Propolis

History

Propolis, or bee-glue, is a waxy substance produced from tree resin and sap collected by bees. The word propolis derives from the Greek pro, meaning “in front of”, and polis, meaning “community or city”. Combined with beeswax and salivary secretions, it is used as a cement-like sealant to repair and maintain beehives, and reduce the occurrence of microorganisms inside the hive to protect the bees from infections.Propolis is typically derived from alder, beech, birch, poplar, willow, and pine. Its makeup and color will vary based on the types of trees and flowers in an area, but most commonly it is dark brown. At and above room temperature Propolis is sticky, but it hardens and becomes brittle at lower temperatures. Propolis was used medicinally by ancient cultures, including the Greeks, Assyrians and Egyptians. Traditionally it was used topically to support a healthy inflammatory response.* Bees use propolis to embalm invaders in the hive that they are not able to remove from the hive, and historically humans have used it to embalm mummies.

Function

Modern herbalists have used Propolis to support a variety of health concerns, and it is a common ingredient in natural oral care products and cosmetics.* Studies have supported its topical use, as well as its use as an oral rinse and to support the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory system.* Today it also is used to support healthy immune system functions and soothe mucosal tissues.*

Uses of Propolis

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Plant resins, beeswax, essential oils, phenolic compounds and flavonoids, pollen, caffeic acid derivatives

Parts Used

  • Whole resin

Important precautions

Avoid if allergic to bees, use by vegans is controversial

Additional Resources

Cohen, H. A., Varsano, I., Kahan, E., Sarrell, E. M., and Uziel, Y. Effectiveness of an herbal preparation containing echinacea, propolis, and vitamin C in preventing respiratory tract infections in children: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study. Arch.Pediatr.Adolesc.Med. 2004;158(3):217-221.

Gebaraa, E. C., Pustiglioni, A. N., de Lima, L. A., and Mayer, M. P. Propolis extract as an adjuvant to periodontal treatment. Oral Health Prev.Dent. 2003;1(1):29-35.

Hoheisel O. The effects of Herstat (3% propolis ointment ACF ) application in cold sores: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Clinical Research 2001;4:65-75.

Magro-Filho O, de Carvalho AC. Application of propolis to dental sockets and skin wounds. J Nihon Univ Sch Dent 1990;32:4-13.

Steinberg, D., Kaine, G., and Gedalia, I. Antibacterial effect of propolis and honey on oral bacteria. Am.J.Dent. 1996;9(6):236-239.

Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z. A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine 2000;7:1-6.

Herb Reference Guide

 
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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