Propolis - A Wonder Bees Product and It’s Health Benefits

Propolis - A Wonder Bees Product and It’s Health Benefits

Dec 13, 2018

What Is Propolis? 

Propolis is a resin-like substance bees make by mixing beeswax with sap from trees and a bit of their own saliva. It is used to seal the hive and protect the hive against viruses, bacterial infections, fungus or parasites. It is renowned worldwide for its wide-ranging health benefits. 



Propolis has been commonly used as a traditional natural remedy since ancient times. The healing and regenerating properties were identified by ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek physicians.  

In Egypt it was used to treat various health problems and in the mummification process, while in Assyria and ancient Greece it was famous for its wound and skin ulcer healing properties.  

It was used with great effectiveness for the treatment of injuries and wounds during the Anglo-Boer battle and during WWII. It was used as an antibacterial agent in the 17th and 20th century in Europe.  

In the history of China, Propolis was recognised as an anticancer medicine and was commonly used to treat various infections. 


Key Active Ingredients 

There are over 300 natural compounds found in Propolis, including Antioxidants, Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Coumarins, Phenolic Aldehydes, Natural Steroids, Polyphenols, or Sesquiterpene Quinines.  

It also contains about 10% essential oils, 5% bee pollen and other various organic compounds including resins, vegetable balsam and bee's wax. 


Wound Healing and Regenerating 

Modern medical research confirms it can speed up wound healing, due to its ability to improve the regeneration of damaged tissue. According to a 2018 research article, reviewing the composition and functional properties of Propolis; 

“The presence of Bioflavonoids, Arginine, Vitamin C, Provitamin A and B complex, along with some Minerals, possesses wound healing properties. Instead of an individual component, there may be combined action, which leads Propolis to have diverse biological performance.” 


Gastrointestinal Ulcers 

Due to its regenerating and healing properties, it is often used internally by people with gastrointestinal ulcers. Belostotskii and his colleagues researched the gut healing effects after consuming honey, royal jelly and Propolis in rats.  

According to a 2016 research article, it may be effective against Helicobacter pylori (stomach bacteria responsible for gastric disease), regarded as one of the most frequent triggers of peptic ulcers; 

“H. pylori resistance to antibiotics is on the increase, leading to a global public health problem… In conclusion, we think that regular consumption of Propolis extract, which is rich in phenolic compounds, can contribute to a reduction in several forms of H. pylori-associated diseases.” 


Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Animal studies demonstrated that it may be beneficial in ulcerative colitis (mainly due to its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties), although clinical trials are required to prove the same use and safety on human subjects. 


Immune Booster and Modulator 

Propolis helps maintain a strong immune system because of its antioxidant properties. According to Vijay D. Wagh, “The antioxidants present play a great role in regulating the immune system. The concentrated flavonoids in Propolis are powerful antioxidants.” 


Propolis - A Wonder Bees Product and It’s Health Benefits



Due to its proven anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties, i may help prevent and shorten the duration of common respiratory diseases such as flu, cold or sore throat.  

In one study a regular daily dose of Propolis was given to a group of school children during the cold season. As a result, the children treated with Propolis had significantly fewer colds with acute or chronic symptoms. 

According to the results of another trial, the group of adults on Propolis extract became free of cold symptoms two and half times faster than the control group.  

It enhances the body's immune defence system by boosting certain genes and stimulating the release of signalling molecules called cytokines. 


“Intelligent” Antibiotic 

It is also important to emphasise the fact that it contains an “intelligent” antibiotic, which means that unlike synthetic antibiotics, which kill all bacteria, it seems to destroy only the bad ones, leaving the beneficial probiotic bacteria untouched. 

There are hundreds of articles based on medical research dealing with the abilities of Propolis not only to kill cancer cells but also slow down DNA formation in cancer cells and encourage apoptosis (programmed death of abnormal cells).  

Two Propolis polyphenols (Caffeic acid and Artepillin C) seem to have the most potent anticancer properties. For instance, a 2016 study demonstrated Propolis extract was able to significantly extend the survival of animals with tumours. In the summary of the study; 

“It is evident that Propolis extracts can be extremely useful in cancer treatment.” 


Candida Albicans Overgrowth 

Medical research showed it could fight harmful yeasts called Candida albicans, reducing their number and contributing to prevention and recovery from various problems and symptoms associated with candida overgrowth.  

According to a scientific review published in 2011 in the Journal of Medicinal Food, it proved to have stronger antifungal properties than honey, bee pollen or royal jelly, and it was effective against 40 different yeast strains, including Candida. 


Glutathione Booster and Liver-protective 

Liver-protective activity is another possible benefit of the internal use of Propolis, as it proved to be effective against mercury-induced oxidative stress in mice. According to the study; 

“It helped protect the liver by reducing damage caused by mercury. It boosted the body's natural defence system, making it better at fighting off harmful substances. It also increased levels of a substance called glutathione, which is important for protecting cells. Overall, Propolis showed promise as a treatment for liver damage caused by toxins.” 


Genital Herpes 

According to a study published in Phytomedicine, it can be more effective than a commonly used drug for treating genital herpes. 90 participants with genital herpes were divided into 3 groups and were on different treatments for 10 days.  

The first group applied a Propolis ointment, the second used a herpes drug acyclovir, and the third group applied a placebo ointment. All groups used ointments four times a day.  

At the end of the experiment, 14 out of 30 participants in the drug group, 24 out of 30 in the Propolis group, and 12 out of 30 in the placebo group experienced recovery from genital herpes. 

As expected, it is also effective against common cold sores caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). 



A 2005 trial has demonstrated that it may have significant antimicrobial activity in the treatment of periodontitis (a gum infection that can cause bleeding). 


Other Benefits 

It was also shown that it can be effective in fighting intestinal parasites. It may improve the fertility of females with endometriosis, it has potential antidiabetic activity and promoted dental health (due to its antibacterial properties). 


Propolis - A Wonder Bees Product and It’s Health Benefits


Side Effects and Safety 

Taken internally or applied to the skin, it seems to be safe except sometimes it may cause allergic reactions, particularly in individuals who are allergic to bees or bee products.



  • Do not use Propolis if you are allergic to bee products. 

  • There is not enough reliable information about the safety for pregnant or breast-feeding individuals. 

  • Although Propolis extract was studied and proved to be very beneficial in asthma management, in some asthmatics it may make symptoms worse, due to possible allergic reaction. 

  • Since certain chemicals in Propolis may slow blood clotting, it is not recommended to use it internally by people with bleeding disorders as well as before and after surgery as it may possibly increase the risk of bleeding. 


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Related Articles



  1. 127 Abstracts with Bee Propolis Research 

  2. Sforcin JM. (2007) Propolis and the immune system: a review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Aug 15;113(1):1-14. 

  3. Vijay D. Wagh (2013) Propolis: A Wonder Bees Product and Its Pharmacological Potentials. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2013; 2013: 308249. Published online 2013 Dec 9. doi: 10.1155/2013/308249 

  4. De Castro SL. (2001) Propolis: biological and pharmacological activities. Therapeutic uses of this bee-product. Annual Review of Biomedical Sciences. 2001;3:49–83. 

  5. Bankova VS, De Castro SL, Marcucci MC. (2000) Propolis: recent advances in chemistry and plant origin. Apidologie. 2000;31(1):3–15. 

  6. N. I. Belostotskii, V. I. Kasianenko, E. A. Dubtsova, and L. B. Lazebnik, “Influence of honey, royal jelly and propolis on accelerating acetate healing of experimental gastric ulcers in rats,” Experimental and Clinical Gastroenterology, vol. 6, pp. 46–50, 2009. View at Google Scholar 

  7. Nimet Baltas, Sengul Alpay Karaoglu, Cemre Tarakci & Sevgi Kolayli (2016) Effect of propolis in gastric disorders: inhibition studies on the growth of Helicobacter pylori and production of its urease. Pages 46-50 | Received 29 Mar 2016, Accepted 02 May 2016, Published online: 27 May 2016 

  8. N Vynograd, I Vynograd, Z Sosnowski (2000) A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine. 2000 Mar;7(1):1-6. PMID: 10782483 

  9. Syed Ishtiaq Anjuma, Amjad Ullaha, Khalid Ali Khan, et al (2018) Composition and functional properties of propolis (bee glue): A review. DOI: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2018.08.013  

  10. Magda Feres, Luciene Cristina Figueiredo, Ilizvania Maroly Quinderé Barreto, et al (2005) In vitro antimicrobial activity of plant extracts and propolis in saliva samples of healthy and periodontally-involved subjects. J Int Acad Periodontol. 2005 Jul;7(3):90-6. PMID: 16022025 

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