Heal with Hawaii Bee Propolis

Hawaiʻi’s diversity of plants and four flowering seasons put Hawaiʻi-made bee propolis is in a league of its own

By: Rebecca Arechiga
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The bees, they are wise. And humans have been drawing from their wisdom for centuries. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all utilized bee propolis for its healing properties, making extensive use of it as medicine. Bee propolis is a resin material made by honeybees for the purpose of sealing and protecting cells of the hive, lining the inside of nest cavities, and repairing honeycomb. Worker bees collect resin from leaf buds and tree sap and combine it with honey, bee saliva, and beeswax to produce this ultra-sticky, protective compound. Without propolis, hives would be susceptible to viruses and bacteria. It is aptly named, in more ways than one: the Greek words “pro,” meaning “in defense of,” and “polis,” meaning “city.” It could be speculated that this meaning refers to both the defense of the hive, and also a defense against ailments that affect human communities. 

The composition of bee propolis varies, but on average, it is made up of 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen, and 5% other compounds such as acids, sugars, and Vitamins B, C, and E. In total, bee propolis contains over 300 biologically active ingredients, but the main active components are powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. 

Flavonoids are essential to a plant’s defense system. So in turn, bee propolis is made from elements of a plant’s immune system, and boosts bee hives’ immune systems, and can also be harvested to benefit human immune systems. 

Bee propolis and its extracts have numerous applications due to their naturally high levels of antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimycotic, antifungal, antiulcer, anticancer, and immunomodulatory properties. A natural defense for upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats, skin infections, burns, acne, and the healing of minor wounds, bee propolis is experiencing a renaissance as more and more people seek out natural, effective health products without harmful chemicals. 

Bee propolis is often obtained with a “propolis trap,” essentially a screen placed on top of a hive to mimic gaps in the hive that bees are instinctively compelled to fill. Once the bees seal off the holes with propolis, it is carefully extracted from the traps and can immediately be used medicinally. 

And as indispensable as propolis naturally is, specifically Hawaiʻi-made bee propolis is in a league of its own. 

“Hawaiʻi-made propolis is very different from any propolis in the world because the bees have so many beautiful flowers to choose from and bring back to the beehive to make this strong and rich propolis that protects the hive from getting any disease or bacteria,” -Hillary Navarrette of Lau Botanicals. 

A holistic Certified Esthetician, Hillary believes that natural products equate to comprehensive wellness and that comprehensive wellness should not burden the natural environment. Lau Botanicals’ Healing Propolis Balm eliminates redness and irritation of the skin and fights off unwanted breakouts with the natural purifying properties of bee propolis. It is available now in the Common Ground Marketplace. 

Mike of MYKauaʻi Honey agrees. When asked what makes Hawaiʻi-made bee products so exceptional he says: “To me, it's just the honey; the honey is from such a wide variety of blossoms… We’ve got avocado, we’ve got lychee, we’ve got coconut. On the mainland you have alpha, citrus blossom, orange blossoms, but here it's a mixture of them all together.” Mike also touts the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of Hawaiʻi-made bee propolis in specific. 

Sourced from hives across Kauaʻi, My Kauaʻi Honey’s Bee.U.Tea Balm, Bee.Itch.Soother Soothing Cream, and Bee Pollen Propolis Healing Tincture all contain Hawaiʻi-sourced propolis as their first ingredient. And all are currently available in the Common Ground Marketplace. 

But more than the fact that Hawaiʻi’s honeybees are exposed to such a diversity of plants, it is also the quality of the plants that make Hawaiʻi bee products such as propolis so exceptional. By and large, the islands’ farms are small, organic, and pesticide free. Coupled with the quality of the air, the four flowering seasons (there’s never a season of shortage of nectar-producing flowers here), and Hawaiʻi-based beekeepers’ pono, or righteous stewardship of their hives, this stuff is–pardon the truism–the bee’s knees. 

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