Propolis Tincture

As a beekeeper it’s easy to get my hands on some propolis – as a holistic wellness lifestyler… I am glad that I can! It’s not that it’s rare or really hard to come by (because the internet has made getting things in ones possession a lot easier); it’s that I know the history, the cleanliness of our hives. There are never any chemicals going in there… at least – not by our hands. If they (the bees) bring it back – then… I guess there may be a small percentage of some random pesticide in there. Fingers are always crossed that it’s a micro amount!

We don’t spray toxins/chemicals around the property and we don’t do mite strips. We’re kind-of an natural/clean-ish homesteading couple. We’re not ‘perfect’ but we are doing our best and working towards natural sustainability.

Keeping things clean around our area has me feeling that it would help make things fairly clean in there! But beyond our property lines… don’t know. The neighborhood is fairly organic and has a love for nature, keeping things free from chemicals; but that doesn’t mean everyone around us is living the perfect, wholeness life of organic awesomeness. (I’m guessing… no on that.)

As I find myself wanting to tincture just about everything! This one is no exception.

Propolis can be a quick extraction or a long one, it’s up to you. But in general – 2 weeks is plenty.

I like that it’s a fairly easy way to get some of this natural healing and health-assistant into one’s body. A few drops into tea, a smoothie, a glass of water… tinctures have a way about them that packs a punch with very small amounts. A fully loaded concentrate! I think it’s one of the reasons I enjoy them so much. Small and mighty!

So, we all know about the amazing awesomeness about honey and even royal jelly but for the propolis – it’s just not as ‘trendy’ (maybe not yet). It’s been used for eons but just not a go-to for most. Because this is the glue-that-binds for the bee colony; it’s dense, sticky, and tough to consume. It’s not glamorous by any means. I think that’s part of the tincture attraction for me as well. I will let the pure grain alcohol do all the work of extracting the constituents so that later… I can drop this beautiful liquid right into my cup of tea!

Propolis is a resin-like heavy wax substance the bees make to plug holes, cracks, etc. in their hives. Keeping them safe and the hive clean while helping keep intruders at bay. Because this wax can vary from year to year, depending on what they can utilize from Mother Nature, you will never get identical propolis – ever. I guess honey would be the same way. No two seasons or hives are alike. It’s really kind-of cool when you think about it!

They collect from trees, and grasses/weeds, flowers, and whatever is offering what they need when they need it. There is a nice sum-up on the Dr. Axe website about the make-up of propolis:

From Dr. Axe –

When scientists have looked closer at the exact chemical composition of propolis, they have found that it actually contains over 300 natural compounds, including amino acids, coumarins, phenolic aldehydes, polyphenols, sequiterpene quinines and steroids. In general, raw propolis is made up of approximately 50 percent resins, 30 percent waxes, 10 percent essential oils, 5 percent pollen and 5 percent of various organic compounds.

Propolis is quite the: Cancer fighter, combats yeast/overgrowth, immune booster, helps relieve sore throat, great for over-all oral hygiene, can help with ear infections, respiratory infections, great for over-all wellness… and these are just a few of what it can help aid and assist in.

Let’s make some tincture already!

* * * * *

This was a small batch, made in a jelly jar.

Scraped propolis from foundations and various spots on the beehive/boxes during a routine check-in.

Not a lot, so the batch is small –

I did give this a quick rinse with water and picked through it, cleaning out any debris.

Propolis pieces

Let it air dry most of the day. *spread out on some paper towel.

Broke it down further – into smaller pieces, then into the jar it goes.

No measuring. (*I have read: to make it – 1 part propolis to 4 parts extractant; for this batch – I am eye-balling and just going-with it.) I just topped it off with Everclear 190 proof. Put parchment between it and the lid. Give it a good shake, label and date, into the dark cabinet it went.

Checking, shaking at least every other day (Because daily? Well, I forget about it sometimes). But for the most part – it was getting a good shake almost everyday! Others that have made this tincture – will call it good after a few days, or in a week. I like that 2 week time-frame. I guess it becomes a personal choice! Like most things in life… right? 🙂

At 2 weeks – the dark amber color of the tincture.

At the two week mark, it gets strained. Through the coffee filter it goes. This stuff stains so be careful if you drip or splash it onto counter-tops (laminate). It also seems that the darker the propolis, the more ability it has to make really dark stains.

Straining the propolis tincture through a coffee filter/mesh strainer.

This is now put into a smaller jar for storing. Still putting parchment between it and the lid since I am using a recycled glass spice jar. I didn’t want the tincture sitting against the metal lid. Erosion will ensue! And… I don’t want that happening!

Pretty amber propolis tincture

Ready for use! 🙂

I am also taking it one step further by pouring enough from the ‘master’ jar into a smaller dropper bottle (again, recycled/repurposed bottle). This really helps control the drops/amount and ease of use.

Smaller dropper bottle; both go back into a ‘dark’ cabinet.

This is one of the quicker tinctures I have made. You could easily make a batch – with your own propolis or some that has been purchased. With the winter months coming up (errr, anytime really) … it’s nice knowing I have a little bit of liquid-amber-gold 🙂 in the kitchen-apothecary!

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