PureBee started out as a simple beekeeping family business with a single beehive. In the beginning, it was all about the honey, but as we grew that changed quickly. Currently, we use three important honeybee-produced ingredients in our products – honey, beeswax and propolis.
One of my favorite ingredient is propolis. If you have never heard of it, I would describe it as a resin produced by bees to seal unwanted small open spaces in the hive. Propolis becomes very sticky at room temperature (that's where it gets its nickname "bee glue") and very hard below 70° F.
Honeybees produce propolis by mixing saliva and beeswax with different tree, flower, and botanical based substances. The exact components of propolis varies from region to region and even from hive to hive, depending upon the substances the bees have collected and what is blooming at the moment.
As more research is done on propolis, the list of applications and uses for this incredible substance continues to grow.
Propolis is rich in organic compounds, like caffeic acid and long chain wax esters. It contains minerals including magnesium, calcium, nickel and zinc. These ingredients help to provide nourished and soft skin. One of the most important benefits of Propolis is its antioxidant effect. Antioxidants are chemical compounds, which slow down or even prevent the oxidation of other substances. Oxidation leads to skin aging but Propolis naturally restores and maintains skin structure and even rejuvenates the skin. This makes it a perfect ingredient for our Body Scrubs as it helps to keep your skin nourished and glowing!
The sealing of unwanted small gaps and cracks in the beehive reinforce the structural stability of the hive, as it glues different parts of the hive together. By getting various parts of the hive glued together the honeybees can also reduce the vibration in the hive.
Because of its dark brown color propolis tincture is often used as furniture polish. Some string instrument makers (violin, viola, cello and bass) also use it as a varnish. For example, Propolis was purportedly used by Antonio Stradivari in the varnish of his instruments.
Honeybees are very hard-working insects and they are also very tidy. They will remove waste from their hives similiar to humans by taking out the trash. Once in a while a large intruder will enter the beehive. For example, if a small mouse enters the hive, the honeybees can fight it with ease but they are left with the body. They cannot bring it outside because it is simply to heavy for them to lift!
The body will start to decay pretty soon and eventhough this is a natural process, it is stinky and really gross. To prevent that process, the honeybees found a clever solution! They will encase the mouse in layers of propolis to stop the process of decay and mummify the intruders body.
How do we know that? There are a lot of ancient drawings that show how propolis was used to treat wounds. The Egyptians and Greeks produced salves similar to those that a lot of people make at home, consisting of propolis, beeswax and other natural ingredients. These mixtures were applied to scrapes, cuts, and burns. With modern medicine we know that propolis can be a powerfull antimicrobian substance, which leds one to believe that the ancient salve kept the wounds free of infection.
The Egyptians also used propolis in their process of mummification. Maybe they observed the mentioned mummification process in the beehive and applied it to their burial rituals.
Propolis protects the beehive and its residents from microbial invaders. Propolis has a very powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral property in the hive.
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