Friday, March 6, 2020

Consider Propolis Throat Spray

I'm fed up with the flood of dodgy Corona virus baloney on social media. Factor in a president circulating falsehoods and noise (I think he's decided Corona virus is "against" him, so he's giving it his traditional oppositional treatment), and we all need to simmer down and let health authorities dominate the airwaves (yeah, under Mike Pence's control, but smart insiders insist CDC would resign en masse rather than make false statements).

So I don't want to hear your dentist's thoughts, or be forwarded the damned emails everyone's circulating.


I'm doing something different, and my urge to shut the hell up is oh-so-slightly exceeded by my obligation to share. Forgive my hypocrisy.

I wrote a few years ago about propolis, a natural antibiotic/anti-viral/antifungal/antiseptic produced by bees to keep the hive hygienic. If a mouse gets into the hive and dies, they coat the body with this stuff and all is hunky dory.

For centuries, beekeepers tended to be in oddly good health. It's propolis. Since I found out about it, twenty years ago, I've used it, with unerring success, for bugs of any sort...a sort of minor league antibiotic/antiviral. One example: medicine offers very little help for gum infections. Smear a drop of propolis tincture over the area with your fingertip and it will be knocked out pronto (rarely, I'll have to re-apply the following day).

Why isn't this more widely known? Because it can't be tested. Ever. No two samples of propolis are the same, because bees make it ad-hoc from natural resins, and different ones are found in different locales. There is no one thing you can call propolis, so there's no  specific substance to test. It may forever be deemed folk medicine.

They now formulate propolis as a throat spray for colds. I use it at first sign of sore throat, and it goes away with stunning speed, though you need to fiddle with dosage (see below).

So while I'm following all CDC guidelines, I'm also keeping a little bottle of this, available for about $12 on Amazon, handy. I've bought several two-packs to give to older people (who are especially vulnerable), after filling them in on the cautions at the bottom of this posting.

There are no known side-effects/dangers (again, it's been used for centuries), but there are things to bear in mind, and I'll lay them out below. Here's the upshot: treat it respectfully. Take as little as you can as seldom as you can. It should never be an everyday/week thing.

Except you do need to "trail" treatment with colds. When I first used propolis throat spray for a cold, it was quickly effective on symptoms, but the cold kept returning 24-36 hours later. So now at first sign of cold, I do a spray to the left side of my throat and one to the right side (inhaling deeply to draw it down) and repeat every 6 hours or so for a few days even after symptoms have disappeared. With the current virus so worrisome, I may continue 5 days from my initial application, perhaps reducing dosage to every 8 or 12 hours after the first couple of days.

Things to Know

1. Propolis is a natural blood thinner. If you're on blood thinners, take caution. I am on Plavix, but the spray's dosage is quite low (more standard propolis tincture, which I use for everything other than sore throat, is much more potent). So I use it sparingly, and am extra careful about avoiding bleeding perils, and treating wounds alertly.

2. Propolis is what Chinese medicine calls "heating". In fact, it's among the most heating substances out there, along with alcohol and hot/spicy foods. Avoid both while on propolis to avoid feeling sweaty/clammy/irritated/hyped up, especially if you're menopausal or if you meditate a lot.

3. Bees are finicky about the cleanliness of the resins they forage from the environment. But they can't detect heavy metals. And heavy metals remain cumulatively in your system. It would be wild overstatement to assume all propolis contains heavy metals, but you can't (ever) be sure. It's just another reason to limit use.

4. Propolis tincture, containing a brownish resin, can temporarily stain teeth (it goes away, and, meanwhile, it's actually fighting plaque). I haven't had this happen with the lower-dosaged spray. But no biggie either way.

5. All the above cautions apply more to propolis tincture than to the dilute spray. You shouldn't have any problem. But, still, don't use it willy-nilly, e.g. as a preventative. It's not candy!

I have no financial interest in the bee industry, generally, or either product linked, specifically.

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