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29 March 2002 News Update


Natural health products manufacturer Comvita New Zealand has introduced a revolutionary new standard to highlight the amount of flavonoids each propolis product contains.

The mysterious bee product propolis - often referred to as nature's best defence - has long been recognised as an effective treatment for all manner of infections. Its powerful combination of antibacterial and antiviral properties has earned propolis a worldwide following.

Now, there's strong evidence that propolis is only as effective as the strength of the flavonoids it contains. Flavonoids, often referred to as bioflavonoids, naturally occur in fruit and vegetables, and account for the colour and much of the nutrition of those foods.

Comvita's market analyst, Robin Deal, says the new standard is aimed at helping customers to identify the most beneficial health products.

"Rather than promoting its products on the basis of propolis concentration, Comvita has recognised it's actually the concentration and variety of flavonoids which give propolis its exceptional health benefits," says Deal.

"We've introduced the Propolis Flavonoid Level, or PFL, in conjunction with our propolis products. A high PFL rating means a high level of flavonoids. This equals better health for the user." Deal says Comvita's propolis has been tested against 20 other international brands and found to have the world's highest PFL rating.

Dr Caroline Davy, who provides consultancy services to Comvita, says the flavonoid content of propolis is largely dependent on the source of the fresh propolis.

"Comvita's propolis comes from unspoilt areas of New Zealand where certain deciduous trees such as willow, birch and poplar produce natural sap and resins with high flavonoid levels," she says.

"Honey bees gather the resins and add their own special substances to make propolis, which they use to protect the hive."

Dr Davy says much of the research surrounding flavonoids at present is centred on their antioxidant effects and the protection they offer from cancer and heart disease.

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