Propolis supplement health benefit, review by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 23 2014

Bee Propolis, also called "bee glue," is a resinous, gummy substance collected by bees from flowers, buds, and exudates of plants that bees combine with wax to construct and maintain their hives. Due to its waxy nature and mechanical properties, bees use propolis in the construction and repair of their hives for sealing openings and cracks and smoothing out the internal walls and as a protective barrier against external invaders like snakes, lizards, and so forth, or against weathering threats like wind and rain. Bees gather propolis from different plants, in the temperate climate zone mainly from poplar.
   It is a popular folk medicine possessing a broad spectrum of biological activities related to its chemical composition and more specifically to the phenolic and flavonoid compounds that vary in their structure and concentration depending on the region of production, availability of sources to collect plant resins, genetic variability of the queen bee, the technique used for production, and the season in which it is produced.
   In laboratory and animal tests, bee propolis has exhibited a variety of interesting antimicrobial and anti-tumor properties along with hints of possible cardioprotective, vasoprotective, antioxidant, antiatherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic actions.

What's in this superfood?
Propolis is a mixture of resin, essential oils and waxes mixed with bee glue. It it contains amino acid, minerals, ethanol, vitamin A, B complex, E, pollen and highly active ingredients known as flavonoids or bioflavonoids.

Bee Propolis Extract 500 mg pill

Propolis has been traditionally used for its natural disinfecting properties. Valued for centuries, these products are used for energy enhancement and support of general health. Our bee products are stringently tested for purity and potency and gently processed to retain delicate nutrients. This is a natural resinous mixture produced by honey bees from substances collected from parts of plants, buds, and exudates.
 

 



Buy Propolis supplements 500 mg per capsule
Also consider Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly pills.
Suggested Usage: 1 capsule in the morning, or as directed by a health professional. Keep out of the reach of children.

Benefits
Propolis has been used since ancient times in folk medicine.
Laboratory studies also show that propolis has anti-tumor effects. An ointment made of propolis is able to heal genital herpetic lesions (see below). In addition, bee propolis can enhance the immune system and the flavonoids in propolis act as antioxidants. Propolis may even play a role in stomach ulcer prevention. However, since human studies are in short supply, we don't know the full benefit or side effect profile of propolis ingestion as a supplement for prolonged periods.

Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2013. Propolis: a wonder bees product and its pharmacological potentials. Current antimicrobial applications of propolis include formulations for cold syndrome (upper respiratory tract infections, common cold, and flu-like infections), wound healing, treatment of burns, acne, herpes simplex and genitalis, and neurodermatitis. Worldwide propolis has a tremendous popularity, but in India the studies over propolis have just started, not extensively reported except few regions of India like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujrat, and Madhya Pradesh.

Antibacterial
Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of propolis collected by three different races of honeybees in the same region.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2005.
The chemical analysis and antibacterial activity of three types of propolis collected three different races of Apis mellifera bee in the same apiary were investigated. Propolis samples were investigated by GC/MS, 48 compounds were identified 32 being new for propolis. The compounds identified indicated that the main plant sources of propolis were Populus alba, Populus tremuloides and Salix alba. Ethanolic extracts of propolis samples showed high antibacterial activity against Gram-positive cocci (Staphylococcus aureus), but had a weak activity against Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and yeast (Candida albicans). Propolis sample collected by Apis mellifera caucasica showed a higher antibacterial activity than collected by Apis mellifera anatolica and Apis mellifera carnica.

Antifungal
Inhibitory effect of bee pollen and propolis extracts.
Nahrung. 2004.
Bee pollen and propolis were collected from Apis mellifera colonies in five regions of Turkey. The antifungal properties of methanol extracts of pollen and propolis (2% and 5% concentrations) were determined on Alternaria alternata and Fusarium oxysporium f. sp. melonis. The least active concentration towards the tested fungi was 2% concentration of both extracts. The inhibitory effect of all bee propolis extracts on growth of F. oxysporium and A. alternata were generally higher when compared with bee pollen extracts. The growth of A. alternata and F. oxysporium were not affected at both concentrations of pollens. However, F. oxysporium against propolis extracts was more sensitive than A. alternata. None of the bee pollen extracts tested completely inhibited mycelial growth of fungi used in our experiment. Percent inhibition of both pollen concentrations against A. alternata and F. oxysporium was lower than 50%. It is suggested that high concentrations of propolis extract could be used as an antifungal agent against tested fungi.

Antioxidant
Bee propolis contains antioxidant compounds, flavonoids such as chrysin, and animal research has suggested it has anti-tumor properties.

Comparison of bee products based on assays of antioxidant capacities.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009.
Bee products including propolis, royal jelly, and bee pollen are popular, traditional health foods. We compared antioxidant effects among water and ethanol extracts of Brazilian green propolis, its main constituents, water-soluble royal jelly, and an ethanol extract of bee pollen. On the basis of the present assays, propolis is the most powerful antioxidant of all the bee product examined, and its effect may be partly due to the various caffeic acids it contains. Pollen, too, exhibited strong antioxidant effects.

Aphthous stomatitis
Recurrent aphthous stomatitis is a common, painful, and ulcerative disorder of the oral cavity of unknown etiology. Propolis may be effective in decreasing the number of recurrences and improve quality of life in patients.

Depression
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013. Novel antidepressant-like activity of propolis extract mediated by enhanced glucocorticoid receptor function in the hippocampus.

Diabetes and blood sugar
Mutat Res. 2013 Sep 18. Assessment of DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in diabetic mice: effects of propolis and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Ear infection
See otitis media.

Genital herpes
A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV).
Phytomedicine 2000.
Ninety men and women with recurrent genital HSV type 2 participated in a randomized, single-blind, masked investigator, controlled multi-centre study comparing the efficacy of ointment of Canadian propolis containing natural flavonoids with ointments of acyclovir and placebo (vehicle) on healing ability and capacity to remedy symptoms. Treatment was intended to start in the blister phase. All participants had HSV type 2 isolated, confirmed by serum immunoglobulin levels. The participants were examined on the 3rd, 7th and 10th days of treatment by gynaecologists, dermatovenerologists or urologists at seven different medical centres. Apart from clinical symptoms the number and size of the herpetic lesions were noted. At each examination the lesions were classified into four stages: vesicular, ulcerated, crusted and healed. The study ointments were applied to affected areas four times daily. In women with vaginal or cervical lesions a tampon with the appropriate ointment was inserted four times daily for 10 days. Endpoint variables were healing time and time until loss of symptoms. On Day 10, 24 out of 30 individuals in the propolis group had healed. In the acyclovir group 14 out of 30 and in the placebo group 12 out of 30 had healed. The healing process appeared to be faster in the propolis group. In the propolis group 15 individuals had crusted lesions on Day 3 compared to 8 individuals in the acyclovir group and none in the placebo group. On Day 7, 10 participants in the propolis group, 4 in the acyclovir group and 3 in the placebo group had healed. At the initial examination all patients had local symptoms and 28% general symptoms. Of the women, 66% had vaginal superinfections of microbial pathogens at the initial examination. In the acyclovir and placebo groups no change in the vaginal flora was found following treatment whereas in the propolis group the incidence of superinfection was reduced by 55%. An ointment containing flavonoids appeared to be more effective than both acyclovir and placebo ointments in healing genital herpetic lesions, and in reducing local symptoms.

Giardia infection
This bee propolis study was done in mice. Would propolis supplements be also effective in humans?

Effect of propolis versus metronidazole and their combined use in treatment of acute experimental giardiasis.
J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2007. Faculty of Medicine, Ain-Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
One hundred and fifty immunocompetent mice were orally infected by 5 x 10(5) axenically cultivated Giardia lamblia trophozoites. The trophozoite count in intestine, interferon-gamma serum level, histopathological examination of duodenal and jejunal sections were assessed for evaluation of propolis and metronidazole (MTZ) effect after 6 and 12 days post infection. Propolis as prophylaxis showed a significant decrease in intensity of infection, together with a significant increase in IF-gamma serum level and increase in CD4+: CD8+T-cell ratio. In treatment it gave a highly significant decrease in trophozoite count than that obtained by metronidazole 6 days after infection but the efficacy was almost equal after 12 days. The mice treated with propolis alone showed a reversed CD4+: CD8+ T-lymphocyte ratio, such strong immune enhancing effect resulted in an undesirable increase in inflammatory response at intestinal level. The combined therapy showed a stronger efficacy in reducing the parasite count than that gained by each drug alone.

Gout
Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity and hypouricemia effect of propolis in rats
Yakugaku Zasshi. 2005.
The xanthine oxidase (XOD) inhibitory activity of propolis from China and Brazil was measured. Both products were seen to have XOD inhibitory activity. These results suggested that a continuous intake of propolis may be effective for the prevention and the treatment of gout and hyperuricemia.

Hepatitis and liver health
Effects of Cuban red propolis on galactosamine-induced hepatitis in rats.
Pharmacol Res. 1997; Rodríguez S, Ancheta O, Ramos ME, Remírez D. Electron Microscopy Laboratory, National Center for Scientific Research, Havana, Cuba.
Using transmission electron microscopy and biochemical analysis, the effect of cuban red propolis against hepatitis induced by 1,000 mg kg-1 of galactosamine in rats was studied. An ethanolic extract of propolis was prepared and it was given to rats at doses of 10, 50 and 100 mg kg-1, 30 min before the hepatotoxin. Propolis extract prevented hepatocytes alterations induced by galactosamine. It was mainly seen in rough endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complex, nucleus and plasma membrane of hepatocytes. Propolis extract induced reversion of the increased activity of alanine aminotransferase and malondialdehyde concentration in the serum of rats treated with galactosamine.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013. Protective Effect of Brazilian Propolis against Liver Damage with Cholestasis in Rats Treated with α-Naphthylisothiocyanate.

I just went through the benefit of propolis on your web site, and it said it will help with hepatitis. I'm wonder how much and how many time a day should I take.
    We are not aware of human studies so it is difficult to know what types of liver conditions this product would help, and if it does so what the ideal dosage would be.

I am a hepatitis B carrier for many years. Last summer before taking various bee propolis extracts, my ALT was 171 IU/ml and my hepatitis virus count was 56,000,000 copies/ml. I started taking  bee propolis extracts since last Dec. 2007. My blood test results in April, 2008 were a big surprise to me and my physician. My ALT was 33 and my virus count was 19,000 copies/ml. I'll continue to take propolis extracts to see if my virus count will go to near undetectable. I feel better and look better also.
   This is quite interesting.

Heart disease and artery blockage
Lipids Health Dis. 2013. Ethanolic extract of propolis inhibits atherosclerosis in ApoE-knockout mice.

Immune enhancement
Prophylactic effectiveness of propolis for immunostimulation: a clinical pilot study
Forsch Komplementarmed 1999
The aim of this pilot investigation was to show the evidence of the prophylactic immune enhancing effectiveness caused by propolis. The immune response was determined by the measurement of the cytokine level in vivo and ex vivo (TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8). Ten healthy test persons aged between 18 and 45 years received Propolis XNP. Probands received over 13 days 500 mg Propolis XNP (2 capsules) for peroral application in the morning. Although the cytokine plasma levels did not significantly change during the study, propolis led to a significant increase of both the spontaneous (TNF-alpha; IL-6, IL-8,  IL-1beta, not detectable) and LPS(lipopolysaccaride)-induced (TNF-alpha; IL-6; IL-8; IL-1beta) cytokine secretion capacity following short-term ex vivo culture of peripheral blood leukocytes. The prophylactic application of propolis led to a time dependent enhanced immune reactivity without undesired side effects.

Multiple sclerosis
Could bee propolis help someone who suffers with multiple sclerosis?
   I don't know. I have not seen any studies regarding its association with MS.

Stomach ulcer
Cytoprotection by propolis ethanol extract of acute absolute ethanol-induced gastric mucosal lesions.
Am J Chin Med. 2002.
Acute p.o. administration of absolute ethanol (1.0 ml/kg) to fasted rats produced extensive necrosis of gastric mucosa. Pretreatment with p.o. administration of propolis ethanol extract could effectively and dose-dependently prevent such necrosis. This protective effect is called "cytoprotection. "The maximal cytoprotective effect against absolute ethanol (AE)-induced gastric mucosal lesion was observed 1 hour after propolis extract administration. It was concluded that the gastric protective mechanism of propolis ethanol extract was due, at least in part, to its ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation, and hence indirectly protect the gastric mucosa from oxidative stress.

Warts in the skin
Warts are common problems affecting adults and children. Multiple treatment options are available, but no single therapy stands out as uniformly effective. Propolis and Echinacea are relatively safe immunomodulators with antiviral properties. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of Propolis and Echinacea in treating different types of warts. In a single-blind, randomized, 3-months trial, 135 patients with different types of warts received oral Propolis, Echinacea, or placebo. In patients with plane and common warts treated with Propolis, cure was achieved in 75% and 73% of patients, respectively. These results were significantly better than those associated with Echinacea treatment or placebo. We conclude that Propolis is an effective and safe immunomodulating therapy for plane and common warts. Int J Dermatol. 2009. Propolis as an alternative treatment for cutaneous warts. Zedan H, Hofny ER. Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Andrology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt.


Bee propolis cautions, safety, risk, side effect, allergy
Bee Propolis may infrequently cause contact dermatitis and other allergic reactions.

I'd like to buy bee propolis but am concerned about allergic reactions. Is there a test to determine if you're allergic to bee propolis? If you don't react to bees stings, bee products, or propolis salve applied topically is that an indication of anything. Also, I've heard of people developing severe allergic reactions after prolonged use, when the user would tend to feel comfortable with the product. Thanks for your advice. (I wouldn't be concerned except that I've heard the allergic reactions can be severe).
   If a person is not allergic to bee stings, bee products or propolis salve, their chances of being allergic to bee propolis as a supplement is significantly reduced. However, there are no 100 percent guarantees. One option is to take small amounts, at least initially, and it is often a good idea with most supplements to take breaks from use.