Propolis is a sticky substance that bees make from the sap (or resin) found around the buds of trees and other plants. This sap has natural antibiotic properties and protects the plant from infection. Because bees collect propolis from a variety of plants, it contains many different disease-resistant compounds. In fact, it's spread on the inside of hives to prevent disease. Propolis can also be spread on the skin of people to prevent infections around cuts or to treat minor skin infections, including those seen in HIV. Some people spread the substance on skin affected by shingles or herpes cold sores. Test-tube studies suggest that propolis is effective against the herpes virus. People with HIV may also chew raw propolis (or use the tincture as a mouth wash) to prevent or treat mild thrush. Raw ground propolis is available from health food stores and beekeepers. Propolis may be dissolved in a tincture or added to skin creams.