Bee’s make more than just honey. Bee propolis is a waxy substance that acts like glue to patch holes, crakes and build panels in their hive. It is made from a combination of evergreen tree resin, beeswax and pollen. This yellow sticky substance has many more uses than just as structural support. It also has many health benefits.
Bee Propolis has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for a wide range of conditions including fighting viruses and bacterial infections, strengthening the immune system, for oral health, treating allergies, getting rid of warts, heal cold sores and more. Propolis has been shown to provide strong antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant, antipyretic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects.
Historical and scientific support for bee propolis is wide-ranging. Historically it has been used to embalm cadavers as an antipyretic, as a mouth antiseptic and wound treatment and even used in clinics during the second world war for tuberculosis and wounds. In the 17th century London, propolis was listed as an official drug for its wide-ranging healing benefits. Other historical uses include use to treat wounds, burns, sore throat and stomach ulcers.
Current uses include use as an antibiotic alternative, as an antiviral, anti-inflammatory, for warts and herpes, to support healing from colds and flu, as a mouthwash and toothpaste, cold lozenge, and use in many beauty products and healing creams.
It can be used both internally and externally for topical application. Topically it can help to reduce the multiplication of unhealthy cells, such as precancerous or cancerous cells. Studies have shown strong support for its use to heal wounds. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects help to calm infection and support healing, while the cicatrization-enhancing properties help to close wounds and allow the skin to form healthy scars if needed.
A burn clinic in Proto Socorro para Queimaduras, Brazil tested its use on burn victims. They tested one area of burn with a bee propolis solution and another area of wounds without. The results showed that the areas of burn treated with the bee propolis showed less inflammation and healed quicker than areas not treated. Another study tested the use of bee propolis on healing herpes warts, which showed that those treated with a bee propolis solution healed from their outbreak quicker than those who were not.
Internally one of the most touted uses is for its application as an antibiotic alternative. Although antibiotics save lives, their use comes with a host of side effects. Overuse has wide-ranging consequences including antibiotic resistance so its wise to use alternatives when possible. One study analyzed the use of bee propolis with preschool children and school-aged children during cold season. The children who took bee propolis had fewer cases of cold and those who did get sick showed fewer symptoms and a shorter duration of illness.
When it comes to cancer research propolis was shown in animal models to inhibit DNA synthesis in tumour cells by stimulating apoptosis – the ability of cells to kill unhealthy cells. Used alongside chemotherapy it can even have a protective effect against the toxicity of the chemotherapy drugs and improve the effectiveness of the chemo.
When it comes to its anti-inflammatory properties research suggest that it carries many different properties that contribute to this effect including flavonoids, , quercetin and more. Flavonoids are plant chemicals that help with cell signalling pathways and antioxidant benefits. While quercetin helps to reduce histamines, which product inflammation. There is promising evidence that a tincture of bee propolis can help to reduce prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which contribute to inflammation and other issues.
Resources & Studies
The science supporting the use of bee propolis is extensive and honesty there is just too much to cover. We’ve compiled a list of resources below if you care to look into some of the studies for yourselves. The use of propolis is considered extremely safe with no known side effects. However, if you have ever had an allergic reaction to bee stings we urge caution if considering using bee propolis.
For illnesses, infections, colds and flus
Ingredients: Echinacea, Goldenseal, Bee Propolis, Myrrh Gum, Wild Indigo, Cayenne, Alcohol, Purified Water