We've covered the use of bee products as health supplements quite extensively, but what about their usefulness as topical agents for the skin? Well, it just so happens that beehive products are used extensively in the skin-care industry, and with good reason and effect.
The skin, just like our internal organs, needs good nourishment and ca benefit greatly from the application of vitamin rich creams and other substances. There are none more beneficial than bee products, like propolis, royal jelly and bee pollen.
Propolis is an interesting substance which finds itself commonly used on harsh/sore/damaged skin applications, and widely used in the mouth on cold-sores and cankers. To understand this, is worth a quick look at how it is utilized around the home, in the beehive that is.
The bees live in a very compact environment and their mission in life is to forage outside of the beehive and bring back external substances for use in the hive. These 'substances' come from a variety of sources and not all are essentially clean and bacteria free. So it wouldn't take much for some kind of infection or mold or fungus to break-out within the hive walls and damage the whole colony. Also, small animals, rodents and other insects have an interest in what takes place inside of the hive and a special interest in its produce, just like we humans do. So occasionally, these animals end up inside the hive where they rather rapidly perish.
So this is where propolis comes into play. Propolis is collected from plant resins and tree bark, each of which have a rather potent anti-bacterial property. Mixed with the honeybees own secretions, propolis becomes a very potent sanitizer and is used for this purpose within the beehive. It is used to repair cracks and holes in the hive wall, and at the same time to lay down a protection blanket, guarding the inhabitants against bacterial infection and removing any 'stray' infectious sources that may wander into the colony uninvited.
So in much the same way it finds itself useful for human beings. It can be applied on cankers and mouth sores in full-strength form, or blended with other herbs and botanicals to form a milder salve for use on the skin. It is also commonly used as the base in toothpaste, where it can help destroy harmful plaque and bacteria forming around the gums.
When a milder elixir is required, it can be blended readily with bee pollen, royal jelly, beeswax and even honey, and used as a soothing, nourishing, protecting and replenishing salve/creme. [As seen at Beehive Bay, for example] Here it is utilized alongside cold pressed organic hemp, olive oil with organic coconut oil, glycerine and vitamin E, to form a protective and soothing balm for dried and damaged skin.
It's easy for people to underestimate the real potential and power of these natural substances. We tend to give respect to pharmaceutical grade products but less so to the substances which appear naturally, around us in our own environment. It's a mistake that certain medical organizations are trying to rectify. Some of these medical research facilities are looking more closely at natural substances to investigate the extent of their efficacy and their potential for benefit in humans. And in many cases the results are extremely positive and encouraging, particularly where bee propolis is concerned.
Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and a rich source of immune system boosting bioflavonoids, propolis is one substance which really must be taken seriously in the medical community. And there are others, too. We didn't just invent health tonics with the advent of penicillin in the 1920's, we've had them around since the beginning of time.