Tag Archives: anti-inflammatory

Natural Home Remedies: Part 4 – Bee Propolis

 

This jar cost £5 and should last at least 3 years

In which I discuss the origin and medicinal usefulness of Bee Propolis, it being anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, emollient and cicatrizant.

 Back in September, I reported on our trip to Audley End in Essex for Boy the Elder’s 13th birthday.  One of the groups of people we encountered was The Essex Beekeeping Association.  I think Beekeeping is a practically magical pastime that has so many positive association; nature, honey, waggle-dances*, the inexplicable ability to fly and their vital role in the ecological balance of Earth.

For humans the medicinal effects of propolis are most efficacious and it is available directly from beekeepers and from health food shops in various preparations including raw propolis, creams, lozenges and tinctures.

Propolis is routinely used for the relief of various conditions, including inflammation, viral diseases, ulcers and superficial burns or scalds. It is also believed to promote heart health, strengthen the immune system and reduce the chances of cataracts. 

Old beekeepers recommend a piece of propolis kept in the mouth as a remedy for a sore throat and I can attest to the value of this.  Put a small lump of propolis into your mouth and press it firmly into one of your back teeth.  Allow the propolis to dissolve slowly throughout the day or overnight and the soreness or phlegm is significantly reduced or gone completely.

Claims have been made for its use in treating allergies but propolis may cause severe allergic reactions if the user is sensitive to bees or bee products.  As always, I would never recommend treatment for this kind of condition without consulting an accredited Naturopathic practitioner.

Propolis has also been the subject of recent dentistry research, since there is some evidence that it may actively protect against caries and other forms of oral disease, due to its antimicrobial properties. 

There are also clinical investigations being undertaken in Japan for the use of propolis as an anti-tumour agent as it would appear that propolis may induce cell cycle arrest and have an anti-proliferation effect on C6 glioma cells.

But what exactly is Propolis?

Propolis is a mixture of various amounts of beeswax and resins collected by the honeybee from plants, especially from flowers and leaf buds. Bees have been observed scraping the protective resins of flower and leaf buds with their mandibles and then carrying them to the hive like pollen pellets on their hind legs. It is assumed that at some point during the collection and transport of these resins, they are mixed with saliva and other secretions of the bees as well as with wax.

The resins are then used by worker bees to reinforce the structural stability of the hive.  It lines the inside of nest cavities and breeding combs, and is also used to repair combs, seal small cracks in the hive, reduce the size of hive entrance and to mix small quantities of propolis with wax to seal brood cells.  These functions also have the associated advantage that the antibacterial and antifungal effects of propolis seem to protect the colony against diseases.  It also reduces vibration and can be used to seal off any waste matter that is too big to remove from the hive and might otherwise putrefy and cause disease.

Further reading:

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-healthiest-insect-produce-you-could-wish/    

* Five Boys by Mick Jackson – essential reading if you want to know about Waggle Dancing.  No, not the beer.

 
 
 

 

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Natural Home Remedies: Part 1

In which The Wartime Housewife Nurse Natural rememdies 1 - 24.08.09explains the medicinal
uses of essential oils, specifically Lavender, Eucalyptus,
Tea Tree and Peppermint.

I had been planning to include articles on the use of natural remedies sometime next month, but following a trip to Hardwick Hall, which had the most exquisite herb garden, I feel moved to start straight away.

ESSENTIAL OILS:
I would recommend keeping a few bottles of essential oil in the medicine box at all times.  These are the concentrated essences of plants obtained by predominantly by distillation, and these are available from all good health food shops and quite a lot of chemists these days.  Just make sure that they are 100% pure and if you are in any doubt as to their use, consult your chemist or a qualified practitioner. The Wartime Housewife is a qualified Massage Therapist but I am not teaching you to be professionals. These are home remedies so use your common sense.

Lavender:  This is the all round good egg of the natural pharmacy.  It is antiseptic, antifungal, antibiotic and antiviral.  It promotes healing particularly for burns and it also helps to reduce scarring, it’s calming, helps reduce headaches and promotes deep sleep.

Burns and scalds – put a drop or two directly onto the burn every day until it heals.  Remember, if the burn is over 2″, consult a doctor.

Cuts and grazes – clean the wound and the area round it with 5 drops in a small bowl of warm water.  Then put one drop neat onto the wound.

Sleep – 10 drops in the bath water will help to promote quiet sleep, also add one drop to the pillow or sheet.  For babies, put 1 drop in the bath water and 1 drop on the cot sheet.

Mild shock – if you’ve had an minor accident or injury, a drop or two of lavender oil either onto the skin or on to clothes near the head is very beneficial in alleviating distress and has a very calming effect in adults and children.

Tea Tree:  Another powerful  antiseptic and a very effective antifungal.  Use for any fungal infections such as athletes foot by putting 10 drops in the bath or a foot bath.  For an ointment use 5 drops mixed thoroughly with zinc and castor oil cream or put 2 drops on a cotton wool ball and smear it on the affected area.  An emergency treatment for vaginal thrush is to mix very thoroughly one drop of oil in 1 tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream and apply ½ a teaspoon of the cream to the end of a tampon, use a little to rub gently on external areas.  This cream also works for the gentleman’s area.

Peppermint: This is excellent for the digestion, is also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and very cooling.

Indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea – 2 drops in a pint of hot water.  Sip this slowly until it is all gone.  If it is not relieved in an hour or so, do it again. (the vapour will initially make your eyes water a bit – keep them closed)

Tired feet – put 4 drops in a bowl of lukewarm water and soak your feet

Bad breath – mix 4 drops in a tablespoon of brandy, gin or vodka.  Add to a small tumbler of warm water and use as a mouthwash.

Eucalyptus:  this is well known for it’s usefulness with colds, coughs and sinus problems but is also a useful cradle cap remedy, insect repellent and deodorant.

Colds, stuffy noses:  Put 5 drops in a bowl of very hot water and inhale deeply for at least 10 minutes, making sure that you keep you eyes closed.  Put a drop on your handkerchief or tissues as well.

Cradle Cap:  mix 2 drops in a tablespoon of olive oil and rub very gently into the affected area, taking care to avoid the soft fontanelle at the front of the head.

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