Properties of Propolis and Propolis Health Benefits
Propolis is a natural substance produced by bees that they secrete to seal their hives. Bee wax in combination with propolis and other bee secretions is produced from the buds of poplar and conifer trees. It was used historically by the Egyptians for mummification but today it has a long list of medicinal uses. It is also found in many cosmetics, creams, chewing gums and ointments. It is used as an enamel hardener and a natural sealant for dental carries.
Propolis contains amino acids, ethanol, minerals, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, E and may contain antioxidant properties due to the presence of chemicals like bioflavonoid, terpenes, phenolic, cinnamic and caffeic acids and also have natural antibiotic effects. For this reason some people use it for general nutritional supplement, however to meet the nutritional requirements large amounts need to be consumed. The caffeic acid in propolis may be beneficial in colon cancer and the bioflavonoid may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Propolis may be beneficial to inhibit bacteria and virus that cause common cold, flu, parasitic infections and herpes simplex virus (type1 and type 2).
Natural Propolis and Propolis Nutrition
Propolis may stimulate the immune system and when used in the form of mouthwash is effective in healing surgical wounds in mouth. Propolis is largely used for dentistry purposes as a dental plaque cure, for dental pain treatment, gingivitis and dental cavities. Propolis is also used as a treatment for healing partial thickness of burn wounds cure. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis when treated with tropical application of propolis showed improvements in the symptoms compared to the placebo group in a study. However more scientific researches are required to prescribe propolis as a primary treatment for most of these health conditions.
Propolis is not studied for its toxicity, safety and effectiveness when used in certain doses. Generally when taken in recommended doses it is well tolerated and considered safe. Repeated application of products containing propolis on skin may cause redness, burning, swelling, fluid collection, eczema, fever and other allergic reactions. Propolis extracts when taken by mouth can cause irritation around the mouth. Propolis should be avoided in children and in pregnancy and lactation, as scientific researches regarding its safety in them are lacking. Many tinctures with high alcohol content should be specially avoided during pregnancy.
Propolis can also interact with certain drugs, herbal or dietary supplements, thus it is advisable to take products containing propolis in recommended doses under the guidance and supervision of a health care professional. It should be immediately discontinued if a person experiences any allergic reactions with its use.