The Anti-Infectious Medicinal Properties of Propolis
If I had to choose a favorite natural medicine for healing, it would be propolis. I was first introduced to propolis and other bee products like honey, royal jelly, and bee pollen in 1976 while working at my first job at a natural food store in Connecticut. There, I was fortunate to meet Ed Weiss, a wonderful beekeeper and producer of bee products who was known as the “Bee Man.” Ed began his love affair with bees in 1974, and devoted more than four decades to educating people about bees, protecting them, and producing Wilton Gold, an excellent honey. Ed wrote a beekeeper’s handbook called “The Queen and I,” a comprehensive and charming classic now in its third printing. The book describes his love for the bees, opening with “I have been having an affair,” and provides practical information for building a hive and caring for these unique and beneficial creatures. In my four decades of clinical practice, I’ve witnessed the beneficial healing effects of propolis for a wide variety of health conditions—including viral respiratory illnesses.
As we transition into fall and winter and COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations rise dramatically, it’s clear that the virus isn’t going away any time soon. Although the promise of a vaccine is on the horizon, there’s no certainty as to its long-term effectiveness and many are concerned about the safety of its contents.
I continue to find compelling information that supports the use of natural medicines such as medicinal mushrooms, elderberry, and vitamin D against infections, as well as new facts and insights into how COVID-19 spreads and what populations are most vulnerable and why. All of this supports my belief that there is a great deal we can do to obtain robust health and build our immunological defense against pathogens, and thereby significantly reduce our risk of contracting the virus and the dreaded complications associated with it.
Although statistics show that people over the age of 65 have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying from complications due to underlying conditions, it appears that it has more to do with nutritional status than age alone. It’s true that the older we get, the more nutritional deficiencies we may have, primarily because of poor dietary choices throughout life.
Unfortunately, nutrition is often overlooked in favor of pharmaceuticals and other medical interventions. But diet plays a critical role in fortifying the immune system and in helping the body fight off and overcome infections such as COVID-19.
Viruses are one of the oldest
organisms on Earth. They consist simply of a protein envelope and nucleic
acids, which renders them unable to replicate outside of a host. Some viruses, such as influenza, can both
rearrange compatible genes and mutate on a regular basis in order to remain
Interestingly, the main benefit of
herbs is their working relationship with our own innate ability to ward off
pathogens, such as viruses. This in part is what makes herbal medicine so
unique. Although herbs provide some direct anti-viral activity, they primarily
act in a non-specific, adaptive manner.
distribution of community outbreaks of the current global pandemic shows
seasonal patterns associated with latitude, temperature, and humidity, which is
similar to the behavior of seasonal viral respiratory tract infections.
of many viral infections is associated with a lack of sunlight, which results in
low 25(OH)D concentrations and an uptick in diseases such as respiratory
syncytial virus (RSV) infection.,,While it’s
obvious that winter in temperate climates interferes with sufficient exposure
to ultra violet rays, the rainy season in tropical climates also results in low
unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it
is one of those things which give value to survival.”
Lewis, The Four Loves
these unprecedented times, it’s important for all of us to focus on positive
steps that we can take to stay healthy, not only physically, but also emotionally
and spiritually. As difficult as things may appear to be, remember that within
every crisis lie opportunities for growth and change.