#83 Propolis – (64 Non-Drug ways to lower blood pressure)

Propolis is a an aromatic material collected by bees from the growing parts of trees. Bees use it inside the beehive for disinfection, gluing, and stuffing cracks.  Chemical analysis shows that it is a complex material consisting of 50 – 60 % resins and balms, 10 – 30 % wax, 8 – 10 % oils, 5 % pollen and trace amounts of many more substances.   The  propolis is high in flavonoids which have known healing effects. Besides these natural healing powers, it is believed that propolis has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasite and anti-congealment effects that protect beehives.

Apparently the ancient Greeks and Romans used propolis for medical purposes, and there are a pile of web sites claiming benefits of the propolis tablets, etc.  I haven’t personally tried propolis, or purchased any of the many products on market made from propolis claiming health benefits.   While there are some clinical studies along the lines of propolis, I couldn’t find anything definite on quantity needed to be taken, particular active substances in propolis or measured benefits in regard to controlling blood pressure.   One obvious difficulty is that propolis would vary depending on season it is collected, location and nature of the bees doing the collection.  One would also have to consider the impacts of any type of processing on the material, it storage life, impact of temperature, whether it can spoil, etc.   So, overall, I’m not inclined to get too excited about eating some waxy substance from a bee hive, to promote lower blood pressure.   I have switched to using honey as sweetner rather than sugar in much of my baking, and as sweetner, I didn’t notice any particular huge instant health benefits but I also didn’t notice any detrimental impacts either.  If  I have sore throat a little honey in some hot water or tea often seems to do the trick for me in overcoming the sore throat.

It is entirely possible that some drug companies will at some point, isolate active ingredients from propolis and produce various kinds of drug compounds that may be tested for blood pressure efficiency.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised that some of them will have positive impact on blood pressure.  Until then, natural propolis is for an alternative for health adventures. Unfortunately most of us likely don’t have access to natural bee hive propolis, but if you happen to have friends in the bee business, it could be interesting experiment to try some of this out, see the effects.   While a spoon full of this material a day in your diet isn’t likely to have negative health impacts (I’ve found no reports of negative health impacts from using).  If you happen to be allergic to honey or pollen then I would stay away from this product.  In any regard,  I wouldn’t take it for more than month at a time ( then go off for several months).  Like any organic substance, there might be serious negative health impacts in some individuals, proceed with caution- discontinue use at the slightest sign of a negative health impact.

Which brings me to one last issue, does eating honey lower high blood pressure?  There is some evidence that honey lowers bad high cholesterol, and thus over a long period it might actually lower blood pressure indirectly.   Honey of course still contains calories, but if a little honey helps lower overall sugar and calorie intake it might be good thing.  So, a little honey in place of a lot of jam might be a good thing.



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