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What is this mysterious substance that bees manufacture? Actually it is a type of glue that bees make from resins of certain trees such as poplar, birch and horse chestnut. They gather the resins, mix it with a nectar they secrete, and take it back to the hive, where propolis is used to sterilize the hive and seal it from invaders. Bees are almost impervious to viruses and bacteria – perhaps it is the propolis which defends them so well – even though they often do their work in a very polluted environment. Any bee that enters the hive brushes up against the propolis and is decontaminated, protecting the inhabitants from infection and disease. Everything inside and outside the hive, including the interior cells where the Queen lays her eggs, is covered with a thin coating of propolis. Propolis has also captured the attention of people who want to enhance their health through nutrient-dense foods. Propolis fits that category because it contains many trace minerals – magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium – as well as beta carotene, bioflavonoids, vitamins B1 and B2. The Bioflavonoid factor Propolis is a concentrated source of bioflavonoids, containing more bioflavonoids than oranges. Much of the “propolis power” may be due to the bioflavonoid factor. Bioflavonoids strengthen capillary walls and connective tissue, enhance absorption of vitamin C, and play a supportive role in reducing respiratory infections, bleeding gums, varicose veins and many other more serious diseases. Antiviral, Antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal It has been called the “Russian Penicillin” due to the research Russian scientists have done on this substance. When Russian researchers experimented on a group of rabbits they found that propolis-treated rabbits were protected from diseased cells much more than those who had an antitoxin administered without propolis. “Our present work studies the effects of propolis on the immunologic rates by simultaneous administration with antitoxin. The experimental animals given antitoxin with propolis were protected from death to a greater extent than was the control group given antitoxin alone. The data we obtained demonstrate that the immunization of animals with propolis-antitoxin stimulates the specific and nonspecific factors... We showed conclusively that the propolis- antitoxin protected the animals to a greater extent than the antitoxin alone.” (Kivalkina, et al.) Propolis’ immune stimulating properties are well-known by those taking it regularly. They report fewer colds, flu, in- fections and greater stamina and energy. “As a supplement, it is an excellent aid against bacterial infections. A Soviet scientist stated that bee propolis stimulates phagocytosis, which helps the white blood cells destroy bacteria.” (Blach, et al.) The antibacterial and antifungal properties of propolis may be due to the presence of galangin, caffeic acid and ferulic acid. Minor cuts and scrapes have been treated with propolis. It has also been used to speed healing of sore throats, and a variety of skin irritations.