What are some of the uses of propolis for humans that would make humans pay $48 a pound?
You can start with a shortage of quality propolis on the market. There are many "refined" capsules, powders, and other products "containing" propolis. Most "propolis" is some fraction of being pure and sold as some health product. And I suppose some just don't want to buy such items as pollen, royal jelly, and propolis from overseas producers, for concerns of what usually is in it. Most propolis is from overseas suppliers. Propolis really is not regulated as it is not a food product. But it is used in the health care industry.
Raw, unrefined, and pure propolis, not "killed" by cleaning with alcohol is not easy to find. Especially at a quality that some would want to put in cosmetics, tinctures, lotions, soaps, and other products. I have customers ask if it has been cleaned, frozen, or processed with alcohol. They know exactly what they want. Some want hardened "reddish" propolis, while some other favor the sticky goo type.
It's simple.......anyone can throw some junk out there by scraping the box edges, having paint ships in it, dirt, bee parts, etc. That is what you normally get in many instances. Provide a clean products, build a few contacts, and you can almost ask what you want for the stuff, if you have a good product.
Of course propolis is like honey. Some sell honey for 3 dollars a pound (these are usually the folks that say that is all they need to charge, and do not want to charge more as if they are helping so many others by selling cheap. But it usually just means they have no clue how to properly market and sell their hard earned product, much more valuable than 3 dollars a pound.) Then you have others who did the legwork and sell at designer stores and other location charging much higher than 3 dollars. And some get a premium price for their reputation and repeat customers as they expect the best. But how can honey sell for anywhere from 3 dollars to 15 dollars a pound? Different quality, different marketing, different buyers, etc.
BTW....some of the most expensive and profitable products that use propolis are not used by humans. ;) The real propolis market is for certain animals. And those that buy it, demand just as high quality as they would if they were putting it on their own faces. ;)