Give me some of that old time... Italian bee propolis?
November 27, 2019 6:51 AM   Subscribe

When traveling in rural southern Italy, my husband got sick. Our innkeeper insisted we go to the local apothecary and get pure bee propolis. I was skeptical, but followed her orders, and procured some foul-tasting locally made propolis spray that numbed his throat and... TOTALLY WORKED. Back in the states, I'd like to use something like it, but most versions I've found aren't that potent. What is the closest American version I can find?
posted by Mystical Listicle to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Probably Manuka Honey. It has the same antibacterial, antifungal etc properties with more scientific literature behind it. Medical grade manuka honey is even used for wound treatment. We give it to dogs for kennel cough!

If you can get Comvita 15+ in the US, it is certified as being from NZ (where the manuka bush lives) and authentic.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:26 AM on November 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

It is quite likely that the propolis spray contained an undiluted tincture made with a high proof grain alcohol (75 proof or higher). While the propolis itself contains amazing compounds, the immediate numbness was probably a result of alcohol!

Perhaps check with local organic and natural beekeepers to see if they produce their own or if they can supply you with solid propolis with which to prepare your own potent tincture (instructions here).

I'm Austrian / Australian based so can't recommend particular suppliers, but would recommend asking at farmers markets or a beekeeping club.

Obtaining propolis from hives where bees are gathering Manuka and other ti-tree varieties (the source of the active compounds) is now going to obsess me.
posted by pipstar at 11:51 AM on November 27, 2019

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