Aside from the vital role bees perform in plant pollination, they also provide humans with several health-boosting substances – honey itself has numerous therapeutic properties; bee pollen and bee propolis also offer amazing health benefits.
Bee propolis – also known as “bee glue” – is a sticky substance derived from tree resin collected by bees.
“Bee propolis begins as a resin secreted by trees. Bees metabolize it, and the resulting substance is about 30 percent beeswax, 55 percent resins and 10 percent aromatic oils and ethers. It is responsible for creating a sterile, safe environment within bee hives, so it’s no surprise that it has antibiotic, antiviral and other healing properties.”
Bees gather the sap during warm weather, blending it with wax flakes they store in their abdomens. The resulting mixture is rolled into a ball by the bee and then stored in the pollen basket attached to the bee’s leg. Once a bee gathers enough propolis, it takes it back to the hive.
“At this point, the propolis is unloaded and used to patch up holes in the hive. Bees also use propolis as an antiseptic barrier covering invaders with the sticky substance to prevent hive contamination.”
Bee propolis health benefits
NaturalHealth365 has listed nine health benefits of bee propolis. These include:
Cancer-fighting properties – Propolis has been shown to be effective in killing cancer cells. Unlike other mainstream cancer treatments, propolis kills only cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Bone health – Propolis helps in the growth and maintenance of healthy bones. It fights inflammation and stops bones from deteriorating.
Food poisoning treatment – Due to its antimicrobial properties, the three most common microorganisms associated with food poisoning – Enterobacter faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and C. jejuni – can be fought using bee propolis.
Inflammation relief – Bee propolis is an effective treatment for oral inflammation and infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also useful in the treatment of arthritis, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Blood pressure management – Bee propolis can be used to decrease TH (Tyrosine hydroxylase) enzyme activity. This enzyme can inhibit the production of nitric oxide, which is important for healthy hearts. Propolis reduces hypertension and helps keep blood pressure at healthy levels.
Wart removal – Applied topically, propolis can get rid of often difficult-to-remove plantar warts. A daily application for two weeks should do the trick.
Allergy relief – Propolis blocks histamine response, making it an effective treatment against allergy symptoms such as runny noses and itchy red eyes.
Protection against heat stress – Due to its combined antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and other properties, propolis can protect against heat exhaustion while also improving athletic performance in high temperature environments.
Illness prevention and treatment for infections – The various health-boosting properties of bee propolis can help in treating and preventing colds, flu and other germ-transmitted illnesses. Propolis fights a wide range of bacteria, viruses and fungi and provides a general boost to the entire immune system.
Propolis available in lozenges, capsules and topical applications
Bee propolis is available in many forms, including lozenges that are effective in treating sore throats, capsules that can be taken internally, and tinctures, gels or ointments for topical use.
People who have a history of allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to bee stings or other bee products may also experience similar reactions to bee propolis. Always read the label before using any propolis products and consult with a health care provider if you have any questions.
For most people, however, using bee propolis is a completely safe and natural way to boost your health and treat a variety of common ailments.
Propolis is used for canker sores and infections caused by bacteria (including tuberculosis), by viruses (including flu, H1N1 “swine” flu, and the common cold), by fungus, and by single-celled organisms called protozoans. Propolis is also used forcancer of the nose and throat; for boosting the immune system; and for treating gastrointestinal (GI) problems including Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcer disease. Propolis is also used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
People sometimes apply propolis directly to the skin for wound cleansing, genital herpes and cold sores; as a mouth rinse for speeding healing following oral surgery; and for the treatment of minor burns.
In manufacturing, propolis is used as an ingredient in cosmetics.
1. Anti-Microbial Action
Propolis has a wide range of antibacterial properties. It is also has anti-fungal and anti-viral powers. In one animal study, applying a propolis solution to wounds helped speed healing in diabetic rats.
In children, propolis has been found to:
- Prevent respiratory tract infections
- Remedy symptoms of the common cold
- Prevent middle ear infections
2. Heals Burns
A 2002 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that propolis may promote the healing of minor burns. The researchers compared a propolis skin cream with silver sulfadiazine, a drug used to treat burns. Study results showed propolis was just as effective as the drug in treating second-degree burns.
3. Prevents Dental Cavities
Greek and Roman physicians used propolis as mouth disinfectant. Modern studies show it may be effective in the treatment of periodontitis and gingivitis.
Many studies have also found that extracts from bee glue limit bacterial plaque and reduce tooth caries.
Other studies show that propolis may even help regenerate dental pulp, as well as bone tissue, and cartilage.
4. Treats Parasites
Preliminary trials show propolis may eliminate parasites. In one study people who took propolis had a 52 to 60% success rate in eliminating the parasite giardiasis.
5. Wart Removal
In a single-blind, randomized, 3-month trial, 135 patients with different types of warts received oral propolis, echinacea, or a placebo. The results were reported in the International Journal of Dermatology. Patients with plane and common warts achieved a cure rate of 75% and 73%, respectively. The results were significantly better than those associated with echinacea or placebo.
Propolis is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin appropriately. It can cause allergic reactions, particularly in people who are allergic to bees or bee products. Lozenges containing propolis can cause irritation and mouth ulcers.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking propolis if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Asthma: Some experts believe certain chemicals in propolis may make asthma worse. Avoid using propolis if you have asthma.
Bleeding conditions: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking propolis might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergies: Do not use propolis if you are allergic to bee by-products including honey, conifers, poplars, Peru balsam, and salicylates.
Surgery: A certain chemical in propolis might slow blood clotting. Taking propolis might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking propolis 2 weeks before surgery.
None interactions are recorded.
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