Tag Archives: Propolis

Propolis

 

Defenition:
Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 millimeters (0.2 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature (20° Celsius). At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.
Clic k to see the picture
Propolis is a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of some trees and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers. The bees gather propolis, sometimes called bee glue, and carry it home in their  pollen baskets.  They blend it with wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomens. Propolis is used to slickly line the interior of brood cells in preparation for the queen’s laying of eggs, a most important procedure.  With its antiseptic properties, this propolis lining insures a hospital-clean environment for the rearing of brood.

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Purpose:-
For centuries, beekeepers assumed   that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Click to see the picture

Propolis is now believed to :

1.reinforce the structural stability of the hive
2.reduce vibration
3.make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances
4.prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit bacterial growth
5.prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, found its way into the hive and died there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.
Click to see the picture
Constituents:
Chemically speaking, propolis is a very complex mixture. Its chemical elements vary according to its source.  Colors range from golden brown to brownish green to reddish brown to blackish brown.  A broad analysis reveals approximately 55 percent resinous compounds and balsam, 30 percent beeswax, 10 percent ethereal and aromatic oils, and 5 percent bee pollen.  Many flavonols contribute to propolis.  Other components include cinnamic acid, cinnamyl alcohol, vanillin, caffeic acid, tetochrysin, isalpinin, pinocembrin, chrysin, galangin, and ferulic acid.

The composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, from district to district, and from season to season. Normally it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). Poplar resin is rich in flavonoids. “Typical” northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in addition to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators. Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones. In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs,[8] and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis,  and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented. An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties. Also, Brazilian red propolis (largely derived from Dalbergia ecastaphyllum plant resin) has high relative percentages of the isoflavonoids 3-Hydroxy-8,9-dimethoxypterocarpan and medicarpin.

Occasionally worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive; therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive’s propolis may be absent from another’s, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Properties :   Propolis is another medicinal marvel from the beehive.  Research shows it offers antiseptic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiviral properties.  Propolis is Nature‘s premiere preventive.  It is so powerful in action, it is often called Russian penicillin in acknowledgement of the extensive research the Russians have mounted on this wonder worker from the bees.  Propolis demonstrates strong antimicrobial properties against various bacterial and fungal infestations.  Even streptococcus bacteria have been shown sensitive to propolis.

Medicinal Uses:
Nature’s Preventive Medicine : Propolis has been justly called Nature’s premier preventive.  The immune system is supported and strengthened by the ingestion of propolis.  Modern scientific studies indicate that those who take propolis regularly escape winter colds and sore throats and seem to develop a natural immunity to common viruses, including the various strains of flu.

Chemical antibiotics
destroy all bacteria in the body, both the friendly, (necessary flora required for healthy functioning in the entire gastrointestinal tract) and the bad intestinal flora.  An individual who constantly takes prescribed antibiotics for one condition after another soon learns to his sorrow that the drugs may no longer work as well as they once did.  As invading bacteria get “smarter,” the drugs become less and less effective.

Propolis, the natural antibiotic, works against harmful bacteria without destroying the friendly bacteria the body needs.  Propolis has also been proven effective against strains of bacteria that resist chemical antibiotics.

The field of influence of propolis is extremely broad.  It includes cancer, infection of the urinary tract, swelling of the throat, gout, open wounds, sinus congestion, colds, influenza, bronchitis, gastritis, diseases of the ears, periodontal disease, intestinal infections, ulcers, eczema eruptions, pneumonia, arthritis, lung disease, stomach virus, headaches, Parkinson’s disease, bile infections, sclerosis, circulation deficiencies, warts, conjunctivitis, and hoarseness.

Propolis helps regulate hormones and is an antibiotic substance that stimulates the natural resistance of the body.  Propolis may be used by everyone, sick or healthy, as a means of protection against microorganisms.  Propolis is also efficient against conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, or different fungi.  Propolis cures many diseases because it is a special natural substance with strong effect.
You may use it as part of your daily program of supplementation.  It has helped the bee society survive and thrive for over 45 million years.  It may well help you survive … for a long time!

Other Uses:

In musical instruments
Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used  by Antonio Stradivari.

In food

Propolis is used by some chewing gum manufacturers to make Propolis Gum.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis
http://www.draperbee.com/info/propolis.htm

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Propolis From Bees Could Aid Mouth Ulcers

The healing properties of propolis – a mixture of resin and wax made by honey bees to seal and sterilise their hives – have been known for many years. But its use in medicine and food supplements has been limited because the sticky substance is not water soluble and has a strong, off-putting smell.

Now researchers at the University of Bradford’s Centre for Pharmaceutical Engineering Science have developed a way of purifying propolis that retains its medicinal properties, but makes it dissolve in water and eliminates its pungent smell. The technique has already led to the development of a new mouth ulcer gel and opens the door to a huge range of other pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications for the substance.

Propolis is a complex chemical mix and a very useful natural product,” explains Centre Director, Professor Anant Paradkar, who led the research. “Propolis has been shown to be anti-microbial, anti-fungal, a strong anti-oxidant, non-allergenic and can boost the immune system. It also promotes wound healing and has anaesthetic properties.

“There is a substantial market for propolis-based products – particularly in China, the USA and South Asia. The main stumbling block in developing products has been the solubility and odour issues, which our formulation overcomes.”

Professor Paradkar’s team has been developing the new technique to purify propolis in collaboration with natural medicine manufacturer, Nature’s Laboratory. The researchers have helped the company develop a new propolis-based mouth ulcer gel, which has better anaesthetic, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties than gels already on the market and is safe for use in children.

“A problem for mouth gels is that adhesion to the skin membrane inside the mouth is difficult – because of the nature of the surface, the gel can simply slide off,” says Professor Paradkar. “As propolis retains some of its stickiness even in a water soluble formulation, when it is applied to specific areas in the mouth, it adheres more effectively.”

The Centre has gained funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Nature’s Laboratory, to further develop the purification system for use at a larger scale and support the creation of new propolis-based products. The aim is, through the KTP, that the company will be able to set up a purification process to increase its own manufacturing capacity.

Source Elements4Health

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Hair-Raising Tale

Scientists have discovered that activating a gene can trigger hair growth.
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This must be music to the ears of the millions of men and women who fret day in and day out about hair loss. The findings of a team of researchers from Sweden’s Umeå University that appeared recently in the journal PLoS Genetics offers a strand of hope for balding people in the not-so-distant future. The team found that activating a gene called Lhx2 can lead to increased hair growth.

“I think that our study can have practical implications in the future since we know a way of inducing hair growth,” Leif Carlsson, the Umeå molecular medicine scientist who led the study,  .

Hair is formed in hair follicles — complex mini organs in the skin that specialise in the task of hair formation. The follicles normally form when the child is in the mother’s womb. To ensure the continuous generation of hair, each hair follicle goes through three cyclical phases: recession, rest and growth. The length of the growth phase determines the length of the hair. For instance, the growth phase for scalp hair lasts for a number of years, while that for eyebrows lasts for only a few months.

Hair formation ceases after the growth phase. This is the recession phase when the rate of growth of hair reduces, finally entering a period of rest. After the rest period, a new growth period begins and the old hair is ejected from the body and lost. The reason for this complex system has still not been understood, but it has also been seen that hair growth adjusts itself to seasons.

In the present study, Carlsson’s team found that protein expressed by the gene Lhx2 plays an important role in regulating hair formation. The Lhx2 gene is active only during the growth phase and is turned off during the rest period. The studies, conducted on mice, showed that when the Lhx2 gene was switched off, the hair follicles could not produce hair. They also demonstrated that once the gene was switched on, the growth phase was activated and this, in turn, triggered the formation of hair.

Another significant, and perhaps more useful, finding from the studies was that the expression of the Lhx2 gene can be manipulated even after birth, and that it is sufficient to activate the growth phase and stimulate hair growth.

To be sure, this is not the first time that scientists have busted the myth that hair follicles can be formed only during the development of an embryo. Scientists led by dermatologist George Cotsarelis, at the Pennsylvania University School of Medicine in the US, had put to rest that half-a-century-old belief by making mice, with deep cuts in the their skin, grow hair. Their study, which was reported in the journal Nature in 2007, showed that new hair follicles are formed in a mouse when it is wounded deep enough (nearly five millimetres).

But, importantly, the new follicles were slightly different from the ones that develop during the embryo stage. In embryos, follicles are produced by skin stem cells, which had very little to do with follicular development in the wounded mouse. Instead, the epidermal cells — that give rise to the outermost layer of the skin — were reprogrammed to make hair follicles. The instructions for this, they found, came from a class of proteins called “wnts”. The wnts proteins are known to play a role in hair follicle development in an embryo.

Regarding the latest study Carlsson said, “We have to find clinically acceptable ways to turn this gene on. But finding such drugs may take many years. Our next goal is to systematically screen for compounds that will do this trick.”

That trick will be a blessing for the estimated half the world population which experiences hair thinning by the age of 50.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Bee Propolis

Honey bee on Geraldton Wax Flower, NSW, AustraliaImage via Wikipedia

Other name: Propolis
Definition:
Propolis is a resinous mixture that bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6.35 millimeters (0.3 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature. At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Propolis is a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of some trees and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers. The bees gather propolis, sometimes called bee glue, and carry it home in their  pollen baskets.  They blend it with wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomens. Propolis is used to slickly line the interior of brood cells in preparation for the queen’s laying of eggs, a most important procedure.  With its antiseptic properties, this propolis lining insures a hospital-clean environment for the rearing of brood.

For centuries, beekeepers assumed that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Propolis as hive sealing Propolis is now believed to do the following:

1.To reinforce the structural stability of the hive.

2.To reduce vibration

3.To make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances

4.To prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive

5.To prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, found its way into the hive and died there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.

Composition
The composition of propolis will vary from hive to hive, district to district, and from season to season. Normally it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, and will gather what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that propolis chemical composition varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). Poplar resin is rich in flavanoids. “Typical” northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in additional to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators. Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones. In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs, and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis, and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented[8]. An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties[9]. Occasionally worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive, therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive’s propolis may be absent from another’s, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Side Effects
Propolis shouldn’t be applied to the eye area. Repeated use of propolis may make people more prone to developing allergies.

Other uses
Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis
http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsa1/a/Bee_propolis.htm

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