13 Incredible Benefits of Propolis
Propolis is one of four substances bees make. Didn’t know bees produced anything other than honey? That’s alright, most people don’t! Bees produce honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis.
For thousands of years, humans have been using propolis for a variety of different healing purposes: to heal wounds, fight tumors, the Egyptians even used it in their mummification process! This powerhouse substance is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and so beneficial for health in a variety of ways. Here are 13 reasons why it should be a part of your daily routine!
What is Propolis?
Propolis is a substance bees secrete throughout the hive to protect the colony from germs and disease. It is a highly antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich substance bees create from plant and tree resin. Researchers have actually found more than 300 different healing compounds within this substance (mainly polyphenols in the form of flavonoids). Propolis is the bees’ ultimate form of defense and they completely line the hive and egg cells with it to prevent infection.
It is even used when intruders enter the hive. For example, should a rat enter the hive, drawn in by the delicious scent of honey, the bees are able to sting and kill it, but are not able to remove the carcass from the hive. In order to protect from the bacteria of a dead animal they will cover it in propolis.
Benefits of Propolis
Propolis is able to speed up the cell growth process. A 2015 study found that it helped patients with burn wounds heal faster. Along with this, the anti-inflammatory benefits are able to reduce swelling and make way for fresh blood flow.
Another study was able to demonstrate that propolis applied topically to oral wounds after surgery was more effective at reducing mast cell growth than a topical steroid cream. These cells are what lead to more inflammation and slow the healing process.
2. Cold Sores & Genital Herpes
The antiviral activity of propolis is able to kill herpes simplex virus type 1, the virus that causes cold sores. Researchers demonstrated that when applied topically to cold sores, it reduces the healing process and has even been found to reduce the overall amount of the herpes virus within the human body.
Studies have seen similar results in patients with genital herpes. Propolis is actually able to stop the reproduction of herpes to prevent future cases of cold sores and genital herpes.
One study found that propolis played a role in preventing cancer cells from multiplying, reducing the chance that a cell will become cancerous and blocking pathways that allow cancer cells to communicate with each other.
A second study discovered that it may provide anti-tumor activity within breast cancer cells. Researchers are looking at this substance as a potential complementary treatment for cancer patients due to its healing and cancer-fighting abilities.
Dr. Axe states, “Scientists believe that the ability of propolis to prevent cancer from developing in both animal models and human cell cultures is likely the result of its ability to inhibit DNA synthesis in tumor cells as well as its capability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) of tumor cells.”
Surprisingly, there are more than 300 published studies on the use of propolis in relation to cancer. You can browse through them here!
4. Parasitic Infections
Although more research is needed, studies are showing that propolis is more effective at curing parasitic infections (like giardiasis) that the typical pharmaceutical drug known as tinidazole. One specific study looked at 138 giardiasis patients. The propolis resulted in a “52 percent cure rate in children and a 60 percent elimination rate in adults”.
When taken daily for a week, propolis is able to prevent oral thrush in people who wear dentures.
6. Athlete’s Foot
Application of propolis to the feet of athlete’s foot patients reduces redness, peeling and itching.
Topical application of a propolis cream to patients with vaginitis for 7 days was found to reduce swelling and other symptoms.
Studies have found that consuming propolis daily for up to three months can heal warts in many patients. They did not, however, find that it was able to cure plantar warts.
9. Gastrointestinal Disorders
Animal and cell studies have shown that propolis can help treat gut disorders including ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal cancers, and ulcers. However, human trials are needed for more accurate findings.
Propolis is able to prevent the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the main oral bacteria that can cause cavities.
Animal studies looked at diabetic rats and the effects of propolis. They discovered that it was able to balance blood sugar levels as well as reduce cholesterol levels.
12. Immune Support
Propolis can act as an immune booster and help fight against or prevent the common cold or flu. When compared to common cold or flu medications, research participants who took propolis daily to treat their cold or flu recovered two and a half times faster.
It is also a great preventative treatment for children, especially during cold and flu season!
Chronic inflammation throughout the body can wreck havoc on our systems. The anti-inflammatory effects can lead to a host of benefits. Increased wound healing, more energy, less joint pain, less acne, less brain fog and any other ailment that may be caused or aggravated by inflammation.
For those who have allergies to pollen or bees, consult your doctor before using any type of bee product!
How I Use Propolis
I consume propolis on a daily basis just for general wellness and illness prevention. For any who do not know, I am a huge supporter of Beekeeper’s Naturals products. Although there are other bee products on the market from other brands, I have so much confidence in Beekeeper’s Naturals because of their strict commitment to quality. All of their products are free from artificial colors and preservatives, fillers, alcohol, pesticides, gluten, GMOs, and refined sugars.
I use the Propolis Throat Spray (4 sprays daily) as well as their B-Powered Superfood Honey (1 tsp. daily).
And just to clarify, this is not an ad! I was not paid to write this or share my views on their company and products. I simply love them, their sustainable and animal-friendly beekeeping practices and how their products have truly impacted my life for the better.
- B-Powered Superfood Honey by Beekeeper’s Naturals: a blend of all four powerhouse bee products: propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen and honey.
- Propolis Throat Spray by Beekeeper’s Naturals: Concentrated propolis in the form of a spray for easy consumption. They also have a version for kids that includes some honey to make it sweeter!
I love Beekeepers naturals because they are focused are providing the cleanest bee products possible (organic, gluten-free, pesticide-free), while still practicing sustainable and bee-friendly harvesting.