Propolis Uses and Benefits

If you want to find out all about propolis uses and benefits read on! The name comes from the Greek language and literally means pro = “at the entrance to” and polis = “city or community”. A fitting description given that bees use it to protect their hive!

How is Propolis Made?

Propolis is a natural, sticky resin mixture that bees collect from substances secreted from plants, buds, and exudates. Exudates are any substances that ooze from the pores of plant tissue, such as resins, gums, or oils. To make propolis, bees combine the resinous mixture with saliva and beeswax. Also known as ´bee glue´, propolis is used to seal cracks, and to protect the hive from predators, bacteria and other contaminants.

The unique benefits of propolis are known for thousands of years. The Egyptians and the ancient Greek used it for healing wounds, while Indians and Japanese turned it into powder to preserve dried meat and fish, berries and roots for longer periods of time.

Chemical Composition

For centuries people use propolis in traditional medicine to heal wounds and infections. It has a very complex chemical composition, and includes more than 300 different compounds. The main ones are Flavonoids, Propolis extract, Benzoic acid, and Artepillin C.

Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient with antioxidant properties that help to protect cells from damage. They are one of the most important agents due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and antioxidant effects.

Propolis extract is the main active ingredient in propolis and has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Benzoic acid is a compound that has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Artepillin C is an antioxidant flavonoid that also has anti-bacterial properties.

It also contains essential oils, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. All these compounds work together to give propolis its unique healing properties.

Uses of Propolis

Biological Properties of Propolis

Propolis has a long history of use in traditional medicine for treating a wide variety of conditions and has many benefits and uses. For example, healing wounds and infections because of its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be for internal and external use, to treat wounds, ulcers, abscesses, and infections, as well as boost the immune system, treat digestive issues, and ease respiratory problems.

Thanks to its many beneficial qualities, propolis is often used in a variety of products. These include dietary supplements, ointments, creams and sprays, and cosmetics. Supplements are available in capsules, tablets, tinctures or liquid extract form.

Medical Research

Medical Studies – Photo by Karolina Grabowska

According to various studies, propolis has a promising role in future medicine,  and specifically in dentistry. Korean Researchers  discovered that after only one month of using propolis twice daily before meals or brushing teeth reduces dental plaque buildup. Another study confirms that propolis can significantly lower specific plaque and symptoms of gingivitis. It slows down growth of bacteria and improves gum disease, oral hygiene, and oral health. A study by the University of Plymouth showed that propolis can also lower blood pressure.

Propolis is generally safe to use but should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Some allergic reactions may include hives, itching, swelling or difficulty breathing. If you are allergic to bee stings you are more likely to be allergic to all other bee products.

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