What is Propolis?
Propolis is created by bees from the natural resin produced by trees as part of their defence system. People use propolis as a natural product to support their own immune systems.
What propolis does
Honeybees collect the resin, mix in beeswax and enzymes, and use it to protect the hive. New Zealand propolis has been found to contain extraordinarily high levels of both bioflavonoids and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE). Scientists have shown these two substances are responsible for propolis’s protective properties.
How bees make propolis
Most people know honey bees spend their summers gathering nectar to make honey. But nectar isn’t all bees gather up: while they’re out and about, the bees collect natural resins from tree bark and sticky plant buds. The bees mix the natural resins with beeswax and their own enzymes to make propolis, a powerful substance rich in bioactive compounds with powerful protective effects.
What makes propolis so special?
Bees don’t have their own internal immunodefence systems. Instead, they rely on their hives to keep them free from disease and infection. Their hives alone have no special antibacterial or antiviral properties, so the bees coat their hives in propolis. It’s really quite remarkable: bees take natural resins from trees and plants in their immediate environment, which help the trees and plants protect themselves from infection. The bees use the resins to make their own protective propolis.
Properties of New Zealand propolis
Researchers have shown CAPE to be the key compound responsible for propolis’s health properties.
New Zealand’s plants and trees are exposed to high ultraviolet concentration requiring them to produce elevated concentrations of bioactive compounds to protect themselves. Consequently, New Zealand CAPE-rich propolis has become of great interest to researchers.