Propolis is a natural bee product that is collected from the buds, leaves, and the stems of plants, exhibiting powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial features. Bees utilize propolis to sterilize their hives by killing the microorganisms, and they release their eggs into the comb cells after coating with propolis. Hence, bees make sure that their eggs can develop healthily. Moreover, bees keep their products of honey, royal jelly, and pollen in those cells to preserve for more extended periods. Propolis has been reported to have many activities such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor in numerous scientific studies. Those researches demonstrated that propolis is a natural remedy to support treatments of many diseases, including upper respiratory tract, gastrointestinal, oral mucositis, cold sores, and oral herpes virus, and even cancer. However, the processing conditions of propolis into an edible form after its harvest from the beehives are crucial to protect its natural power. Some of the healthy qualities of propolis demonstrated by the scientific studies are as follows;
- • Propolis helps apoptosis of cancer cells through its antitumor activity (1).
- • Propolis inhibits the growth of cancer cells through its anticarcinogenic activity (2).
- • Propolis, when used as a supplement to the medical treatment, shortens the recovery period of cancer and protects the liver against harmful side effects of chemotherapy (3).
- • Propolis improves colitis by inhibiting the generation of Th1 cells that are involved in inflammatory bowel diseases (4).
- • Propolis helps the healing of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis in a shorter period (5).
- • Propolis regulates the airway microenvironment by relieving the inflammation, and it is recommended as a potent agent for asthma management through its caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) content (6).
- • Propolis dissolved in ethanol reduces the intensity of symptoms of common flu by inhibiting the growth of coronaviruses (7).
- • Propolis supports the treatment of type 2 diabetes by controlling serum glucose levels due to its rich content of phenolic and flavonoid substances, which are antioxidant (8).
- • Propolis removes free radicals, which are unwanted byproducts of metabolic activities from our cells (9).
- Xuan H, Li Z, Yan H, Sang Q, Wang K, He Q, Wang Y, Hu F, “Antitumor Activity of Chinese Propolis in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Cells,“ Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2014.
- Ishihara, M., Naoi, K., Hashita, M., Itoh, Y. Ve Suzui, M. “Growth inhibitory activity of ethanol extracts of Chinese and Brazilian propolis in four human colon carcinoma cell lines “Oncology Reports 22: 349-354,2009.
- Padmavathi R, Senthilnathan P, Sakthisekaran, D, “Therapeutic effect of propolis and paclitaxel on hepatic phase 1 and 2 enzymes and marker enzymes in dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced breast cancer in female rats, “ Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. Jul;143(3):349-54,2005.
- Okamoto Y, Hara T, Ebato T, Fukui T, Toshiyuki Masuzawa, “Brazilian propolis ameliorates trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-induced colitis in mice by inhibiting Th1 differentiation,“ International Immunopharmacology 16 (2013) 178–183.
- Abdulrhman, M. et al., "Honey and a Mixture of Honey, Beeswax, and Olive Oil-Propolis Extract in Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Oral Mucositis: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study", Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 29:285–292, 2012.
- Ma, Y., Zhang, J.X., Liu, Y.N. Ge, A., Gu, H., Zha, W.J., Zheng, X.N. and Huang, M. 2016. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester alleviates asthma by regulating the airway microenvironment via the ROS-responsive MAPK/Akt pathway. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 101: 163-175.
- Shimizu, T., Hino, A., Tsutsumi, A., Park, Y.K., Watanebe, W. & Kurokawa, M. 2008. Anti-influenza virus activity of propolis in vitro and its efficacy against influenza infection in mice. Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy, 19: 7-13.
- Samadi N, Khosravi H, Rahmanian M, Askarishahi M, “Effects of bee propolis supplementation on glycemic control, lipid profile and insulin resistance indices in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial, “Journal of Integrative Medicine, March 2017.
- Fuliang, H.U., Hepburn, H.R., Xuan, H., Chen, M., Daya, S. & Radloff, S.E. Effects of propolis on blood glucose, blood lipid and free radicals in rats with diabetes mellitus. Pharmacological Research 51(2): 147-152.