Propolis (also known as "bee glue") is a resinous substance produced by honey bees from tree buds and sap. It’s used to seal small spaces in the hive, which protects inhabitants from wind, rain, and animal intrusion.
The use of propolis goes back to the ancient Greeks and Assyrians who knew of its wound-healing properties. It was also used by the Egyptians in the embalming process.
Propolis Has Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Viral PropertiesPropolis is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids —compounds also found in plants. Propolis and its flavonoids have been linked with an antibacterial effect in a number of studies,1 including those involving methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.2
This antibacterial property is responsible, in part, for an ability to protect against dental cavities.3,4 Propolis flavonoids also appear to be effective against herpes and some fungi.5-7
Propolis may Protect Against CancerIn addition to its antibacterial and antiviral benefits, propolis and its components have anti-cancer properties.8 Propolis has been shown to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cultured human liver cancer cells.9
In addition, two of its components, caffeic acid and caffeic acid phenethyl ester have demonstrated an ability to delay tumor development and improve survival times in mice.10
Propolis is Good for Your TeethThe best known use for propolis is in the area of oral health. It fights cavities, hardens enamel, decreases tooth sensitivity, reduces oral pathogens, and improves symptoms of periodontitis.11-14
As a mouth rinse it’s been found to reduce gum bleeding as well.15
Propolis Heals WoundsThe use of propolis is not limited to the mouth. For example, in a study of individuals with diabetic foot ulcers, topical propolis enhanced wound closure and enhanced healing.16
The Bottom Line Like honey and royal jelly, the uses of bee propolis are many. Future research anticipates the revelation of even more health-giving properties of this promising natural substance.
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