Propolis is a resinous substance gathered by the bees from the leaf buds or the bark of certain trees and bushes. The bees then use the propolis as a 'cement' that lines the walls of the hive in which they prepare honey, pollen, royal jelly and other related by-products. Nature has provided bees with this substance to keep them and their hives free from germs in spite of 40,000 to 50,000 bees being crammed into close quarters in the hive. Research in Europe has determined that beehives are cleaner than hospitals.
Bees collect propolis, treat it with their own enzymes and use the sticky material to patch holes or cracks in the hive. This natural 'cement' protects the insects and their home from contamination, moisture and germs.
The green to brownish glue-like material with an aromatic smell and slightly bitter taste is made up to 50 to 55 percent resin and balsam, 40 percent wax, 10 percent other, depending on what kind of foliage is available.
Researchers found the therapeutic properties of propolis come from substances called flavonoids found in the resin.
Propolis is rich in minerals, B-vitamins and antibiotics and works to raise the body's natural resistance by stimulating the immune system to produce its own disease fighting defenses.