With the winter gloom set in we are often indoors for the majority of the day and our immune system is working overtime to beat winter colds and flu's circulating the office or home.
Nature shows us a way to protect ourselves through the humble honey bee. This amazing creature has a way of strengthening its hives which we have been using for centuries to protect our immune system - yet is still not widely know about by the masses.
Propolis is a natural resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree buds to coat their hives and prevent infection. Propolis contains tree resin, essential oils, waxes and is one of nature's richest sources of bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids have been used in alternative medicine as an aid to enhance the action of vitamin C, as an antioxidant, and to treat allergies, viruses, or arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
The history of this sticky goodness includes use by the Egyptians for disease prevention, infection as well as mummification! The Romans were avid users and the Russian army included propolis in its First World War first aid kit, earning the nickname "Russian Penicillin". More recently ladies in the far-east have smeared the bee goodness nightly all over their faces to preserve beauty.
One of the reasons for a lack of knowledge about this amazing natural ingredient is the lack of official medical research. This prevents companies from attaching health claims but the historical use and research that has been conducted, points to the wondrous benefits of this natural ingredient.
As well as needing to boost our immune system, the amount of time indoors means we are not getting the amount of Vitamin D necessary for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Around one in five adults and up to one in four children have low levels throughout the year and the problem has led Public Health England to advise that "everyone needs a daily dose of Vitamin D".
Known as 'the sunshine vitamin' Vitamin D3 is produced underneath our skin as a reaction to sunlight exposure. For those who spend a large proportion of the day indoors or who struggle to get the bulk of their vitamin D from sunlight, a Vitamin D3 supplement is an excellent way to include this essential vitamin in its natural form.
Both Vitamin D3 and Propolis are essential winter supplements to combat the winter gloom and emerge full of joy into spring!