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Propolis, properties and all the information: what it is, how it is produced and what its benefits are. Contraindications for use and advice.
The best known product ofbeekeepingit is honey, however the beekeeping activity gives other crops: royal jelly, poison, pollen, wax andpropolisthey are supplementary products with multiple properties.
Curiosity: we say propolis or propolis
The term that indicates this beekeeping elaborate can be used both in the feminine and in the masculine. The masculine voice comes from the union of two Greek words: "pro" which means "in front" and "polis" which means "city". The feminine form derives from the Latin with “prò” which means “for” and “polis” which derives from the verb “polire”, hence the meaning of “to paint, to polish”. In both cases we refer to the functions of thepropolisinside the hive.
Propolis, what it is and how it is produced
Therepropolisis a resinous substance obtained by processing the resins collected on the buds of plants with enzymes and other salivary secretions. The plants that supply resins are many: poplars, oaks, ash trees, alders, birches, firs, pines, horse chestnuts…. Theforaging beesthey collect tree resins in the hottest hours of the day, when their consistency is easier to manage. The bees remove small fragments of resins with the jaws and with the help of the legs of the first pair, accumulate them in the baskets of the hind legs.
Therepropolisit can be harvested from beekeepers using two techniques. This product can be removed from the hive, then a product is extracted spontaneously and naturally deposited by the bees. Or, beekeepers can set up structures that stimulate the production of propolis.
The amount of propolis obtainedof coursefrom a hive fluctuates between 50 and 100 grams per year! Each hive annually produces only 50 - 100 grams of propolis.
With the targeted production of propolis, using special structures and resins provided with the help of man, we can produce 100 grams of product per month.
Therepropolisit is characterized by a color that varies from yellow to dark brown. The color varies according to the type of starting resin.
The consistency can be more or less dense and changes in relation to the temperature: up to 15 ° C, propolis is hard and crumbly. At 30 ° C propolis becomes malleable and sticky. Propolis melts between 65 and 70 ° C.
If you try to heat thepropolisin a water bath, you will notice that this mixture will split into two portions, one waxy and malleable and another viscous (tending to liquid). The viscous component, being denser, will remain more on the bottom of the container.
The smell ofpropolisit is very aromatic and pleasant. Theflavorit is acrid and slightly irritating to the mucous membranes.
It is difficult to talk aboutproperties of propolisbecause it is a heterogeneous mixture, made up of very different chemicals. In addition, the chemical composition of this product can vary greatly depending on the time of harvest (referring to the collection of the resin by the foraging bees), the area, the type of plants, the climate, the "breed of bees" and many other factors.
Generalizing we can say that thepropolisit is rich in essential oils which represent up to 10% of the product. It is also rich in flavonoids, aromatic hydroxy acids, aliphatic acids and aromatic aldehydes. Among the compounds present we point out the cuarine, pollen, mineral salts, sugars and vitamins. Of the propolis, the resins represent about 50% of the product while the wax constitutes 30%.
The group of flavonoids deserves particular attention: these compounds can reach up to 20% of the weight of propolis. With its processing, the bee modifies the structure of flavonoids (present in plant resins) by removing the sugars contained in the organic compound thanks to the enzymes produced by their salivary glands.
Thanks to its composition, thepropolisit has strong antiseptic properties (anthelmintic, antifungal, antibiotic), protective properties, healing properties and marked aromatic properties.