Propolis is a sticky, resinous substance that honey bees use to seal the entrance of their hives. It has many healing properties and can be used as a topical or oral remedy.
Propolis has been shown to have antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial activities compared to other natural products. It is a very effective antibiotic and can be taken internally as a supplement or applied topically to help reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
How to make propolis tincture
One of the easiest ways to prepare propolis for use is to soak it in alcohol and filter the extract out. This produces a very potent, high-quality tincture that can be used as a food supplement or for topical application.
To prepare an ethanol tincture, combine equal amounts of fresh bee propolis and grain alcohol (also called ethyl alcohol or pure alcohol). This is an important step in order to maximize the amount of active compounds present in the propolis.
After the alcohol has soaked in for a few weeks, the mixture can be filtered through a fine mesh cloth, paper filter or cotton ball. The resulting liquid is then stored in clean, dark containers for long-term storage.
A few drops of the tincture may be added to skin lotions, creams, and toners as needed. It can also be used as an antiseptic or to soothe and heal sore throats, colds and other infections.
Alternatively, you can boil the jar of fresh propolis in water and then filter it out to produce an alcohol-free, aqueous extract. The resulting aqueous extract is often less concentrated than the ethanol-extracted tincture but has been found to have powerful antimicrobial and fungicidal effects.
Making propolis tincture is relatively simple and requires no special equipment. The ingredients are easy to find, and it can be made quickly.
First, grind up a portion of the raw propolis using a mortar and pestle. Ideally, the propolis is ground into a powder before mixing it with the alcohol in order to maximize its surface area. This will make it easier for the alcohol to dissolve the propolis.
Pour the propolis and alcohol into a jar, cap it and shake. Let the alcohol soak in for 24 hours. Stir occasionally and then filter out the solids through a fine mesh cloth, paper filter, or cotton ball.
The resulting tincture can be stored in a glass bottle for longer storage or in a jar in a cool, dry place. This is the most common and convenient method for preparing propolis tincture.
You can also purchase a ready-made tincture or extract of propolis in the store. These preparations have been commercially tested for safety and efficacy, but they are usually not as concentrated or potent as the homemade tinctures.
The process of making propolis tincture is not hard to follow, but it is important to choose the right alcohol and allow the mixture to soak for several weeks before filtering it out. A good quality tincture should be at least 70 percent ethyl alcohol. It is also best to avoid cheap alcohols that have been denatured with chemicals that are not compatible with the intended end-use of the product. Symptoms such as irritation, burns or poisoning can occur when the product is prepared with unsuitable alcohol.