Propolis – Top Health Benefits

April 10, 2013 Natural remedies

propolisWhat is propolis

Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive” (source: Wikipedia). But twentieth century research showed propolis to be effective also in other ways besides protection against outside elements. It sanitizes the hive by inhibiting bacterial growth and prevents putrefaction within the hive, according to the same source.

Main health benefits

Made of resins from plants and trees, wax, essential oils, pollen an a combination of vitamins, minerals and bioflavonoids, propolis is considered the most powerful natural antibiotic. Although many of the propolis health benefits are only recognized by naturopaths, there is also medical research confirming some of them. One refers to its antibiotic properties and the other to its effectiveness in treating dental problems. A study made in Australia showed that propolis increases the effectiveness of antibiotics by up to 100 folds. Thus, it is used for infections caused by bacteria, viruses (in case of a common cold and even for the H1N1 swine flu), and fungus. Personal experience proved propolis tincture to be a good solution in case of a sore throat. You can just spray it directly in the throat.

Propolis is also recommended by many dental professionals, as it speeds up the healing of wounds and can treat gum diseases. It might even help fight cavities, according to a study made in 2003. Laboratory research showed that propolis inhibited the growth of a bacteria which is known to cause cavities.

A number of studies also confirmed other health benefits of propolis:

- it can help treat hypertension and coronary disease, according to scientific research made in China.

- studies made in Russia found its effectiveness in preventing ulcers, while other studies proved its role in treating skin problems, herpes and allergies – according to the same source. Applying a propolis-based ointment can be more effective than acyclovir in treating herpes, according to a study published in Phytomedicine in 2000.

- it might help treating diabetes, according to an animal based research. Propolis treatment led to lower blood sugar levels and reduced cholesterol.

- it can support the healing of minor burns, having a strong anti-inflammatory effect, showed a research published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Other studies focused on the benefits of bee propolis coming from different geographic areas, as propolis is not entirely produced by bees but also contains vegetation. For example, European propolis has a certain anti-cancer ingredient, not present in Brazilian propolis. Nevertheless, despite the geographic specifics a number of similar health benefits have been identified

- antibacterial

- anti cancer

- anti inflammatory

- hepatoprotective action

- antioxidant action

You can read more about the properties of propolis coming from Europe, Brazil, Cuba, and Taiwan here.

Propolis is available in a variety of forms: from raw to tincture, powder or propolis supplements. It can also be found in ointments and creams. The dosage and administration should be the one recommended by the manufacturer. Before starting to use propolis you should make sure that you are not allergic to it. Lack of enough evidence makes propolis not suitable during pregnancy and breastfeeding.