Propolis is a natural product produced by bees and has been known for many centuries for its healing properties.
What is propolis?
The word propolis derives from the words “pro” and “polis”, which mean “the protection outside the city”. The name implies that propolis is the shield protecting the hive against external enemies, such as wasps and mice. It is the building block of beehives, as it is used to protect and sterilize the whole hive. In addition, it is used as an antimicrobial substance as it does not allow the growth of microbes in the hive.
How it is produced
Bees produce propolis from plant resins that are secreted by the eyes and bark of certain trees. For its production special enzymes are used by the bee as well as small amounts of pollen and wax. Propolis can not be produced by any plant. The most common plants are leeches, birch, willow, oak, beeches, eucalyptus, hippocastanum, various conifers as well as plants producing resins such as the Brazilian Baccharis Dracunculiforia.
Propolis species and nutritional value
Propolis differs from the place of origin and the plants from which it originates. What differentiates propolis species from one another is their nutritional value. In particular, the brown-yellow propolis is rich in flavonoids and is known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Green propolis has more phenolic compounds, is produced mainly in temperate countries and has anti-cancer, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Finally, red propolis is produced in tropical regions and is unique because of lignans and isoflavones content.
The chemical composition of propolis varies from the area and the type of plant from which it originated. According to chemical analyzes it contains hundreds of chemical compounds while its main components are resin, essential oils, wax and pollen. It also contains terpenes, aliphatic acids, flavones, minerals and many vitamins and trace elements.
For many centuries propolis was used as a drug to treat many diseases. Through studies and chemical analyzes it has been proven that propolis has:
- Antioxidant action
- Antiviral activity
- Antifungal and bacteriostatic properties
- Immunostatic action
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-cancer action
Uses and conditions
Due to its many properties, Propolis is currently used in many situations either as a prevention or as a treatment. The most common uses are:
Enhancement of the immune system
Propolis effects and stimulates the action of the phagocytes in the body, thus enhancing body’s defense against viral and bacterial infections. Thanks to its broad antiviral spectrum, it is the ideal ally during the winter as it contributes both to the prevention and treatment of viruses. It is used in cases of sore throat, pharyngitis and sinusitis either alone or in combination with other substances.
The strong anti-inflammatory effect of propolis is attributed to its high flavonoid composition. Especially Brazilian propolis has Artepillin C a very poweful anti-inflammatory compount. Propolis inhibits the production of inflammatory substances, thereby boosting immune system and helping to deal with inflammatory conditions and allergies.
Oral Herpes – HSV1
Oral herpes is due to HSV1 virus (Herpes Simplex Virus-1). According to studies, propolis inhibits the proliferation of virus or even cause fewer lesions. Creates a layer for lip protection while reduces pain and healing time.
Wound healing and skin health
Since ancient times propolis has been used to heal wounds, ulcers and burns. Thanks to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, propolis reduces oxidative stress and microbial proliferation in open wounds, thereby accelerating healing. It also helps to protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by solar radiation and premature aging, as also seems to have a positive effect even in the treatment of eczema.
Many oral hygiene products contain propolis due to its strong antimicrobial and antibacterial action. In particular, the use of toothpaste with green propolis helps in the treatment of gingivitis.
Laboratory studies suggest that propolis has the ability to inhibit the proliferation of anaerobic bacteria, including Propionibacterium bacteria. In particular it inhibits the proliferation of P. acnes, which is the most common cause of acne and cutaneous inflammation.
Many studies have highlighted the antitumor properties of propolis. In particular, it appears to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells or even lead to their apoptosis. However, more studies are needed to prove its benefit in the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Propolis for children
Propolis is safe for children, since there is no allergy to bees and their products. It has a role both in the prevention of viral infections and in their treatment as it strengthens the immune system.
Propolis and pregnancy
Propolis as well as bee products should not be consumed during pregnancy and breastfeeding as there is an increased risk of allergy, anaphylaxis and allergic asthma.
Forms and contraindications
Propolis is available in liquid form, spray or tincture, pastilles, as solid propolis, in capsules, tablets or effervescent tablets. In addition, there are ointments containing propolis that are indicated for wounds, acne, herpes and mouth ulcers.
Solutions and tinctures of propolis due to ethyl alcohol should not be used for more than 4 weeks. People who are allergic to bees and bee products should not use propolis. Propolis is combined with vitamin C, pollen and royal jelly as well as with soothing herbs such as Calendula.
In Vita4you you can find a great variety of products with propolis.