Propolis is one of the oldest drugs in the world. Studies show that it can help fight infections, boost the immune system, and improve type 2 diabetes. Propolis has been used as a healing tool since ancient times. Below you can find the most common benefits and possible harms of propolis.
What is propolis?
The natural form of propolis , also known as bee resin , is a hard, brittle resin that becomes very sticky and waxy when heated. Propolis is produced by honey bees using plant parts and sap (which is where the benefits of propolis actually come from).
Bees use propolis as a type of cement to build, repair and protect their hives against bacteria and intruders. By observing bees, people all over the world have learned to use propolis for thousands of years as a health supplement and even for rituals such as embalming.
Recent research and interest in propolis has revealed its potential health benefits for lowering blood pressure, strengthening bones, helping to heal wounds and protecting the liver.
This article will guide you through modern uses of this ancient remedy.
How is propolis made?
The chemical structure of propolis is closely related to its geographical origin, flora and bee species. It can even vary widely from hive to hive. Organic propolis is typically dark brown or green in color, has a sweet odor, and consists of:
- Essential oils (varies by region, usually basil, thyme, and geranium)
- Other compounds such as acids, sugars and vitamins (B, C and E)
The main active ingredients in propolis are flavonoids such as chrysin, which are powerful antioxidants that bees get from plant and flower parts. Bees make propolis by mixing their saliva with plant material, pollen and wax.
More than 300 biologically active components have been identified in propolis so far, including fragrant chemicals, acids, carbohydrates, plant oils and vitamins. As worldwide interest increases, new types of propolis are being discovered.
What are the benefits of propolis?
Here are the benefits of propolis substance by substance:
1- Heals wounds, burns and acne
The first ingredient among the benefits of propolis is that it is good for skin problems such as wounds, burns and acne.
Wound healing is a complex series of finely tuned steps such as hemostasis, inflammation, cell proliferation and tissue remodeling.
The flavonoid content of propolis provided accelerated wound healing in some studies. It regulates the extracellular matrix components according to the stage of wound repair.
Diabetic animal wounds healed much faster with topical (regional) application of propolis. Interestingly, propolis reduced postoperative pain and bleeding in patients who underwent tonsillectomy without any adverse effects.
One study demonstrated the antibacterial effect of propolis on acne. This study used a product containing propolis (20%), tea tree oil (3%) and aloe vera (10%) on different skin types.
Caffeic acid, benzoic acid and cinnamic acid residues in propolis showed strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This product reduced acne and its associated scars better than its synthetic counterparts.
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2- Contributes to oral health
The second item among the benefits of propolis is its enormous effect on our oral health. Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, propolis can help prevent cavities, cavities, gingivitis , and periodontal disease.
Some oral bacteria (for example: Streptococcus mutans ) colonize the tooth surface and form dental plaques. The polyphenols in propolis block bacterial enzymes involved in forming dental plaque.
50% propolis extract showed antiseptic effects against gingivitis in rats. It interacts with synthetic compounds found in mouthwashes such as chlorhexidine to kill various dental microbes and prevent them from sticking and accumulating.
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3- Reduces chronic hair loss and promotes hair growth
The third item among the benefits of propolis is that it reduces hair loss and lengthens our hair.
Alopecia, or hair loss, can occur when a person loses more than 100 hairs per day. Many women and men are affected by this dermatological disorder. To solve this crisis, several oral and topical hair growth promoters have been approved by the FDA. However, natural remedies seem to be safer and more beneficial in this case.
Experiments have shown that hair wax made with propolis and arugula promotes hair growth in animals. The reason behind this feature may be the high polyphenolic content. Propolis flavonoids improve blood circulation and nutrition of hair follicles.
Sometimes inflammation and microbial infections can cause hair loss. The reason behind why propolis prevents hair loss may be the ideal anti-inflammatory and antifungal agents that prevent hair loss, such as the phytochemicals in it.
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4- It can prevent the progression of cancer
Among the benefits of propolis, there are also anticancer properties. Mouse studies have demonstrated the anticancer role of propolis polyphenols. Caffeic acid, quercetin, chrysin, artepillin C, nemorosone, galangin, cardanol and caffeic acid phenethyl ester have cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects.
Propolis has shown efficacy against breast, liver, pancreas, brain, head and neck, skin, kidney, bladder, prostate, colon and blood cancers. This effect is attributed to the antioxidant effect of the resin.
Also, the active ingredients in bee resin stop programmed cell death (apoptosis and mass necrosis), cell division, this helps anti-angiogenesis (stops tumors from developing their own blood cells), prevents metastasis (spreading) and relieves moderate side effects caused by chemotherapy. Crisis and caffeic acid phenethyl ester in propolis have an important role in this regard.
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5- Eliminates bacteria, fungi and viruses
The fifth and last item among the benefits of propolis is that it protects us from bacteria and viruses. Propolis is known to fight viral diseases such as herpes and HIV/AIDS . It is particularly effective against bacteria that cause upper respiratory tract infection, especially bacterial infections that overlap with viral ones.
This property can be mainly attributed to pinocembrin, galangin and pinobanksin in it. These active compounds can stop microbial cell division, collapse the cell wall and membrane, inhibit protein synthesis and ultimately kill the pathogen.
There is ongoing work to understand the mechanism behind the antifungal and antiviral activity of propolis. It has also been suggested that propolis interferes with the spread of the virus at the molecular level.
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Are there any harmful effects of propolis?
We learned what are the benefits of propolis. What about the damages?
You should not use propolis if you have asthma or are allergic to bee by-products (including honey), conifers, poplars, Peruvian balsam, and salicylates. Propolis might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders or during surgery.
How is propolis used?
Propolis is available in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powder, extract, and lozenges. Considered for topical use, it is found in ointments, creams, lotions, and other personal care products.
There is no recommended daily dosage of propolis, and there are not enough human studies to determine how much propolis should be taken to support health conditions. That is why it is best to take it in moderation and consult a doctor if necessary.
As a result
As you can see above, propolis, also known as bee resin, has many benefits and makes great contributions to our health. Moreover, it is quite safe to use. However, a possible allergic reaction may occur in some people, although it is unlikely.
We hope that ” what are the benefits and harms of propolis? “We were able to give a satisfactory answer to your question. Healthy days.