Beekeeping > Healing From The Hive

Questions about Propolis Tincture


I just went through a bunch of old posts on here about propolis tincture, but since most are around 8 years old, I figured I'd bring it up again.  On Bakersdozen's recommendation I purchased Petra Ahnert's book "Beehive Alchemy", and I love it so much I'm reading it cover to cover.  I've been wanting to make some propolis tincture, and her recipe calls for 95% grain alcohol, which is illegal in my state.  I might be able to get some online (not sure whether that's legal or not), but if I can't, what would be a good substitute? 

The book also recommends making the tincture into an oil, and from there into a salve, but I saw on the older posts that some of you seem to be using the tincture straight up.  Can both preparations be used in the same ways?  Why go to the trouble of the salve if the tincture does the job?  Or is it just a matter of preference?       

You can buy the 90%, or 180 proof, in NC.
You can also buy the 95%, or 190 proof, on any military base if you know a service person who has the ability to buy on base.
I'm not familiar with the salve, but it may be more pleasant, as the tincture has a VERY STRONG taste.

Thanks, Wally.  I don't know anyone in the military, but I don't suppose that 5% will make any difference. 


--- Quote from: The15thMember on January 09, 2022, 11:54:02 am ---Thanks, Wally.  I don't know anyone in the military, but I don't suppose that 5% will make any difference.

--- End quote ---
I read that there was a little flexibility in the percentage of alcohol.
I finally found some notes I had taken from a zoom session by Reyah Carlson, a Vermont Apitherapist.  She suggested cleaning the collected propolis under warm running water. (I would be careful none of this went down a drain)  Roll the propolis into a ball and place in between two sheets of wax paper, roll out, and freeze. (This should make it very brittle and easily broken up) Here is her proportions:  1/2 gallon canning jar filled with propolis.  Fill to the top with Everclear.  Let sit for one month, shaking daily.  After one month take a syringe and draw off the clear liquid.  Don't use the sludge, it is useless. Sealed, the liquid will last for ever.  This will make a liquid tincture for external and internal use.  Can put tincture into hot beverages so that the alcohol evaporates off.  You can also add the liquid to skin creams.  Reyah suggests adding your propolis tincture to soap after the lye water and oils have been mixed.  I would presume that is after you have reached trace stage.


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