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Propolis FAQs

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Q & A. New Zealand Propolis Pro-CAPE30+


Q. What is Propolis

A. Propolis – Collective Immune System of the Beehive

Propolis is the Immune System of the Beehive. Bees produce propolis by collecting resin from leaf buds and tree sap and mix it with their saliva. This combines natural defence substances from the bee’s immune system with the medicinal properties of the resin. Bees cover every small space inside the beehive with propolis to create a sterile disease-free environment for the protection of the colony. That is why it is often called “Natural Antibiotic”.

Q. What Propolis is Used for in the Beehive

A. Bees use Propolis to fill every gap in the beehive to create the most sterile disease-free environment, protecting the beehive from bacteria, viruses and fungi. Any foreign object that gets into beehive would be covered completely with propolis to eliminate any danger of contamination.

Q. Was Propolis Traditionally Used as Medicine?

A. Centuries ago, ancient practitioners were well aware of the strong antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antioxidant properties of bee propolis and used propolis to heal wounds, treat ulcers, skin infections and respiratory conditions.

Q. What is the Composition of Propolis?

A. Research shows Propolis contains about 300 bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, caffeic acids and caffeic acid esters. The most powerful and beneficial for health is CAPE – Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester.

Q. What is CAPE?

A. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a natural phenolic chemical compound found in a variety of plants. It is also a component of propolis from honeybee hives.

Q. What are the Health Properties of CAPE?

A. Researchers have shown CAPE to be one of the key compounds responsible for propolis’s health properties. Extensive research on the biological features of CAPE narrates it as an effective substance against various pathologies such as infections, oxidative stress, inflammation, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and anxiety.

In 1988 a Columbia University group established CAPE as ANTI-CANCER REMEDY

(Grunberger, D. et al: Experientia, 44, 230-232, 1988)

Q. Is CAPE Present in All Propolis?

A. The composition of propolis various dramatically between geographical areas due to differences in plants and climatic conditions. Therefore, the levels of CAPE will also vary from zero in Brazilian green propolis to 70-140mg/g in New Zealand Propolis.

Studies demonstrated New Zealand propolis contains exceptionally high levels of beneficial flavonoids and phenol acids and esters in comparison to other countries.

Q. Why New Zealand Propolis is Special?

A. The superiority is due to NATURAL factors:

  • 80% of the plants and trees in New Zealand are native and

            not found elsewhere

  • This is due to New Zealand being an island nation for 23 million years, 2000 km from its nearest neighbour

  • Plants and trees have evolved their own defence systems to survive from environmental challenges

  • This includes producing bioactives in their resin, nectar, buds and leaves to encourage symbiotic relationships to benefit both them the host and other species

Q. What are the Health Properties of Propolis?

A. Propolis has demonstrated strong natural health benefits by providing antibacterial, anti-oxidant, antiviral, anti-fungi and anti-inflammatory activities. It has been shown beneficial for supporting immune system, respiratory health, dental health, oral health, diabetes, vision, brain health, liver health, skin health and wound healing.

Q. Is Propolis an Immune Booster or Immune Modulator?

A. Managing your immune system is a “balancing act”. It needs to be strong enough to fight off illnesses and disease but not so strong that it overreacts causing allergies and other autoimmune conditions.

The matrix of compounds in New Zealand Propolis delivers outcomes to keep your immune system in “BALANCE”.

Q. What is Pro-CAPE30+ Means in Helena Health’s Propolis Range?

A. Helena Health’s Propolis is produced by New Zealand’s most experienced and skilled team in propolis collection and harvesting.

Rich in CAPE and other flavonoids, Helena Health’s Pro-CAPE30+ New Zealand Propolis is tested & certified to contain a minimum of 30mg of CAPE /10g of pure propolis in addition to at least 200mg of other bioactives and flavonoids per 1ml of liquid.


Q. What Helena Health’s Propolis Products Are and What They Are Good for?

A. Helena Health’s specialists produced a range of Pro-CAPE30+ Propolis Products that provide natural support for various health conditions:





Health Condition


Propolis Liquid
the most concentrated form of Propolis

Strong, Fast Action Immune Support,

Oral Health, Dental Health


Propolis Capsules
-more convenient, less concentrated, easier to take

Digestive Support, Diabetes, Respiratory, Liver Health, Long-terms wellness.


Mouth Spray

-on-the-go protection. Multi-use product

Oral Health, Dental Aid, Sore Throat, Mouth Ulcers, Anti-viral Protection, Breath Freshener



  • Numbing and soothing

Numbing Effect of propolis for sore throat, soothing. A well-being for cooler autumn and winter months.


Q. Is Propolis Safe?

A. Propolis is generally safe to take. However about 4% of people might have allergic reactions (skin or respiratory symptoms), particularly those who are allergic to bees or bee products.


Q. Can Propolis Be Taken During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?

A. Women have to always consult their health professionals prior to using any natural supplements, including bee products.

Q. Can Children Take Propolis?

A. Propolis has a bitter taste and as a rule does not appeal to young children. We don’t recommend our propolis products for kids under 4 years old. However, if some children suffer from frequent episodes of cold and flu, parents can try our Propolis Mouth Spray or Lozenges to support their immune system. Alternatively, a few drops of propolis liquid can be mixed in a spoon of honey and given to children that way.

  • What is mānuka honey?
    Manuka honey is a monofloral honey produced from the nectar of Manuka flowers. Industrious honeybees extract rich Manuka nectar from Manuka flowers for anywhere between 6-12 weeks a year and, from the nectar, they make MGO-rich Manuka honey. People often use Manuka honey for medicinal purposes.
  • What is MGO?
    MGO stands for methylglyoxal. It’s a natural antibacterial compound found in extraordinarily high levels in Manuka honey. Scientists believe MGO is what makes Manuka honey bioactive, ie, capable of influencing our molecular biology.
  • Is there a limit on how much Manuka honey I can eat?
    It depends! There’s usually no limit on how much Manuka honey you can eat, but if you have diabetes, it’s worth talking to your doctor before adding Manuka honey to your diet. Manuka honey’s natural sugars are great for energy production... but that also means they can spike in your blood sugar levels. Also, if you’re allergic to honey, take care. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to use Manuka honey without triggering an allergic reaction. Be sure to consult your doctor before doing so.
  • Is Manuka Honey safe for diabetes?
    With the potential for honey to replace sugar as a safer alternative for diabetics, scientists have put it to the test: “Considerable evidence from experimental studies shows that the honey may provide benefits in the management of diabetes mellitus. The benefits could be a better control of the hyperglycemic state, limiting other metabolic disorders and diminishing the deleterious effects on different organs that may produce diabetic complications… It is true that honey may be used as a potential antidiabetic agent that has the potential to reduce the complications of diabetes...” - Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity study, 2018. It is noted in these studies that honey is still a sugar, which should be carefully monitored by anyone with diabetes (and their doctor.) Where honey differs is that it offers more than just a sweetening effect: “A tablespoon of honey, weighing about 21 g, has about 64 calories, while 21 g of granulated white sugar contains 80 calories. This amount of honey also contains: 3.59 g of water 17.25 g of sugar 11 milligram (mg) of potassium 1 mg of calcium 1 mg of phosphorus 1 mg of sodium 0.05 mg of zinc 0.1 mg of vitamin C It also contains some B vitamins. Sugar contains almost no other nutrients.” - Medical News Today.
  • Is Methylgyloxal in Manuka Honey is Safe to Eat?
    Dietary methylglyoxal such as in MGO Manuka Honey does not harm the body and in fact, is never absorbed by the body. It does not enter the bloodstream and passes through the body. In summary dietary methylglyoxal is not a dietary risk. It is important to distinguish between two categories of methylglyoxal. The first is where it is produced by the human body during energy metabolism in every cell in the body. This occurs when the glucose from food is converted into energy. Eventually methylglyoxal is eliminated from every cell by the body’s own detoxification system. In contrast, methylglyoxal when consumed in manuka honey is never absorbed by the body. When the manuka honey is in the small intestine, the methylglyoxal combines with another enzyme and then excreted. Any health benefits through anti-bacterial activity are only possible in the mouth, oesophagus and stomach. The situation is different for diabetics because they must be careful with their glucose uptake. But they should not be worried about the methylglyoxal uptake.
  • Can you add synthetic  methylglyoxal (MGO) to honey?
    It’s against New Zealand laws to add anything to honey. The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Food Standards are great when it comes to keeping genuine New Zealand mānuka honey pure. In fact, in 2019, New Zealand Food Safety successfully prosecuted Evergreen Life Ltd for adding synthetic MGO and DHA (a substance converted to MGO in honey) to honey products.
  • Can Manuka honey go bad?
    Pure Manuka honey has a long shelf life. In fact, when stored correctly, Helena Health Manuka honey has a shelf life of several years. Good storing conditions means out of direct sunlight, not exposed to direct heat and isn’t frozen – in these conditions, your manuka honey will last well beyond it’s best before date.
  • What is inside Manuka Honey?
    Compared to everyday honey, genuine Manuka honey contains extraordinarily high MGO levels, which studies suggest account for Manuka honey’s remarkable antibacterial properties
  • What grade of Manuka Honey do you recommend for digestive disorders?
    If it is a minor digestive disorder, MGO 100+ Manuka Honey should be sufficient. If case of severe digestive problems, such as gastritis, stomach ulcer or H.pylori, MGO 400+ should be recommended.
  • How to take Manuka Honey for digestive disorders?
    Manuka Honey is better to be taken without any food. It can be taken with warm water and lemon. Consume Manuka honey 3-4 times a day between on before meals for at least 6 weeks.
  • Can Manuka Honey be taken during pregnancy?
    For many years, women have consumed Manuka Honey during pregnancy with no reported problems. Always consult a professional as necessary.
  • Can my infant eat Manuka Honey?
    No. It is not safe for infants under 18 months old to ingest Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey contains live enzymes and bacteria because it is a living food. These living organisms can grow inside a baby’s gut and cause infant botulism. Babies’ intestines are not mature enough to fight the harmful bacteria.
  • How do I know that the honey in the jar is a genuine manuka honey?
    New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) introduced a clear cut legal definition of Manuka honey. Today’s definition states that four chemical markers from nectar and one DNA marker from Manuka pollen must be at a certain level to meet overseas export requirements for Manuka honey. The rules came into effect in February 2018. At Helena Health, we welcome the definition and regulation. All our honey either meets or exceeds the MPI’s definition. We want our Manuka honey to do everything our customers expect and more, so we test every batch in partnership with the independent testing facilities. This reveals the MGO concentration of each batch, which we report on each of our honey jars’ labels. Each jar of our honey also receives a batch number. The number means we can trace your honey back to its birthplace, on request! So what to look for? Monofloral Manuka Honey, with MGO rating of 100 and over. We work with carefully selected distribution partners, both domestically and internationally, who have all been chosen on the strength of their reputation. This ensures our honey is as cared for during distribution as it is in production. The end result = Superior Manuka honey, quality assured every time.
  • Why do you cream your Manuka Honey?
    When the honey comes directly from the hive it is liquid, then Manuka Honey becomes as hard as a rock. In order to process the honey it is gently heated to about 50C (max inside the hive temperature) for a short period of time to enable the honey to go through the filtration process (removing wax and other hive components). It is then gently folded inside the churns into its signature velvet creamed texture. Each batch of Manuka honey takes up to 3 days to reach the signature quality. This also enables us to achieve a very fine degree of crystallization, resulting in a creamed honey with smooth texture. Once the honey changes state from liquid to creamed it will not crystallize or granulate.
  • Is your Manuka honey organic?
    Our honey is not officially certified as organic food. However, there is nothing added to this product artificially at any stage in the honey production process. And since our honey is exported overseas, to adhere to export/import procedures and regulations we perform rigid testing to ensure there are no traces of pesticides, herbicides or insecticides present in our Manuka Honey.
  • Is your Manuka honey and Kanuka Honey raw?
    Yes, our Manuka (and Kanuka) honey is 100% raw. We do not add anything to the honey at any stage of the production process. The product you receive is as it exists in the beehive after extraction. It has not been pasteurised. We do warm our honey to about 50C (inside the hive temperature) for a short period of time to enable the honey to go through the filtration process (removing wax and other hive components). Raw Creamed Manuka Honey has an extra step. After the filtration, our Manuka Honey is then gently folded inside the churns over a few days into its signature velvet creamed texture. Honey naturally wants to crystallize in the tank but by stirring it we interfere with the crystallization process. This allows us to control the size of the crystals. The smaller the crystal, the smoother and creamier the honey. Creamed honey has a smooth, velvet texture that is perfect as a spread but preserves the goodness of raw honey. Once the honey changes state from liquid to creamed it will not crystallize or granulate.

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Buy from our range of New Zealand CAPE-rich Propolis and Manuka Honey products, delivered directly from New Zealand to your door.

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