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Mixing together the digestive enzyme of bees with resinous substances produced by plants creates an adhesive substance called propolis. Bees need propolis to protect themselves and to clean their hives and honeycombs, whilst humans can use it for medicinal purposes.
Despite the fact that propolis has been known to us for millennia, modern medicine is still in the process of uncovering its useful properties. It can be consumed in the most varied ways: it can be chewed, added to milk (this is a great way to relieve cough symptoms), or used in the form of an external or internal tincture.
The healing properties of a propolis tincture
Oral consumption of a propolis tincture helps to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and also functions as an antioxidant. The range of benefits is still wider when propolis is used externally: it can disinfect and heal wounds, regenerate skin, anesthetize, and kill fungal infections.
Doctors prescribe propolis for many different conditions and illnesses, including to help treat tonsillitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, otitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia, and to remove numerous viral infections (influenza, herpes). It's also used for all kinds of dental problems, in gynecology, and even to help overcome gastric diseases.
A 10% propolis tincture is most often applied for medicinal purposes. It can be bought for very little from drug stores (a small 25 ml bottle lasts for a long time), but you can also prepare it yourself.
How to use propolis
- For tonsillitis and pharyngitis, gargle the tincture diluted with sodium chloride in a ratio of 1:10.
- Use the same concentration to rinse your mouth out in the case of dental diseases.
- For sinusitis and other sinus infections, use the same solution described above to irrigate your nose.
- For otitis, place a piece of cotton wool saturated with the tincture into your ear. If you're carrying out the procedure for a child, you need to dilute the tincture with hot water in a ratio of 1:1. For adults, it's also possible to apply two drops of a 5% tincture to each ear until recovery.
- Inhalation of propolis tincture can be used to treat respiratory illnesses. Add one drop of the tincture to 5 ml of sodium chloride, then transfer the solution to an inhaler.
- As a general tonic: dissolve 15-20 drops of tincture in a spoonful of milk or water, and drink 30 minutes before eating.
- To help treat gastric diseases, dissolve 15-20 drops of the tincture in 100 ml of warm water, and drink 30 minutes before eating.
- To treat damaged skin, wounds, herpes, and harm to the feet and nails caused by fungal infection: apply the undiluted tincture as a lotion/ointment, or apply it to a bandage.
Remember that you should always consult a doctor beforehand in order to get a precise diagnosis of any illness and correct advice on using propolis to treat it.
Propolis should not be used by people who are allergic to products produced by bees. Children, pregnant women, and drivers should avoid oral use of alcohol-based propolis tinctures (they should only be used externally in these cases). Propolis-based products should not be given to children under three due to the high risk of an allergic reaction.