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More Information on Propolis
Propolis is a resinous substance that bees collect from tree buds 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 from green to reddish brown depending of its botanical source; the most common being dark brown.
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.
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. Bees are opportunists, and will gather what they need from available sources. Occasionally bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. Therefore, various potential medicinal properties may be present in one hive's propolis and absent from another. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact plant sources used by an individual hive, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding its potential medicinal properties and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studiesinvestigating these claims). Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests virtually impossible.
The source of propolis varies in a major way with latitude. In temperate climates bees collect resins from trees, mostly poplars and to a lesser extent conifers. The biological role of propolis in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects. In tropical regions, bees gather propolis from flowers, especially Clusia, that have adapted propolis to attract pollinators. The chemical composition of temperate propolis and tropical propolis are different. Poplar propolis is rich in flavanoids. Clusia propolis contains polyprenylated benzophenones.
Functional of propolis
Propolis is marketed by health food stores as a traditional medicine, and for its claimed beneficial effect on human health.
SNatural medicine practitioners often utilize propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns or scalds. Some such therapies are based on the traditional practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine, ayurveda or homeopathy. Propolis is also believed to promote heart health and reduce the chances of cataracts.
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