The story about how propolis is made by bees is quite different and unlike the way bee pollen is collected. Propolis contains a number of polyphenols which can also be found in bee pollen. However, the quantity found in propolis is much higher than the other. Bees use pollen as food. However, the propolis is collected for a different reason. The objective of collecting the resin is simple and that is to prepare the glue like substance, which is used by bees to seal their hives.
Trees produce resins to protect themselves from external attacks from insects and parasites. Whenever they are attacked by these organisms, the tree releases the resin to seal off the area and even kill the insects and the larvae which could be infecting it. It acts as a protective measure against ultraviolet rays from the sunlight. Ultraviolet rays can also cause free radicals, and the resin produced by trees act as an antioxidant to deal with this issue. Bees were perhaps quick to understand the powers of resin produced by trees and decided to use the same for their own benefit.
When bees collect the resin from the plants, it undergoes a change and is turned into a glue like substance, which contains other materials such as pollen, beeswax and nectar. It is used to seal the entrances of the beehives to protect the newborn larvae from external attacks.
The use of propolis to deal with conditions related to humans dates back centuries. The Egyptians even used this product to mummify bodies apart from using it as a remedy against skin disorders. In modern times, it has been noted that tribals in rain-forests have also been using propolis for a variety of reasons. It has been only recently that people living in the cities have been able to lay their hands on this product after being promoted by major manufacturers.
Even today there are no indications available to show that propolis will be produced by manufacturers in clinical laboratories at sometime in the future. This product will stay as the sole domain of honey bees, and it will have to be collected by them before being converted into the compound which is now available to people. Some manufacturers have claimed that they have discovered methods to extract the material required at their facilities. However, no evidence is available about whether such products will prove helpful to humanity.
Propolis is a natural substance, and it is best that it is not tampered with. The procedure is best left to the original producers of this product, and that is the honeybees that have been producing it from centuries.