doormat – any bees which enter the hive will brush over the Propolis so they do not bring infections into the hive.
Interestingly, Honey bees also appear to increase the collection of resin to create Propolis when there is more disease present in the colony, in order to self-medicate. This helps us to tap into the defence system produced by the bees.
Thanks to the ingenuity of the bees, Propolis is known as ‘nature’s best defence’. We mimic the clever bees by collecting Propolis from our hives and using it as a key ingredient in many of our natural health products. The use of Propolis dates back to the Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans who all used Propolis in a variety of ways, including for health and healing purposes.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the natural defence provided by this wonderful substance, here are some things to look out for:
Always ensure that you choose Propolis with Flavonoids – Flavonoids (sometimes called bioflavonoids) are the biggest grouping within polyphenols; they are the compounds made by plants that create the beautiful colours of trees and flowers. Flavonoids are part of every plant’s “immune system”, protecting them from fungal infections and UV radiation. Flavonoids are the active ingredient in Propolis that provide you with the goodness.
Always choose standardised activity – There are products on the market that measure pure Propolis, raw Propolis or Propolis extract, but neither of them tells you the activity inside the products. People can use Propolis with higher amounts of flavonoid levels, which contain a range of phenolics known for their antioxidant properties, to provide extra defence against problems that affect cellular and immune support.
Here at Comvita, we measure our Propolis for the PFL content (the Propolis Flavonoid Level ) so we can guarantee the levels of all of our Propolis in each dose. a PFL® (Phenolic Flavonoid Level) rating that determines the flavonoid content, meaning that PFL® 15 contains a concentration of at least 15mg of Propolis flavonoids and 30 PFL® contains at least 30mg. PFL® is the only standardized propolis on the market, ensuring quality and efficiency.
Ensure that you choose the right format - With such a wide range of uses, Propolis products can be shaped towards offering support for different areas of the body. For example, common uses of Propolis include oral hygiene for fresh breath and healthy gums as well as immune support for stronger bodies. It also comes in Propolis extracts, mouth freshening oral sprays, capsules and tablets – so there is much to choose from!
Take advantage of one of nature’s most effective defence systems. Now you can enjoy the benefits of natural intelligence with Comvita’s pure & powerful Propolis. Please take a look at our range for more information on each individual product.
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