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When it comes to bee products, honey is the first thing that comes to mind. Although very commonly used, it’s the least significant product that comes out of a hive. Honeybees offer much more complex and unique foods with higher nutrient density, yet they are rare to come by. Propolis is one to mention.
The word is made out of pro and polis, translating into front and city respectively. This is a reference to the fact that propolis is a colony’s first line of defense against pathogens. It’s a sticky, resinous plant material collected by the bees to cover up their hive in order to prevent the microbes penetrating in. It’s very rich in antioxidants and exhibits antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Other than it’s immune boosting effects, propolis is also found to be very effective against diabetes.
A research published in 2015 by Zhejiang University, investigated he effects of ethanol and water extracts of propolis collected from north China on blood glucose, blood lipid and free radicals in rats with diabetes mellitus were studied. The results showed that propolis decreased the levels of blood glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in serum of fasting rats. The authors suggested that propolis can control blood glucose and modulate the metabolism of glucose and blood lipid, leading to decreased outputs of lipid peroxidation and scavenge the free radicals in rats with diabetes.
Fuliang, H.U., Hepburn, H.R., Xuan, H., Chen, M., Daya, S. & Radloff, S.E. Effects of propolis on blood glucose, blood lipid and free radicals in rats with diabetes mellitus. Pharmacological Research 51(2): 147-152.