Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Turning propolis, sticky goo

Into something good for you

Is ever so rewarding.

Hard work and messy

But in the end a blessing.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

Today, Laurie and I made new batches of propolis oil and tincture, from the propolis we had collected from the hives last fall.  First, we had to do the last cleaning step, (see our recent blog – How to Clean Propolis) which was to crumble apart the frozen propolis patties and pick out the remaining debris – wood shavings, beeswax, etc.  A messy job, but much easier to work with than when the propolis is room temperature.  It is  stiff and sticky then!

We did this in the garage, as propolis crumbs dropped on the floor, will need to be SCRAPED up – not fun!  After this messy job, we headed into the kitchen to mix up our “potions.”

crumbling up frozen propolis, picking out debris

crumbling up frozen propolis, picking out debris

We make propolis mixtures two ways – as an oil, and as an alcohol based tincture.  Propolis is not as easily dissolved in oil as it is in alcohol, and the percentage of the mixture isn’t as exact, but we like it better for some applications.  For instance, when using propolis on a cut, the oil is much more soothing than the alcohol tincture!

We have made Propolis Oil two ways in the past, but find that it seems more potent if we use the heated method, than just letting it sit.

Propolis Infused Oil

Here’s the recipe we use for Propolis Oil:

  • .3 oz.   or 10 grams propolis (about 1 TBS)
  • 6.7 fl oz.  or 200 ml olive oil (any healthy vegetable oil is okay to use)
  • (We made a big batch, so we used   2.25 oz.  (7 1/2 TBS) raw propolis and 50 fl. oz. olive oil)

Heated Method

Mix the propolis and olive oil together in the top of a double boiler.  ( small sauce pot in a larger pot partly filled with water)    This helps control the temperature of the oil, which you do not want to get too hot.  This would destroy the beneficial properties of the propolis.  Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature and heat the oil to no higher than 122 degrees F.  Stir and heat for about 10 minutes.  (or longer if you wish).  The propolis will not all dissolve.

Strain this  mixture through cheesecloth (coarser, so faster, but might require a second straining) or a paper coffee filter (finer, so slower, but you end up with a cleaner oil).  The propolis that remains in the filter can be used again to make more oil! (freeze it for another time) Store it in a sealed jar in a dark place.

2 Week Unheated Method

Mix the same quantities/ratio of oil and propolis as above in a container with a sealing lid.  We use canning jars.  Shake up and store in a dark place.  Shake 2-3 times a day, for 2 weeks.  Then proceed as above, to strain.

Propolis Tincture

With Propolis Tincture you can get a more exact percentage, as the propolis dissolves more completely in alcohol.  It is important to use weight measurements rather than volume for this mixture.  It is recommended that you not try to make anything stronger than a 30% solution, as it is harder to get that much propolis to dissolve.  We usually make a 10% solution. Then, after it is done infusing, if we want it stronger, we evaporate the alcohol down by half to make it 20%.

For a 10% tincture,

  • mix 1 part propolis by weight to
  • 9 parts grain alcohol, by weight  (we use 75 proof or higher vodka, or Everclear)  Do not use isopropyl alcohol(rubbing alcohol) – it is poisonous!

Mix together in a lidded container (again, we use canning jars).  Shake.  Store in a dark place. Shake 2-3 times a day for 1-2 weeks.  Then strain the same way as described above for the oil.  Store in a dark place or in a dark jar.  Propolis left in filter material may be reused for another tincture or oil. Use again or freeze for later.

We put our propolis oil and tincture in amber dropper bottles and store in our medicine and kitchen cabinets!

Tune in next time for how we are using propolis oils and tinctures for health and healing!

Psalm 128

1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.

2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.

4 Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.