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abr 12, 2017

Brazil’s green propolis sells in Chinese healthcare market

Brazilian green propolis is produced by honeybees in southeastern Brazil's mountainous region of Minas Gerais. The chemical-free substance is an increasingly popular natural balm in China, where clients purchase the product in small bottles that they can then carry around with them everywhere. 

Propolis has a specific texture which can best be described as “gunk” which comes from the mixture of pine resin, wax flakes, and pollen that bees gather and bring to the hive. Bees use the gunk to repair, protect, and build up the hive itself. Appropriately coming from the Greek meaning of “defense of the city”, propolis also acts as a sort of antiseptic barrier to protect the hive from external invaders of the ecosystem, including mice, snakes, lizards, and other animals that could contaminate the beehive. 

And while propolis provides an architectural service to the beehive, it has also long been used in natural medical procedures to treat abscesses, heal wounds, and fight infections. Back in the 17th century, propolis was even listed as an official drug in the London pharmacopeias of the era. Today, the substance is highly studied, bringing up over 2,000 published research studies on PubMed. 

Researchers have found a number of health benefits, including antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It helps to heal burns, prevent dental cavities and treat gingivitis when used as a mouth disinfectant. It may also eliminate parasites, remove warts, and is more effective than the pharmaceutical drug to treat genital herpes. Propolis is also used in pharmaceutical mixtures for pastes, cough drops, liquid drops, tablets, and pills.

Like honey, the composition and health benefits of each batch or hive of propolis varies depending on the trees and flowers where it was produced. “Brazil exports more than 140 tons of propolis each year. China and Japan are the top 2 markets,” says Cezar Ramos Junior, from the Brazilian Association of Honey Exporters.

The particular propolis from Minas Gerais is produced by a hybrid of European honey and African killer bees, which are especially prolific producers of propolis and also immune to disease. While propolis can come in a range of colors from dark brown to even white, this particular Brazilian propolis has a green color due to the rosemary tree, specific to the region of Minas Gerais. 

The Apis Familia Cooperation, which produces the green propolis from around 5,000 hives, confirms that the bee apiary is completely free of diseases, antibiotics and any other medicine, leaving the propolis in a pure state. When workers open the beehives to extract propolis, they leave a relatively large hole to encourage bees to produce more propolis and fill it. Then, the propolis is sent directly to the factory for processing, and the bees move on to produce honey. 

“Green propolis is the national treasure of Brazil,” said Nivia Macedo, the manager of the family apiary, during a visit from the China Daily. “It is our sincere hope that more and more Chinese friends can taste our product.”

The family-owned apiary offers five different kinds of propolis products with different flavors and concentrations based on their clients’ age groups and allergies.