When people think of bee products, more often than not they think of honey, bees however also make beeswax, royal jelly and propolis. Propolis is a very thick substance, this resinous type mixture is made and used by bees to hold their hives together. The substance is made from beeswax and other secretions, along with resins from the buds of poplar and conifer trees. Propolis has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Historically bee propolis was used on minor wounds and as a remedy for a wide range of ailments. Today propolis is commonly found in products such as chewing gum, creams, cosmetics, throat lozenges and is also currently being researched as an option for dental sealants and a tooth enamel hardener.
19 Benefits of propolis
Propolis has many benefits including: antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-viral and inflammatory properties. There are numerous studies with very promising results, let’s take a look at a few.
Anti-Bacterial – Propolis was found to have antibacterial activity against a variety of commonly encountered cocci and Gram-positive rods. Gram-positive cocci bacteria are responsible for one-third of all bacterial infections in humans.
Respiratory Tract Infections– When combined with echinacea and vitamin C, propolis has been effective in preventing respiratory tract infections in children.
Ear Infections– Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active component of propolis has shown to be effective at reducing inner ear inflammation.
Recurrent Ear Infections- Children with recurrent acute ear infections (rAOM) have found relief and lower incidence of recurrence with propolis.
Heals Burns– In this study propolis skin cream was shown to be as effective as common prescription burn creams.
Prevents Cavities-In this animal study, propolis cut cavity rates up to 60% and almost completely stopped a key enzyme that forms dental plaque.
Prevents Gingivitis-This study concluded that honey can be used as an alternative to traditional remedies for the prevention of dental caries and gingivitis following orthodontic treatment. In addition, Due to its antimicrobial activity, propolis also shows promise in the treatment of oral cavity diseases and gingivitis.
Fertility & Endometriosis– A study published in Fertility and Sterility (2003;80:S32) showed that 60% of women with endometriosis related infertility who took 500mg of bee propolis twice a day for 9 months became pregnant as opposed to 20% in the placebo group.
Treats Parasites– One preliminary trial showed that individuals who took propolis experienced a 52 to 60 percent rate of successful elimination of the parasite giardiasis .
Antibiotic properties-Due to the overuse and abuse of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance has become a growing concern. Research has shown that propolis does have antibiotic properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1804186
General Immune Support-Propolis stimulates the immune system and helps to increase the body’s resistance to illness and infection.
Removes Warts-In patients with plane and common warts treated with Propolis, cure was achieved in 75% and 73% of patients, respectively.
Discourages Infection-This study suggests that propolis is a staunch fighter against aggressive bacteria such as E. coli , Candida albicans and S. aureus ( Staphylococcus aureus)
Herpes-HSV infections are common and include cold sores and fever like blisters. Propolis is loaded with antioxidants that help fight infection and boost immune function. People using propolis saw HSV lesions heal faster than those using topical Zovirax.
Blood Sugar-This study shows that propolis inhibits enzymes that increase blood sugar. The study suggests that dietary supplementation could contribute to the prevention and treatments of diabetes mellitus.
Cancer Fighter– Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active component of propolis has shown to be effective at hindering cell growth in both cervical and prostate cancer. In addition propolis from varying regions of the world such as Brazilian red propolis has the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth.
Radiation Induced Damage– Whole body radiation (as received during cancer therapy) can exaggerate the body’s inflammatory response. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of propolis this may be of great therapeutic value in protecting the body.
MRSA-This study shows the first reported anti-MRSA activity.
Protects diabetic heart– Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), an active component of propolis, has several beneficial properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, antiviral, and immunomodulatory activities. These properties have a positive effect on oxidative stress.
Want to learn more?
Look for propolis in your local health food store. Wise Woman Herbals carries a pure propolis tincture that I use in a dental rinse.
A number of people are allergic to honey, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly. An allergic reaction can also be quite severe, even causing rapid anaphylaxis. Before you add propolis to your diet, it is an excellent idea to speak with your practitioner or allergist to be sure you are not allergic.