Bee Propolis: What is it and why I can’t put it down.
Hitting a wall with antibiotics.
In my healing journey from becoming “tox-sick” with mold, heavy metals, Lyme Disease, EBV, Cytomegalovirus, Bartonella, and multiple other pathogens, viruses, & sensitivities, I have been on a number of different protocols. Being open to just about everything and anything, I was really excited to try something new after antibiotics and I hit a stagnant point. It was actually during a casual conversation with my friend Sarn who owns an apothecary for connoisseur grade adaptogenic herbs & life enhancing essences called Tonic Treasures that I learned of the magic of bees. Sarn is also a brother Lymie, and has managed to heal himself, so I value his wisdom. He was the person to recommend apitherapy, and specifically Brazilian Bee Propolis to help treat my Lyme disease and CIRS (Mold toxicity).
Bee Propolis. Pro-pah-Liss
I pronounce it like Pro-pah-liss, however in the UK it’s pronounced Praup-ah-liss.
Ask any beekeeper and you’ll find that all of them are familiar with the resinous, sticky, bee glue called propolis, that lines the inside of every honeybee hive. You can scrape it away and the bees will just replace it. The bees coat the hive entrance, walls, and even the honeycomb with propolis, sealing any tiny hole, crack or draft up with precision. Besides making the hive sticky and structurally more supportive, propolis serves several crucial functions in the bee hive, and has been been recognized as valuable by humans throughout the ages.
Propolis has been called both ‘bee glue’ and ‘bee penicillin’, for its sterilizing actions. It is strong anti-bacterial, inhibiting the growth of any unwanted microbe, bacteria, or fungus that might thrive in the warm and humid hive environment. The word itself, ‘propolis’ is derived from the Greek ‘pro’ (at the entrance to, in front of ) and polis (city), meaning ‘before the city’ or ‘in defense of the city’ (i.e the bee hive).
Bees also use propolis to block potential pathogens brought in by mice and other hive intruders. These intruders will be killed by the bees, and their carcasses mummified in propolis to prevent their decay from degrading the hive environment. It’s amazing to me that bees are such beautifully communal creatures, each playing a crucial part in the survival of the hive.
Propolis is created from tree resin that bees collect from tree sap. The worker bees collect the resins and take them back to the hive where they mix the collected resins with wax, honey, and enzymes from their stomachs which turn it into the mystical substance that we know as propolis. Different hive’s create different kinds of propolis, just as different hives make the delightfully numerous varieties of honey. The final product is heavily based on the types of tree resins collected from whatever type of trees are indigenous to the hive area.
Because honeybee populations are so confined and live in close contact, illness in one bee can spread quickly to the whole hive. Yet hives stay healthy because the bees manufacture their own antibiotic, that is, propolis, which reduces microbial growth on hive walls. Additionally, propolis protects the hive against uncontrolled airflow and external moisture. The thin layer of propolis provides an impermeable lining which limits the escape of water and maintains constant humidity inside the hive.
Propolis is as old as honey, and it has been used by man for ages. There are records suggesting the use of it by ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. The Egyptians depicted propolis-making bees on vases and other ornaments and used it to alleviate many ailments. The Egyptians learned from the bees, which would use propolis as an embalming substance. The bees cover the carcass of an invader, which was killed but could not be transported out of the hive, with propolis and wax . In this way the bees restrain spread of infection caused by the decomposing carcass.
The ancient Jews considered tzori (the Hebrew word for propolis) as a medicine. Tzori and its therapeutic properties are mentioned throughout the Old Testament. The biblical Balm of Gilead (tzori Gilead in Hebrew) is nearly indistinguishable from propolis. Balm of Gilead is described in the Bible as the gift that the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. In the Persian manuscripts propolis is described as a drug against eczemas, myalgia, and rheumatism. In the Quran there is a long chapter (sorat) with the name of bees which says about honey being healing for man:
Healing properties of propolis
There continues to be a growing interest in research on the activity of propolis, and many of the healing properties that so many civilizations have been using throughout the ages. Personally, I am fascinated at the numerous healing capabilities I continue to study, such as:
What’s in Propolis?
Propolis is composed of over 180 different types of chemicals. This varies with seasons, and where it’s collected regionally, resulting in more than 300 different components. In general, propolis contains polyphenol, flavonoids, terpenes, phenolic acids and esters, phenolic aldehydes and ketones, etc.
The percentage of these substances is as follows: resins and vegetable balsam 50%, Bee wax 30%, pollen 5%, essential and aromatic oils 10%, and some other substances which include organic compounds as well.
Reducing our inflammation
Brazilian propolis, which is what I use, and arguably some of the best according to my sources, has the ability to block the serine/theonine protein kinase known as PAK-1. In short and simpler terms, Brazilian propolis contains beneficial natural compounds like flavanoids, caffeic acid, quercetin, naringenin, and caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) that all help reduce the chronic inflammatory response.
Studies have shown that propolis suppressed the "IL-6-induced phosphorylation of signal transducer and STAT3", an essential cytokine-activated transcription factor in Th17 development. Therefore, action mechanisms of propolis may be instrumental in controlling disturbed cytokine networks in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
To understand why propolis is so great for people like me, I have to continue explaining what my body is doing. With CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome aka mold toxicity or biotoxin illness), and people like myself with the HLA DR halo-type, we are not able to detoxify mycotoxins or biotoxins. This causes an increase in cytokines that cause a cascade of events. First there is a PRO-inflammatory production of cytokines, then to offset that, the body sets off an ANTI-inflammatory production of cytokines. When this happens, the regulatory T cells (T reg cells) produce IL-4, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-13 in an effort to reduce the level of proinflammatory cytokines including Th17. Now the T reg cells and the Th17 are competing, and in CIRS patients the altered regulation of this key developmental checkpoint may be tipping the balance toward inflammation.
So you can see why this is a super win for us. Propolis works to alleviate the cytokine disruption. While I had been primarily on a mission to eradicate the forces of Borrelia Burgdorferi (Lyme), the systemic inflammation from the mycotoxins in mold, and the spriochetes drilling through my tissues was a huge undertaking to calm down. None the less, my decrease in symptoms has been a direct result to the propolis.
Beats up Bartonella
My husband and I also struggle with Bartonella, a co-infection of Lyme Disease, which according to Dr. Klinghardt in Seattle, Washington is now more prevalent than Lyme and in 90% of all cats. Propolis is extremely effective in treating this pathogen otherwise known as “cat scratch fever”.
I was petrified to go off of my antibiotics but I have done amazingly well using the propolis. I am still fighting fatigue and neurological symptoms, but consider each small change a win. I keep focused on the fact that healing is a lifestyle for us. Notably, my nausea is now gone, my pain levels lower, and my energy levels have increased substantially when I am up and going. I have gone extremely slow micro dosing, only because I seem to herx when I change any of my protocols up.
Protects against emf radiation
One of the other pitfalls of becoming so toxic was that I have become sensitive to EMF, (electro-magnetic frequencies). EMF can be found emitting from your microwave, your cell phone, WiFi, and basically within all the essential technological things we use today. Regardless of the fact that we all have these handy devices, they aren’t as safe as originally marketed. Not by a long shot.
My hands get super hot and begin to hurt after holding my phone, or I get headaches, extreme light sensitive, and my wrists pulse from my laptop. My anxiety, pain and fatigue goes up if I am in a city with 5G, it takes me out of commission within a range of 2-12 hours. (It really depends on the vicinity of exposure)
I have been on propolis for 2 months now. I went into Philadelphia about 2 weeks ago and I felt well protected the entire time, in fact, I wondered why I didn’t have any symptoms while I was there, which is awesome. I can’t even stay awake normally, but this time I was energized and had a feeling of vibrancy. It wasn’t until a few days ago in my research that I found out propolis has EMF protectent abilities so it was absolutely for real, and not a placebo. In no way am I saying it’s perfect, because I did crash when I got home, but I feel like it was a shielded effect, and it helped.
I found a study, where the scientists set out to investigate any protective effects of the powerful compound in propolis called caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) and the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the liver of rats exposed to a 900 MHz electromagnetic field (EMF). This would be similar to the EMF you are exposed to each day using your cell phone.
What the scientists found was that in the rats that received the propolis extract, anti-oxidant levels remained elevated (this is very good as anti-oxidants protect us) whereas in the rats that did not receive the propolis, the EMF reduced the anti-oxidant levels.
Ultimately, they concluded that the propolis extract CAPE can possibly prevent the EMF-induced oxidative changes by strengthening the antioxidant defense system and increasing anti-oxidant activity. Is that not amazing?
The bees and I have a pretty tight relationship since I began writing this article. It got a bit emotional understanding just what they are up against. Just like us, they are fighting a new toxic world and doing everything they can to heal and survive. All they asked in return for their preservation of our planet, is that people stop spraying pesticide and glyphosate all over our plantlife. I had to agree we were doing just fine until agriculture took a turn towards greed. The bees made a point to talk about dandelions. It’s their first food of the season normally and even though they seem to get on your nerves being so “yellow” and intrusive, it’s a small favor to ask considering the bees are basically giving us cures to just about everything you can think of.
I wanted to additionally give propolis its due respect and list the full review of what it can do, but to be honest, this would be a 5 hour read, that’s just how amaze-balls propolis is. I can rave enough about this magical bee-spit so I decided to list a bunch of other amazing stuff it does, so if it applies in the least, it may be something you want to check out yourself.
Fights fungi & candida
An interesting discovery was its ability to fight candida - Propolis fights yeast infections and other fungi by blocking their ability to form colonies in the body. In a study of 707 patients with fingernail fungal infections, propolis extract applied to the nails cured infections in more than half of the participants after 6 months. It could penetrate the nail and destroy fungal biofilms.
In several cell studies, propolis stopped the formation of yeast clusters by dissolving this biofilm layer yeast cells use to cling to body surfaces, preventing an infection. It could also kill Candida and block its biofilms in cells. Although antibacterial activity is more relevant than the antifungal properties of propolis, many studies have reported the susceptibility of clinically important yeasts belonging to Candida genera such as Candida albicans, as well as the sensitivity of some filamentous fungi, mainly dermatophite. European propolis samples have a fungicidal effect against Candida, Microsporum, Mycobacteria, Trichophyton, Fusarium and other dermatophytes.
Kill bacteria and viruses by stopping their growth and spread
Fight yeast infections by blocking the growth of yeast and fungus
Help with allergies by blocking the release of histamines
Lower blood pressure by lowering the activity of an enzyme (tyrosine hydroxylase) that can lead to high blood pressure
Boost bone health and help heal fractures by strengthening bone density
Fight cancer by blocking the growth of cancer cells and causing cell death (apoptosis)
Enhance tooth and oral health and neutralize cavities by killing bacteria and reducing swelling around the gums
Speed up wound healing by speeding up skin cell rejuvenation
Protect the liver from toxins, injury, and disease
Help with diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels
Propolis can kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites when used either orally or on the skin.
The two best-studied propolis varieties for this purpose are Brazilian propolis and European propolis.
In one study of 30 children, a Brazilian propolis mouth rinse was effective at killing oral bacteria.
Propolis supplementation may improve wound healing by boosting the growth of new skin cells, according to animal and cellular studies.
Propolis sped up wound healing in mice, helping to regenerate the damaged.
In a cellular study, Chinese propolis protected the cells from damage, maintained collagen activity, and turned on antioxidant glutathione genes (such as GCLM)
Conclusion on propolis apitherapy
As you can see I have an affinity and deep respect for bees and their wondrous alchemy. I will continue to write about my relationship with bee products, as I also use bee honey, pollen and royal jelly, hopefully soon to incorporate bee venom apitherapy.
If you have interest in propolis yourself, I can absolutely recommend Brazilian propolis. It tastes really different to me, sweetish, but has a pungent kick, so I mix it with a bit of juice and take it twice daily. Feel free to comment if you have tried apitherapy and what your results have been. I love hearing other peoples stories and results.