History of Propolis

Propolis comes from the Greek and means Pro - before, Polis - City which translates as Defences before the City or Defender of the City. The city here is the city or hive of bees, protecting it from invasion from the outside as well as from the spread of infection within. Truly a defender of the city.

Propolis provides the bee city with its immune system.

This fact which gives some indication of its potential importance today for man, at a time when his own immune system is increasingly unable to cope with so many of the diseases of our time.

The Greeks recognised the healing qualities of Propolis using it for treating wounds as well as "incurable diseases". Hippocrates himself the father of modern medicine, prescribed Propolis for the healing of sores and ulcers, both internal and external.

For the Egyptians, the bee had a religious significance, and was a symbol of courage and valour. Propolis was used medically by the Egyptians to cure a variety of diseases.

The Romans also revered the bee and Propolis extensively. The Roman God Jupiter, so the legend goes, even transformed the beautiful Melissa into a bee so that she could produce the miraculous healer - Propolis. Pliny the roman Historian said of propolis: "Current physicians use Propolis as a medicine because it extracts stings and all substances embedded in the flesh, reduces swelling, oftens indurations, soothes pain of sinews and heals sores when it appears hopeless for them to mend".

European interest in Propolis appears in John Gerard's famous History of Plants in 1579 where Propolis referred to as a substance "which can provide swift and effective healing for many conditions". Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal tells us that "Propolis is singularly good for all heat and cools the heat of the wounds.

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  • HONEX © 26 February 1996
    HONEXpr © 26 February 1996