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A natural infection fighter used by bees—would you use it?

Propolis is a resin that bees collect from trees and other plants, and they use it to fight bacterial growth, disease and parasites. Some people are following their lead.

By Siobhan O’Connor for

The last time I went to see my acupuncturist, he took a look at my tongue, pressed his pointer finger into my jumpy pulse, then said, “You’re burning the candle at both ends.” Busted! And totally true.

One thing I’ve learned with a little age is that my body reacts very quickly to stress and poor self-care. All it takes is a couple of bad nights’ sleep, one too many nights out, or a few weeks of not really paying attention and woooooomp. I get a bug.

Pain in the butt as it is, I sort of like it this way because it keeps me in check. I have friends who can do just about anything to their body and bounce back like it’s nothing (jalouse!), but some people (moi!) need a certain amount of routine and rest to feel their best. Easy to say, hard to do, and when I don’t, I pay for it. Like I am now.

Problem is, I’m scared of pretty much all OTC drugs except Advil (and sunscreen), so when the boy kindly asked me if he could get me any medicine this weekend, my first thought was: “But I don’t take medicine!” Which, on its face, is ridiculous. If you feel bad and something can make you feel better…

Right. So for me, that’s where propolis comes in.

Propolis is a resin that bees collect from trees and other plants to seal up holes and gaps in their hive. That’s not all it does, though. Propolis is also used by bees to fight bacterial growth, disease and parasites—and humans, cleverly taking cues from the bees, use the stuff for all kinds of infections, bugs, fungi, viruses etc. And we’ve been doing that for approximately 2,500 years.

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